Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Creamy Potato and Ham Casserole #Recipe

If you have leftover ham from your holiday gatherings and are wanting to use it up, this quick and simple potato and ham casserole recipe is just the thing the for you!

You Will Need...

16 oz of shredded hash brown potatoes (frozen)
1 can cream of mushroom or cheese soup
8 oz sour cream
tbsp melted butter
1 cup chopped ham
1 medium small onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Use a 9 x 13 casserole dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the sour cream and soup...

Next, add the butter and cheese, then stir in the ham and onion and mix until well incorporated.

Lightly spray the pan with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes.

Serve it up for breakfast, brunch or as a side dish with dinner.

If you're a ham and potato loving bunch, you'll definitely want to give this hearty recipe a try!

Enjoy!

My MBP Signature





Dorm Necessities Await at DormCo!

It seems like just yesterday, I was combing the store aisles, looking for all sorts of organizational cuteness for my college dorm room. In reality, that was over ten years ago, and it was probably a bit more stressful an experience than I remember. I can picture my mother with a big check list in her hand, making sure I had everything needed for my big college adventure.


If only we'd had access to DormCo, an online store offfering college students everything they need to outfit their dorm rooms, protect their feet in the community shower and keep everything organized!

MBP is excited to be working with DormCo in the new year, and we can't wait to show you some of the wonderful products to be found through their wonderful website! Check back in a couple of weeks to see what I chose to review from DormCo!


2013 Recap & a Big Thank You to Our Readers!

Well friends, it's time to bid yet another year farewell. It's hard to see 2013 go- it sor of flew right out the window, didn't it? We had a wonderful year, filled with lots of fun opportunities that we were able to experience through Mommy's Block Party, and we took a lot of neat trips with our family. Balian experienced his first ever trip out of the country, when we went on a cruise in January 2013. We're currently on our third beach trip of 2013, and looking forward to more trips to the ocean in 2014. 

We had our shares of ups and downs this year. MBP saw a huge jump in readership, and we took a big tumble in October when our site went down and stayed down for several weeks. We're back, though, and still blogging like mad, sharing what we love most, with all of you! We can't thank you (our faithful readers) enough for sticking with us. We love that you get to interact with us through our social media accounts, leave us comments, enter to win really neat prizes through the giveaways we host, and try our recipes and projects sometimes, too! We're excited about what 2014 will bring not only to us, but to all of you, as well!



We hope you've had a great 2013, and we're looking onward, with lots of hope and expectation for 2014. We'll see you in the new year!

With much gratitude,

Ondria & the MBP Team



Monday, December 30, 2013

Pretty and Polished Nails for All Seasons! Nailritz Nail Art Kits #Review


The holidays aren't quite over, and with New Year's celebrations just a few days away, I am ready to glam it up! I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to my fingernails or toenails lately. I used to give myself lovely manicures and pedicures, before I became a mom, because I had that kind of time on my hands. Today, I don't have much time to a whole lot for myself, so when I do steal away a few minutes to dress up my nails, it has to be a quick and easy process.


Just a couple of days before Christmas, I was introduced to NailRitz, a snazzy product for those who love nail art, or who might be looking for some fun glitz and glam to add to their nails. Nailritz is so cool! Ths unique product combines nail polish in an easy to use applicator brush, plus microtip pen. Basically, you can paint your nails and then draw on them, too! I was lucky enough to receive a Nailritz set of my choice to review for the holidays, and couldn't wait to give this revolutionary nail art product a try!


My Nailritz product came in a nice box with a letter, and instructions.

Nailritz set, next to the box and step by step instructions, laid out on my dining table.

Nailritz has seven different kits to choose from. I wanted to go with some colors that would give me a bit of razzle dazzle for the winter months, so I chose the Jewel Tone Kit. The Jewel Tone Kit came with ten colors: lavender, two shades of pink, blue, purple, yellow, whit, black, red and green. I was most interested in the red, green, black, white and then the blue and purple, as well. I loved the rainbow of colors before my eyes as I looked the kit over. I knew I would want to try the red, green and white pens for Christmas, and couldn't wait to see how they worked!

