Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Signs It May be Time to Consider Purchasing a New Car

There are many factors that may contribute to it being time to consider purchasing or leasing a new vehicle. Whether you're entering a new phase of life, and want to upgrade to something sporty and fun to drive, or need something safer and more reliable for travel purposes, or for your family, here are three major signs that it might be time for a new car.

Mounting repair costs
If you've had a vehicle for several years, chances are, you've had to take it into the repair shop or to a dealership to be looked at or fixed more than once. Cars have to be properly maintained to keep them running like a well oiled machine, and to keep you safe while driving. Typical repairs on vehicles can range from alignment, fuel pump replacement, transmission work, brake work, A/C repair, etc. Even the little repairs like changing spark plugs, belts, brake pads, and shocks certainly add up over time, not to mention money spent on oil changes, fluid flushes, etc. If your vehicle is in the shop for repairs every few months, it's no longer a reliable vehicle, and it might be time to think about looking for something safer.

Vehicle is paid off
If you have completed the task of paying off a vehicle, congratulations. You may find that over time, you might want to consider a new vehicle. Vehicles that are paid off can make perfectly good trade-ins, or make great cars for teens who may need reliable transportation. It's also possible to make a tax deductible vehicle donation to several different types of organizations, such as Cars for Breast Cancer, Wheels for Wishes, Cars Helping Vets, Goodwill, among others.

Car is no longer safe
If your vehicle is no longer deemed safe, and you're at a high risk of being in or causing an accident, due to the state of your vehicle, it is important to look for a new car. No one wants to be the cause of an accident, or leave themselves vulnerable because of their failing vehicle. If your car is no longer safe, and you know it, stop driving it. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to an auto dealer to look for a new vehicle. There are many financing options available with most dealerships.

Lifestyle changes

Have you gone from being single to a married couple? Gone from a couple to a family with little children? Are you an empty nester who no longer has need for a large SUV or mini van? Lifestyle changes can be a leading cause for one to search for a new vehicle. Your vehicle needs to suit your needs. If you travel frequently, you'll want something comfortable, safe, reliable, and with good gas mileage. Going from a family of four to more? You'll want to think about a vehicle with enough room for the whole family, which might mean moving from a sedan to an SUV or van. 

Whatever the reason for looking for a new vehicle, you'll want to find something that is safe, reliable, and offers you the features you want out of a car. It's a good idea to get pre-approved before you start your shopping. That way, you'll know exactly what type of budget you have to work with, and you won't waste the dealer's time, or your own, when you head to the lot.

This post was written on behalf of Autohaus of Peoria.

A Guide To Hosting The Perfect Autumn Garden Party

Winter is fast approaching, and it won’t be long before your time in the garden is limited for the next few months. With this in mind, now is the perfect time to make the most of those last few opportunities by hosting a great autumn party.

The changing climate is a great excuse (like you really needed one) to have a party. We love spending time with friends and family. The garden is the perfect venue to enjoy great food, great entertainment, and great company. Embrace it while you can!

Here are some simple tips to ensure that your gathering goes off without a hitch.

Avoid The Autumn Washout
You can plan the event as carefully as you want, but there can be no guarantees about the weather. Hopefully, it will be a pleasant event for everyone. However, you should take the necessary precautions just in case.

If your patio areas aren’t already covered, you may want to invest in a gazebo. This will battle against the threat of rain. If it does stay nice throughout the day, it also provides guest with a choice.

Additionally, you need to think about the heat. Garden heaters should suffice, but you may also want to get some blankets. If it gets too cold, you can always take the party indoors.

Food & Drink
Food and drink are central to any successful garden party, and this is no different in the autumn.

The weather probably won’t be right for a BBQ, although you might get lucky. Nevertheless, you can cook up some lovely autumn dishes and combine this with a selection of party snacks. Meanwhile, you shouldn’t forget the importance of drink. Kent Street bottle shop 
offers plenty of fantastic options that are perfect for an autumn get together.

If you get the food and drink right, it should set the tone for a perfect party.

Consider The Kids
One of the great things about a garden party is that it can be enjoyed by the whole family. However, if you are going to have young guests, you must take them into consideration during the planning process.

Providing entertainment for the kids doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With a little creativity, you can create some wonderful games from household items. This bowling set is a great example, but I’m sure you can come up with others.

Alternatively, a quick trip to the local toy shop should solve your problems. Encourage them to use their imagination, and they’re bound to remain entertained.

Think About Adult Games Too
The children aren’t the only ones that need entertaining, though. While a nice conversation over great food and drink is a crucial part of the day, so is having fun.

Garden activities should work a treat for adults and children alike. Meanwhile, you should ensure that you’ve got a decent sound system sorted. The right music will boost the atmosphere greatly. If you don’t have a great CD collection, signing up to Spotify should save you.

The garden party is supposed to be fun. As long as you achieve this, all of your guests will go home smiling.

