Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Funday: Steph's Top Ten #toptenlist #sundayfunday

Top Ten Foods I Could Eat for the Rest of my Life...
1. Brownies
2. Cottage Cheese
3. Ice Cream
4. Mexican Food
5. Sweet Corn
6. Pizza
7. Broccoli Rice Casserole
8. Wedge Salads
9. French Fries
What are some of your favorite foods?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Toddler Time Fab Five: February

Moms of Toddlers (MOTs), this one is for just you! This new series will help you keep those busy little hands and minds occupied. Because we all know that occupied toddlers are the best kind of toddlers, right? Each month I'll share five fun, easy, inexpensive things to do with your littles. 

Our first Toddler Time on Mommy's Block Party is, of course, 
devoted to the sweetest "holiday" of them all: Valentine's Day

1. Check your local Dollar Store or Target Dollar Spot for festive window clings. We move these around from the easel to the playroom window to the oven door to the full length mirror to the storm door and Mr. G loves finding and making up stories with them.

Valentines-themed window clings are great story starters

2. Make a heart-shaped paper chain for counting, colors, and decoration. You can do classic loops in valentines colors, or this super easy heart-shaped one is adorable. Here are the simple instructions I followed. 

Count down the days until Valentines or decorate something!
3. DIY Heart-Toss. I found this green floral foam wreath at the dollar store, along with heart-print duct tape! Two minutes later I had a festive ring to toss foam hearts (also from the dollar store).

DIY materials from the Dollar Store

5 minute festive toss game
4. Go on a book scavenger hunt. Collect your child's favorite books and together find the ones that mention love, hearts, hugs and kisses, candy, or whatever festive word you pick. You'll be surprised what you find when you go looking for a specific topic!

How many books have hugs in them?
5. Fine motor play in the kitchen! I found these heart picks at the Dollar Store and they make an neat fine motor activity. Toddlers will love threading the sticks in an out of the holes. You could also use uncooked spaghetti noodles (use food coloring to turn them red!). 

The kitchen colander is a great stage for fine motor activities. 
He did this for 30 minutes!
Have fun thinking of Valentines activities for your little ones and be sure to share your great ideas with us in the comments!

Friday, January 29, 2016

My Favorite Travel Memories #Destinations

I have been on some pretty amazing vacations in my lifetime. From an early age, my parents began taking my sister and I on road trips. The older we got, the more we traveled. As an adult, I have been to some fabulous places with my husband, and with my family... from sunny locations in the Caribbean to adventures up and down the east coast and out west.

My top five travel memories are...

New Orleans, LA

Mahogany Bay, Roatan

Grand Cayman Islands

Cozumel, Mexico

The Bahamas

For as much as I love the cooler weather and New England states, I guess you could say we're hooked on the Caribbean when it comes to vacations. I've never been to Europe, though- and would love to visit Italy, Germany, Austria, France, and the UK. I'd also love to visit Scotland and Ireland one day. Australia is on my list, and my husband would love to be able to take a trip to Russia. We've got a big list of places we'd love to go.

I can't leave out North America, either- I'd love to visit the Great Lakes, see places like Seattle, San Francisco, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and one day, I'd love to see Canada, as well.

What about you? Where are some of your favorite spots to visit? Which places are on your must-see list?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Amazing Road Trip Hacks for the Whole Family

Going on a road trip with your whole family is a fantastic bonding experience that will bring you all closer. The freedom of being on the open road can create some beautiful memories for you all to treasure forever and introduce you to new and exciting places. But a lack of planning and boredom could lead to arguments, tantrums and hazards that could spoil your entire trip. So get yourself prepared and use these amazing hacks to get your family road trip started on the right foot.

Plan some surprise pit stops

Staying seated in a confined space for hours on end can make your family bored and agitated. So to avoid any tears and tantrums amongst your family members, plan some surprise pit stops along your route. You could spend the day at Wet ‘n’ Wild or visit a national park for the afternoon. This will give everyone the chance to stretch their legs and move around. It will also break up the journey making it less boring and tedious, especially if you are the driver. Seeing your kids faces’ when you pull into a theme park unannounced will be priceless. Plan in advance and search for coupons you could use to get some great family discounts on attraction tickets.