Popular color combinations- The Nailritz Jewel Tone Kit

Nailritz didn't seem to be tricky to use, but I wanted to read through the instructions, just to be sure that I didn't do anything wrong. Nailritz was actually incredibly easy to use, once I understood what to do. I unscrewed the colors that I wanted to use, and then just unscrewed the top of the polish I wanted to paint my nails with. I did prep my nails before I painted them... you know, trimmed them and put on a little base coat.

Easy to follow instrucions included with each Nailritz Kit.

Ready to get some Christmas polish on my tootsies!

I really loved the red, green and white colors in my kit. I painted my big toes white, and all of the other toes red. The brush was easy to use, and the paint went on smoothly, and even dried faster than I thought it would. After the base polish was dry, I used the microtip pen on the red and green paint, and mae tiny little red and green dots on top of the white paint on my big toes. I was left with a fun and festive holiday design, which was all sorts of holiday cheery!

Ta-da... cute holiday toes, thanks to Nailritz!

Here's a closer look...

A couple of days later, I was ready for even more fun painting Christmas nails! I easily removed the paint with my nail polish remover, and then used the green paint on my big toes, and alternated the red and white paint on the smaller toes. It was quick and easy! I painted a clear top coat over my nails, and the color lasted several days! I only experienced a little bit of chipping from not wearing socks with some of my flats, which happens with all of my other nail polishes, as well.


Christmas toes! Fa-la-la-la-awesome!

I am having so much fin with my NailRitz kit, that I shared some of the pens with our young cousins L & B. I knew they'd love the cool bright colors! I cannot wait to paint a dazzling design on my nails for New Years! I hae been getting lots of neat ideas from the Nailritz Gallery!

Check out some of the designs you can do yourself with the Nailritz pens...

Pretty for fall...

Let's celebrate!

Black and white

Flower Power

Pretty!


I think Nailritz is so much fun! I've thought about having the girls over for a maovie night and Nailritz Glitz and Glam party! I will not be able to ignore my toes from here on out! With the easy to use Nailritz kits, there's no excuse not to have beautiful nails- be they on your toes or fingers! These are great for gals of all ages! These would be so much fun for anyone who wants a custom design on their nails that can be done quickly and easily at home! I especially think this would make a neat gift for sports fans, college students, high school students, or anyone who loves to show school spirit or sports team pride!


With seven different kits to choose from, you can have lots of different looks for special occasions, everyday or seasons/holidays! Personally, I can't wait to try the Shimmer Kit during the summer months. Is it time to hit the beach yet? No, not quite, so I'll stick to those lvely jewel tones... at the first hint of warm weather, though, I'll be sporting my flip flops and ready for those shimmering tootsies!


Want It? Buy It!

You can have beautiful, custom designed nails anytime! Just head to the Nailritz website to browse their entire collection of Nailritz kits. Nailritz Kits range in price from $19.95 to $29.95. Want to have a fun Nailritz Girls night? Host a Nailritz party and earn incentives and bonuses, just for being a party host! Want to share Nailritz? Become a Nailritz consultant and start having fun, doing something you love, and making money! Ready to learn more? Head to the Nailritz website to shop, sign up, or to become a hostess. You can also connect with Nailritz on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Special thanks to Nailritz for allowing me to try out their amazing product, and share all about it!



365 Acts of Kindness: Week 34

Happy Monday! We're bringing back our 365 Acts of Kindness today, encouraging everyone to do one nice thing for someone else every day, for the next year. It doesn't have to be random- you can certainly be kind to someone you know, or a complete stranger. The idea is to pass love around- help someone else out, and inspire them to do the same. Sometimes, we have to change to be the change we want to see in this world.

Every Monday, we're posting a weekly roundup of Acts of Kindness, where you can share how you've helped others, or how others have blessed you by their acts.