Island Treasures Gourmet is like finding a treasure in every bite! #review #giveaway

My sweet tooth told me to try out these delicious rum cakes from Island Treasures Gourmet and boy that sweet tooth was happy!!  I received two individual rum cakes in the cutest little bunt pans.  Well, I hope they were individual servings because I did not share them!  They were vacuum sealed.  These little guys had a fresh from the oven taste!!  I tried out the Cinnamon Pecan Streusel and Chocolate Chip.  I have to say Chocolate Chip was my favorite but Cinnamon Pecan Streusel was very yummy, too.  There are many flavors to choose from so there is something for everyone.  You can even purchase a sampler package that would make great gifts. Island Treasures Gourmet are in select stores.  Please check out the website to see if there is one near you.  You can also order direct from their website.  I plan to visit this website for some holiday goodies!!

I knew there were yummy goodies inside this package!

The 2 cakes I received.  I love the pretty packaging.

A nice folder with information about Island Treasures Gourmet.

Vacuum sealed Chocolate Chip Cake.

See...I told you this was so cute!

Fresh, moist and very delicious!

Island Treasures Gourmet™ makes high quality Gourmet Rum Cake! Our customers say this is the Best Rum Cake they have ever had! Perfect for anyone wanting to serve or gift an exceptional, unique and memorable sweet treat. Island Treasures Gourmet™ is enjoyed by all ages, as the alcohol is baked out, leaving a smooth, moist, full flavor - one reminiscent of an island vacation, and gatherings with family and friends. Your order will ship within 2 to 4 days, in specially designed packaging to ensure they arrive in superb condition! We will even include a special note, upon your request.

Get ready for your tummy to rumble at the sight of these next pictures.

Head on over to Island Treasures Gourmet and see what sounds good to you!  You will not be disappointed.  

Want it? Buy it!

Check out Island Treasures Gourmet to order direct from the website or locate a retail shop near you.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Want it? Win it!

One lucky reader will win their own delicious cake from Island Treasures Gourmet! This giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older- one entry per household, please. Just use the entry form below to enter for your chance to win! MBP is not responsible for prize fulfillment please see our policies page for complete contest rules and details.

Thank you to Angie and Island Treasures Gourmet for the introduction to your delicious cakes.  And many many thanks for offering a cake as a giveaway for one of our lucky readers.  It has been a pleasure to work with you.  

Sweet Memories #WordlessWednesday

My little finger sucking passed out Irish twins. I LOVE this pic of the 2 of them. I think it is my favorite that I have. The bond they have in unreal. While they are not real twins, being just 11 months apart from each other, they are thick as thieves. While it is adorable and amazing to watch now... I fear what the teenage years will bring :p


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How To Give Your Home A Complete Makeover Before Baby’s Arrival

So, you’re expecting a baby. Congratulations!

This is naturally one of the most exciting times in your life. However, amidst all the excitement, there’s the knowledge that you need to get the home ready for your new addition. Adapting the home to accommodate your new bundle of joy does take some work, but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as you might first fear.

Take heed of these tips, and you should be just fine. All that’s left is to enjoy life with the latest addition to the home.

Baby’s Room
The biggest upheaval that you face is creating a room for the new arrival. This is probably the most difficult task of the lot, but it’s also one of the most exciting and is something you should try to enjoy.

As far as design is concerned, your choices will be somewhat dictated by whether you are having a boy or girl. Nevertheless, these tips should help ensure that you produce a room befitting of your new prince or princess.

In an ideal world, you’ll try to get this item ticked off as soon as possible. After all, the baby could always come early.

With an extra person in the home, space will naturally feel a lot smaller. It’s not just the extra body that you have to consider, either. The nappies, toys, and other items will quickly eat up any spare room in the property. It’s imperative that you’re prepared.

Clearing space around the home by decluttering is vital. If you have any unwanted items that could be sold, it’s always worth hosting a garage sale. Those extra funds will come in extremely handy once the new addition has arrived.

Once the baby has come, it will be difficult to find the time to carry out these tasks. Make the most of this last opportunity.

Get It Safe
Babies are delicate, and it’s vital that you keep them safe at all times. As they grow, you’ll have to start worrying about sharp corners and other items. Fortunately, that’s not top of your priorities right now.

However, your new addition is susceptible to illnesses and avoiding these is a must. This is the perfect time to give the property a thorough clean from top to bottom. Your normal routines won’t suffice either. Taking on extra tasks like grout cleaning are pivotal. Quite frankly, you cannot afford to take the risk.

Besides, a clean home is a happy home.

The Kitchen
We all know how important food is to human life. While your priorities will lie with the new-born, it’s vital to take care of yourselves too. However, the likelihood is that your cooking habits will change dramatically.

You won’t have the same amount of time as you did pre-baby. With this in mind, you should invest in a slow cooker as it does the majority of work for you. Simply prepare the food when the baby sleeps and then let it cook throughout the day.

The freezer and microwaves will become your best friends too. If you get a chance, always cook more meals and freeze them. Those extra minutes will be crucial throughout the week.