Create a road trip bag for everyone

Another way to keep everybody happy when driving is by creating individual road trip bags. These bags can have their favourite books, magazines, games and snacks inside. What you put inside should be determined by their ages of your family and keep them quietly entertained for a while. You can hang these bags over the headrests in your car, so everyone has easy access. You could also add disposable cameras to the bags so everyone can take pictures of the different landscapes along your journey. These will be amazing keepsakes that you can place into an album when you get home. Remember that these bags will also need to be refilled on your journey back too.

Set some rules before you go

Having some rules and boundaries may sound dramatic, but it can set the tone for your entire trip. Young children will need to understand what is expected of them and why these rules are in place. For instance, if you are towing a fifth wheel RV a rule should be in place to always lock the doors and keep it tidy. This will keep your belongings safe and secure. Or you could state that everyone has to go to the bathroom every time you stop and stick together. This will prevent any unnecessary delays and keep everyone safe. Explaining these rules the night before you leave will make sure every member of your family knows how to behave correctly. Print off your rules and take them with you to make sure the continue to be followed and always praise good behaviour.

With these hacks to help you, you road trip should go smoothly and successfully. Make it as fun as possible and plan an exciting route before you leave.

Let's Go On an Adventure: Peaches & Petals January Box #Review

Thank you to Peaches & Petals for providing me with product, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

After the holidays, I often find myself dealing with the winter blues. I certainly have enough happening in my life right now to keep me on my toes, but between being stuck indoors due to the cold temperatures and those super gray days, I could certainly use a little something to brighten up these long winter months. Receiving a special treat in the mail definitely does the trick! 

Peaches & Petals

Peaches and Petals is a fun monthly subscription box that sends out the latest trends in women's fashion, and gifts to love! Peaches and Petals is a member based monthly subscription service that hand-curates each box with items that exemplify the woman who’s not afraid of adventure. She’s open-minded, free-spirited, and loves relentlessly. Each box is delivered monthly.

Feeling stuck inside lately, I have definitely been dreaming of adventures. There are so many places I would love to go, and things I would love to see and do with my family. With a new baby on the way, I know that we won't be doing any major traveling within the next year or so. When I noticed that Adventure was the theme for the January Peaches & Petals Box, I was so excited, and couldn't wait to see where the included goodies would 'take me.'

A sweet surprise, delivered right to my door- the January Peaches & Petals Box!

As I slid the box open, I noticed the adorable tissue paper, wrapping up the January goodies. The paper was black and white, but depicted famous international monuments and landmarks- several of these I would like to see in person in my lifetime!

Opening up my monthly Peaches & Petals Box is my 'me time.' Sure, I'm not alone when I'm opening it, but for just a few moments, it seems as though the world stops, and all is quiet and calm. It might sound silly, but to a busy mom, this is sacred time!

The January Peaches & Petals Adventure Box included all of these fabulous products and surprises!

The January Box included five items:
Fruit Infuser Bottle
Hot Air Balloon Necklace
Selfie Stick
Encouragement Sticker

This Hamilton Beach Water Bottle is a great item for any gal!

This water bottle holds 17 oz. and is BPA free. I love the bright green wrapping around the bottle, and also love that it is a fruit infuser bottle! It's perfect for me, because I feel like I have an unquenchable thirst lately (thank you, Baby S!). I am trying to drink more water, but to be honest, I am not a fan of drinking water. It's so bland, and I have trouble downing glass after glass all day long. With the ability to place fruit directly into the water bottle, I can add instant flavor to my water. I add fresh lemon, lime, and orange from time to time for a nice, refreshing twist on traditional bottled water.