Our Acts of Kindness from Last Week...

I went to visit a friend that I used to work with at the airport, and she told me about a fellow airport worker that she blessed by sharing her lunch with her a few days earlier. The girl told my friend how much it meant to her, that she shared her lunch, because she normally shares lunch with her brother, who also works at the airport, and they rarely have enough to eat. I felt compelled to give to this girl, who I'd never met. I picked up a gift card the next time I was at Wal-Mart, and took it back to my friend at the airport, and asked her to give it to the girl she had shared her lunch with. She later told me that the girl was in tears when the gift card was presented to her. She just couldn't believe that a complete stranger would hand over money like that. It was a true blessing to her family, and warmed my heart to be able to help them. -Britt


This is Week 34 of this special Bloggers & Readers Challenge, and I am so eager to read everyone's comments on how they were able to offer kindness, or how they received kindness from someone else last week.

Be sure to leave us your comment, and keep spreading the love around! You never know- your comment might be featured in next week's post, or we might randomly show kindness to one our our readers!!

Be kind...

My MBP Signature

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day Trips & Destinations: Southport, NC (Again)

Well folks, it's Friday, and I am pleased to say a big 'hello' from the beautiful Oak Island, NC. We're vacationing with the family (mom, dad, sister Britt, bro-in-law Cory, hubby and B) this week, and we're in one of our favorite places. Since we all love the beach so much, we generally hit the road after Christmas and spend a week at the beach together. We don't care that it's chilly and we can't swim or sun... we just love the beauty and majesty of the sea. 

Today, we took a trip down the road to Southport, NC- another one of our favorite places. Southport is so quaint, and it's a wonderful place to spend the day. There are so many little shops to pop in and out of, which we love to do! We enjoyed walking around, grabbed a coffee at Port City Java, and enjoyed seeing lots of photos that were captured when Safe Haven was filmed a couple of years ago in this area.

Here are a few photos of our day trip...

B, Sach, me- on the pier...

Recreating a famous photo from last summer...

Dad, Britt and Cory taking a rest...

Beautiful Southport battery...

Me! (You know you missed me!)

Me & the hub-a-lub at PCJ...

B, being cheesy...

Cory, refusing to smile for a photo, as per usual.

Don't worry- we'll be back in Southport before we have to head back home to the 'bury. We're all looking at real estate magazines, though... we'd love to move here! 

Have you ever been to Oak Island or Southport, NC?



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Disney's MILLION DOLLAR ARM: New Trailer Available!


In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turninto a Major League Baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a realityshow competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin) he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home toAmerica to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India — the boys, who have never left their rural villages — are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball — JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell) — learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.



Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay written by Tom McCarthy, Walt Disney Pictures’ drama “Million Dollar Arm” stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Madhur Mittal, Pitobash and Alan Arkin. The producers are Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray and Joe Roth. The executive producers are Palak Patel, Kevin Hollaran,Bill Simmons and Connor Schell. The film will be release in the United States on May 16, 2014.

Website and Mobile Site: www.Disney.com/MillionDollarArm
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MillionDollarArm
Follow us on Twitter: @DisneyPictures



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wow- It's Christmas Eve!

A big hello to all of you! I know things have been a bit slower than usual here at MBP the past few days, and that's because I have decided to slow down this year, and enjoy Christmas with my family. Usually, I'm blogging up a storm on Christmas Eve, making preparations for my vacation, etc. This year, the tone just feels a little different. 

First off, my sister and her hubby are in town. They were going to join us in Oak Island after Christmas, but actually surprised the pants off of my parents, by showing up at their house on Saturday night. We have not had Christmas with my sister in five years, since befor she and her hubby got married, so this is a very special Christmas for us. I am just so excited to have her home... to know that she and Cory will be with us at church tonight, and that we'll spend Christmas and the days that follow together.

Me, laughing it up with my sister Britt in 2007...