Back to School: Do It Yourself with EZ Sox {Review} #review #ezsox

C is 2, a wild and crazy two. Both her siblings are in school full time, so we have lots of one on one time. We love dancing, reading, doing laundry, playing babies, and she really loves being a BIG GIRL.
Being a BIG GIRL to C is doing things herself, she even has a tee shirt that says, "I Do It Myself", this is very true to her and all of her independent ways. She is starting to dress herself and make decisions on what to wear, what to eat, and what to do, and we are also potty training. Dressing yourself and potty training are both things that take patience from both kids and adults. Luckily, we have some products that give C confidence in getting herself ready and doing it herself.
EZ Sox was invented by parents, Eileen and Ronnie Gesser, and are the world's first training socks for kids. After watching their own son struggle to get dressed all by himself, they noticed his socks seemed to be challenging him. They then came up with a quick and easy solution of adding two little loops to the top of his socks and an animal face on the top to tell which way was up, IT WORKED! Their son was thrilled that he could do it, and they felt proud that he had accomplished it himself.
After finding out there wasn't anything like it on the market, they made up samples and handed them out at preschool and karate, as well as physical and occupational therapy centers. The socks were a huge hit and now Eileen and Ronnie's mission is to encourage kids and others who struggle, to do it themselves with the help of EZ Sox.
Check out this quick, cute EZ Sox video:
 EZ Sox not only carries socks, but undies and tees too!
 I worked with Ronnie, the owner himself, who was very friendly and extremely generous to us. We were given the opportunity to review both the socks and undies, I knew C would be super excited to keep showing us what a big girl she is.
Our EZ Sox package is here!
My big girl ready to help
Inside we found an informational sheet and a baggie full of fun goodies.
The informational sheet told a little about the company, who they are, what they do, and how to contact them.
It also told us that EZ Sox has been endorsed by TV's 'The Doctors', Parenting Magazine, Mommy and Me Developmental Specialist-Dr. Cindy Nurik, and Raising a Sensory Smart Child author-Linsey Biel.
C came across a pair of EZ Sox right away, she kept saying "socks, socks"
The EZ Sox come in a variety of styles, over 20 for boys and girls. They come in a pack of 2, with sizes available from toddler 4-youth 3, and retail for $10-$12.
Each pair of socks features seamless toes, non skid bottoms, and pull up loops and are made of a cotton, polyester, and spandex blend.
We were sent the Kitty & Mouse Socks
We are so excited with these socks, they are so easy for C to put on and take off by herself. They are soft and comfortable for her little feet too. They are not super thick, but provide her with warm toes. The designs are also adorable and the cat/mouse set goes perfectly together.
The next thing we came across were the EZ undies, C loves her panties!
The EZ undies come in 2 styles for girls and 3 styles for boys. They come in a pack of 2, with 2-3 years and 4-5 years, and retail for $15.
Each pair of undies features easy pull handles, soft, wide waistband, and are tag free. They are made of a 95% cotton/5% spandex blend.
EZ undies were made to help toddlers transition from potty training into big kid undies. They feature embroidered oval handles on each side of the undies, in the waistband, that allow for the child to pull up or down their undies easily and straight each time.
We were sent the Kitty & Mouse Briefs
I love the designs on these undies! Both pair have something on both the front and the back of them, making them fun and perfect for toddlers. The purple pair is our absolute favorite, C calls them her cheese panties. She is super proud of herself when she wears either pair and they have been very helpful while potty training. She can easily get them down by herself to sit on the potty and can pull them up by herself when she is done, it makes the whole process seem like things big girls can do.


 Want It? Buy It!
 Check out these cute sock sets that are on sale, or these great gift sets, and even the sale items. Make sure you also follow EZ Sox on all of their social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and the EZ Sox Blog.
Ez Sox has offered our readers a $10 off $20 minimum purchase now through November 1st, 2015. Please use the code found on the giftcard below.
Many thanks to Ronnie and EZ Sox, we love them!

Tasty Tuesday: A Good Day for Chili

It is starting to feel a little more Fall-ish these past couple of days and knowing our schedule isn't slowing down either, crockpot meals are sounding good.
One of my favorite items to make in the crockpot is Chili.
I do it all right in the crockpot and let it sit all day, yum! It is on the menu for both tomorrow and Thursday night at our house. I try to do our version as healthy as possible (minus our toppings), you can make changes where you want.
Our Ingredient List:
1 Pound White Turkey Meat
Chili Powder
Chopped Onion, Celery, Peppers, and any other fresh veggies you would like to add (we like carrots)
1 Can Rotel
1 Can Low Sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans
3 Cans Low Sodium Tomato Soup
I turn our crockpot on high and add in the ground turkey meat, along with the chili powder and chopped veggies. I let this cook until the turkey meat is thoroughly cooked. I then add in the can of Rotel and the can of Kidney Beans (drained). I then mix it all together. After it has been mixed, I add in one can of tomato soup at a time, mixing together after each can, you can add water if needed, I usually end up adding about 1/2-1 can, depending on how far I need the chili to go. I then turn it on low and let it cook the rest of the day.

We usually garnish with:
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Jalapenos (my husband)
Hot Sauce (my husband)

I can't wait for dinner tomorrow!