The other thing that I love and appreciate about this water bottle, is that it eliminates waste. We try to cut down on waste as much as possible in our house. We recycle everything we're allowed to (so much so that we really need another huge recycling bin), and we stopped buying bottled water a long time ago. We bought a filtering system, and we bottle our own water in reusable water bottles. I am glad to have this new water bottle in my collection!

The January P & P Box also included a selfie stick!

So, this is an item that I saw lots of friends posting about on social media this Christmas. So many people were gifted selfie sticks, and I thought it was so silly. The truth is, for my job, I am sometimes stuck without someone to take my picture, and wind up trying to do it myself- poorly, I might add. With the selfie stick, I can hold the camera far enough away to get a good, clear shot! This 'silly' invention is actually a lifesaver, and I am pretty excited to own one now!

I also received this inspiring sticker!

I love adorable stickers. I am a scrapbooker (or at least, I used to be) and love collecting stickers that I can use in my albums. This sticker is going to be saved for our next family road trip adventure. I can't wait to scrap with it!

This cute little gem was a neat surprise in the January box, as well.

I enjoy unique jewelry, and this sweet necklace was hiding in the January Peaches & Petals Box. The necklace features a large, colorful hot air balloon on a golden colored chain, with a light pink ribbon. It's not something that I would typically wear, but for special occasions, I would definitely put this on. There is a hot air balloon festival in the county next to ours every year, and I am hoping that we can make it there this spring. If we do get to go, I will surely be wearing this cute themed necklace! 

The icing on the cake of the January Box- a Healthy Home-Style Cooking cookbook from Family Circle.

I love cookbooks! I rely on them to find and try unique recipes. I get so bore eating the same old thing all the time, and this book has a fantastic collection of simple, healthy recipes. Hubby and I are trying to eat healthier (which is hard for me right now, as I want to eat everything in sight!), and this cookbook has some great recipes for us to try!

From healthy grilled meats to yummy and light pastas, there are lots of great recipes in this book that we can't wait to try!

The January box also included a sneak peek at what's coming up in the February box. I'll give you a hint, it's love themed!

I thought that this was a really fun box to explore, and enjoyed being transported out of my little mommy bubble for a while. These are all useful products which I will be able to enjoy beyond just this month.

Each month's box will vary with different items all to tickle your senses. P & P loves hand-selecting items in beauty and fashion accessories. Items could be trendy accessories and jewelry like scarves, hats, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, new beauty products like dry shampoos, eye makeup remover, shades of nail polish, eyeshadow and blush, pampering products like mud masks, skin restoring gels/creams, and who knows, we could be really adventurous the next month! Each box will contain 3-5 items and some months they may feel super excited and throw in an additional item!

You never know quite what you'll receive in a Peaches and Petals Monthly Box- that's what makes this subscription so much fun! Subscribe and divvy up the contents to share with friends, subscribe as a gift, or keep the box for yourself- whatever floats your boat! Peaches and Petals would make an awesome gift!

Want it? Get it!

Head on over to Peaches and Petals to subscribe to this fabulous monthly subscription box. It's just $14.99/mo and shipping is free. Connect with Peaches and Petals on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Check out my other Peaches & Petals reviews:

Special thanks to Peaches and Petals for allowing me to check out and share about their sweet subscription service.

Take a Break Thursday- 5 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Mood Right Now!

This time of the year, I always end up feeling kind of blah. It probably has something to do with the fact that we are spending more time indoors because it is so cold outdoors. Because I'm sure that I'm not the only one who could use a little pick me up every now and again, I wanted to share a few of my favorite go-to mood boosting activities. 

1. Crank Up the Tunes- Listen to some music, sing (or lip-sync) along, and dance like nobody's watching- When I am stressed out, music always makes it better. I tend to act like I'm on an episode of Lip Sync Battle. The goofier I act, the better I feel. 

I am Totally Addicted to Pandora...This Song is One of My Favorites to Sing and Dance to! 

2. Grab the Crayons- Adult coloring books are kind of an "in" thing right now, but plain paper will do just fine if you don't have one. Grab the crayons (colored pencils or markers will do as well) and just let your creativity flow. I'm not an artist by any means, but in this case it's more about the act of creating than the product being created.