It's Christmas Eve Day, and normally, I would be rushing around like crazy (and I may be, still). My plans for today inclue making spanakopita, and prepping a squash casserole. I promised B that we'd have fresh cookies to leave out for Santa tonight, too. We may have a quick errand or two to run, depending on what our time frame looks like this afternoon. We spend a large chunk of Christmas Eve at church. I'll be there at 4 pm, preparing for the Family Christmas Eve Service, which begins at 5:00. The 3-5 year olds will be singing 'Away in a Manger,' and I can't wait for B to sing with his little friends. The children are such a joy to work with! I am able to share my voice in worship, asking the question, 'Where Are You, Christmas,' and singing portions of the popular song.


After we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and light our candles, holding them high, singing 'Silent Night,' we'll make our way to Sacha's grandparent's house for a quick bite to eat, and scramble to take our annual Christmas family photo. Then, it's back to church for everyone by 8 pm, so we can prepare for the 9 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Sacha will be playing a trombone/organ duet with my dad as part of the prelude music, and I will sing, accompanied by my dad on piano, and best pal Derek on his acoustic guitar.
I love that we not only worship as a family on Christmas Eve, but we all play a part in making the service beautiful, by sharing our gifts. It's the best way I can think of to give back, and to thank God for all that he has done for us.


I purposefully did as much running around as possible beforehand, so that when this day arrived, I could enjoy it. I want my focus to be on the beautiful gift of Christmas... a tiny child, wrapped in cloth, laying in a manger. This child- born to us, a Savior... Savior of the world. Wonderful Counsellor, Light of the world, the Prince of Peace. As love rains down on the world tonight, my hope and prayer is that you are filled with peace, and feel God's presence all around.

God bless, and Merry Christmas!




Happy Holidays from THE NUT JOB!


In animated 3D, THE NUT JOB is an action-packed comedy in fictional Oakton that follows the travails of Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, and his rat friend Buddy, who plan a nut store heist of outrageous proportions and unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure.


THE NUT JOB hits theaters nationwide on January 17, 2014!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Yellow Pages Prize Pack #Giveaway!

Do you love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knocking out your to-do list?
You must be a Doer!

YP is the one site and one app for people who wear busy as a badge of honor. Within seconds you can find a hardware store, gardener, limousine service, dentist or bounce house for your child’s birthday party. Search 18 million business listings as fast as you can tap.

But the big question is… do you DO the holidays right? YP has created a fun quiz to help you find out, and learn some fun facts along the way!


Highlights: 
• Ratings, reviews, photos and phone numbers (of course) to help you decide which businesses are right for you...
• Thousands of local coupons, deals and discounts from businesses and services near you 
• Create personalized collections of your favorite, go-to businesses using My Book 
• Find the cheapest gas around with one click 
• Search 350,000 menus to find the perfect meal


Want It? Win It!

One lucky reader will win a Yellow Pages Prize Pack, which includes:

• Black Cinch Bag 
• Flashlight 
• Tape Measure 
• Notepads 
• Pencils 
• USB Car Charger 
• Gum

Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. Each household is only eligible to win ONE YP Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. No PO Boxes, please.

Good luck!




Friday, December 20, 2013

New Jammies Holiday Review

 Mommy's Block Party Holiday Gift Guide 2013
 
Many of you may have seen a recent viral video about Christmas jammies. If you haven't, you should, because it is super creative, cute, and of course the family looks adorably comfortable in their Christmas jammies.
 
Who doesn't love new jammies at Christmas time? My kids always each receive a new pair on Christmas Eve along with a book. Before bed we curl up in our new PJs and read the book together. We love this tradition and I hope it continues for years to come. I recently came across a company that specializes in jammies, and knew that we had to try and feature them on MBP.
New Jammies a company, created by a woman named Nicole, who wanted something to do something that would reflect her family values and bring about positive change in the world.  As a former organic chemist, she knew that there were ways that people could reduce their exposure to chemicals and wanted to do her part in helping. By creating New Jammies, Nicole developed an environmentally responsible company that would provide children with 100% certified organic cotton pajamas. New Jammies also supports philanthropic organizations that strive to improve communities and lives of children

I worked directly with Nicole who agreed that the holidays are a great time to showcase pajamas, because "who wouldn't want to wear new jammies at Christmas?" Nicole asked me to check out the New Jammies website and select a pair of pajamas to tell our readers all about. Can I tell you how hard it was to choose a pair, there are so many cute options. My first step was deciding which kiddo should get some new jammies and after browsing both boy and girls styles, I decided S would be the lucky girl this time.

I browsed the girl styles, which number between 15-20 different options, picked my top four, and let S have her pick. Here are the three she did not choose.
Starry Night Owl
 Nesting Dolls
 Pretty Ponies

I couldn't wait to see S's choice in person, because she picked my top choice too. I would say we have similar taste and style, so it all worked out. A New Jammies package would soon be in the mailbox and S would be styling in some new PJs.

Our New Jammies package is here!
S can't wait to get it open and see what is inside
"My jammies!!!!!"
 
Inside we found a nicely sealed pair of pajamas from New Jammies and our shipping order information.
The jammies were wrapped with a New Jammies bow (loved this touch) and were so bright and colorful. S had chosen the Pink Whales design and it looked just as fun in person as it did on the computer screen.
All of the New Jammies collections are made of 100% organic cotton. I love organic cotton. Not only is it safer (think chemicals on cotton plants) but they are so much softer and comfortable on delicate little kid skin. These jammies really fell into the comfy category even straight out of the bag. No stiff feel or weird smell that sometimes can happen with some products.
 
S wanted to get these puppies on asap, so we tossed them in the wash, and viola. 
The Pink Whales set is adorable and stylish. A pink top with white accents and a funny green whale applique takes center stage. The leggings are white with an assortment of green, yellow, and pink whales swimming around. The Pink Whales currently retail for $35 from New Jammies.
 
I love the green whale, so much personality and funk in one little applique. S loves to feel his fuzziness too. I appreciate the long sleeves on the top, makes it more versatile and wearable throughout the seasons.
When sizing, I knew I would need a snug fit, because these pajamas are not treated with a flame retardant. While S is a bit small for a 4 year old, I went ahead and got the 4T based on the size chart. These PJs fit a little big on her, but not enough to worry about her safety in them, plus gave her some growing room.
The leggings are a perfect match for the top. With green and pink being my favorite colors, I love, love, love these pajamas. Every time S wears them I love them more. S can fully dress herself and these pajamas are very easy for her to put on and take off. She chooses her Pink Whales as soon as they come back out of the drier every time. 
 
New Jammies has some great Holiday styles too.
This pair will be on my mind for next Christmas. I would love to dress all three kiddos in a matching pair of Christmas jammies!
 
I found this on the New Jammies site and thought it summed the company up perfectly 
 "New Jammies were created for you! There's a world in our dreams, pure and simple. It is a world where every child is happy and healthy. This is why we created New Jammies,100% pure, natural organic cotton pajamas. Bedtime is a precious time of day for children and we love that we can help make it a little better. Our super, soft cozy Jammies with colorful, playful images, send children off to dream each and every night. When they wake, we want it to be to a world that is cleaner, brighter, and more hopeful each day! Our dream: The happiest children you've ever seen!"
 New Jammies has fully succeeded in making one little girl in our house happy and comfortable at her bedtime and we are thankful for their generosity.
 
 Want It? Buy It!
Need some Christmas jammies for your loved ones? Check out New Jammies, you will not be disappointed. You can follow New Jammies on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well for photos, information, and fun. Join the New Jammies mailing list for all the most recent news. You should still be able to order in time for Christmas with priority shipping charges or find a store near you that carries them. We have a store just 8 miles from our house that carries them!
 

Thanks to Nicole and New Jammies!