3. Look at Some Pictures- Nothing makes me smile more than looking through pictures and revisiting some fun adventures like our trip to Madame Tussauds in New York City or any of our visits to Florida! 

That Time the Girls Met Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana! 

4. Get Some Fresh Air- If you can get outside, go for a nice walk. If you are unable to go outside, pop a window open for a little while. I know it's cold, but sometimes all you need is a quick burst of fresh air to make you feel a little less "blah". 

5. Exercise Your Body and/or Your Mind- If you have more than 5 minutes, take the time to exercise your body. I love using my Shazzy Fitness DVDs. If you can only spare about 5 minutes, try a brain teaser. I really enjoy Escape the Room Games, although sometimes they can be addicting and you might spend more than 5 minutes on them. 

Do you find yourself needing a boost this time of the year? Be sure to try some (or all) of these mood boosters and let us know how they work out for you! If you have a few mood-boosting activities you'd like to share, we'd love to hear about it, so be sure to leave a comment! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bopping Away the Winter Blues with Kidz Bop 31 {Review} #kidzbop31

Thank you to Kidz Bop for providing me with Kidz Bop 30 in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.
We are in the long months of Indiana winter and the kids are getting restless. One way we like to  burn off energy in the house is dancing. The girls constantly put on shows and perform for anyone who will watch. B will dance, but usually only when mom and dad are watching, he wouldn't want to look "uncool". All three of the kids have been caught bobbing their heads or feet in time to the music in the car and they love hearing the most current hits on the radio.
Many of today's lyrics are too much for my kids to hear, I don't need them growing up before they need to. I have learned that the best way to still listen to the most popular songs, but in the safest way, is KIDZ BOP. KIDZ BOP is today's biggest pop music hits, song by kids for kids.
KIDZ BOP is the #1 music brand for kids in the US and releases four major numbered albums each year, filled with kid friendly versions of today's biggest pop music hits. For five consecutive years (2010-2014), Billboard Magazine has named the KIDZ BOP Kids the “#1 Kids’ Artist” in the U.S.!The KIDZ BOP singers are four talented, hardworking, young performers from across the country that sing on albums, star in TV commercials and music videos, and travel all over North America to perform LIVE in more than 25 shows each year. Check out the Live Tour and Events here. KIDZ BOP also has its own channel on SiriusXM, called KIDZ BOP Radio (which can be found on Channel 77, we love it).
Check out this video of "Sorry" from KIDZ BOP 31, which was released on January 15th, 2016
We have done reviews of KIDZ BOP 25, 26, 27, 29, and 30! That should prove how much we like and approve of all that KIDZ BOP offers.
The kids are very quick to recognize this logo on their mail.
We love when this package arrives.
This guy doesn't get to help open a ton of things, but this is one I know he will enjoy.
Always happy to see some new music to listen and party with.
B now likes to read the release information too, he knew what was going to be on the CD before we even opened it up.
Inside we found our KIDZ BOP 31 CD and information sheet.
We also saw that KIDZ BOP is celebrating their 15th birthday this year, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIDZ BOP!
Track List for KIDZ BOP 31
  1. What Do You Mean
  2. Stitches
  3. Wildest Dreams
  4. Drag Me Down
  5. Hotline Bling
  6. Same Old Love
  7. Ex's and Oh's
  8. Sorry
  9. Confident
  10. Like I'm Gonna Lose You
  11. Renegades
  12. Here
  13. On My Mind
  14. Downtown (B's Favorite on the List)
  15. Hello (Mommy's Favorite on the List)
 To hear a sample of each song, click here.
Now let's get dancing!
Want It? Buy It!
KIDZ BOP is so much fun, they not only have music, but tons of fun merchandise, so don't wait any longer.  Make sure to follow KIDZ BOP at all of their social media outlets--Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.
Thanks to KIDZ BOP for our rocking CD!