Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Xmas 10

Cool Peppermint Dots Christmas 5x7 folded card
Create unique Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Enjoy Lighting (flameless candles) Review & Giveaway!

I was really excited to review a set of flameless candles from Enjoy Lighting. Being a mom of little ones and also a firefighter (as well as having transported numerous burn patients before), I'm always a little paranoid about having open flames in the house...so a candle without flames is something very appealing! I have checked out these sorts of "candles" at friends' homes before, and I must say that Enjoy Lighting flameless candles are top of the line. Definitely.
I have no complaints about these candles. They are BEAUTIFUL, look and smell real, and I love, love, LOVE the timer ability that you can use! It's really made my living room feel extra homey and peaceful to see flickering ivory candles and I'm always picking them up to smell the vanilla scent.

My HUSBAND even thinks they are fantastic. His quote is "when you're having mad, passionate sex, you don't have to worry about knocking over a burning candle and burning the house down. Great buy!" Yes, that's the man I married, and yes, this is the first review I've done where he wanted his opinion to also count. So I guess that these candles are not only good for home decor, but are also good for spicing up the ol' marriage bed. Ha!


Features and Benefits
• Available in 3x4”, 3x6”, 3x8”, 4x6”, 4x8”

• Astonishingly realistic 100,000 hour Triple-LED flickering light source.

• Available with Multi-Hour Timer Mode or Dim/Bright Mode.
 
• 300+ Hour Battery Life

• Requires 4 ‘AA’ Batteries

• Realistic Melted Edge

• Distinct Vanilla Fragrance



Multi-Hour Timer Mode
• Operate manually or set timer to run for 4, 6, or 8 hours

• Candle will automatically turn on each day and the set time and off after the selected number of hours

• Perfect for hard to reach spaces – Set it and forget it!


Buy It! Enjoy Lighting candles are available at a lot of places, including Target, BonTon, and Michael's! I think these make fabulous Christmas gifts and my vote is to through these into someone's stocking this year (gently, of course; they are made from real wax).

Win It! Enjoy Lighting is giving one of my readers a set (3) of her own candles in the Ivory color. To enter, leave me a comment below with a link to your favorite candle(s) from their website. Include your email address and a separate comment for each entry. Contest will end Friday, 12/17/10 at noon, EST.

Extra Entries:
 (after the above is completed --leave a separate comment for each one):

1) Follow Life More Simply on Google Friend Connect

2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.

3) "Like" our Facebook page.

4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).

5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!

6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: " I just entered to win  a set of Flamless Candles from @LifeMoreSimply!
http://tinyurl.com/39fjvm8! " (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each): Win a set of flameless candles from @LifeMoreSimply! 
http://tinyurl.com/39fjvm8 #giveaway #contest #home

8) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

9) Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html



10) Take our survey (4 ENTRIES!): click HERE 

Disclaimer: Enjoy Lighting provided me with products for review and giveaway. I received no other compensation and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. Opinions are all mine...and my husbands. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

4 Steps to Increasing Interest in Volunteering


Growing up, it was just expected of us in my family that we were going to volunteer somewhere. At a young age, my mom began plugging my sisters and I into various roles at the local libraries, and then later to volunteer for church groups and other things of our own choosing. The importance of volunteering really stuck with us, and most of use who are over 18 (five now) have been a volunteer firefighter or EMT at one point or another, and have also done short term overseas mission work on a volunteer basis. I think that we can all agree that volunteering is both important for the individual and necessary for the community, yet volunteerism is on a huge downward spiral, and the lowest in NY in particular! I received the article below with an opportunity to repost and at first blew it off because I don't generally post stuff like this, but then I looked at it and decided that if even one person reads this and is motivated to have her family start volunteering, it will be worth it. :-) So read and enjoy!
Here are 4 Steps to getting your family interested in volunteering:

Step 1: Clarify your personal goals and motives for wanting to include your child in volunteer activities. Volunteering is a wonderful way to a share your values with your child. Pick a cause that is meaningful to you and your family rather than one that is simply convenient.

Step 2: Explain the importance of volunteerism and the contribution volunteers can make. A child's favorite question is "why?" Keep your answers simple and concrete. For example, if you are going to volunteer at the food bank, tell your child that "The food bank has lots of food for people who need it, and it will be our job to sort the food so that people are able to find what they need."

Step 3: Choose volunteer activities to do with your children that are age-appropriate. Children as young as three can begin volunteering. At this age they begin to enjoy participation in group activities and are better able to follow directions. Remember that a preschooler's concept of the world is not very large and is usually limited primarily to their home, neighborhood and school; therefore, it is important to keep the activity within the realm of what they can imagine. A few examples:
  • Participate in "clean the park" activities. Be sure to have your child wear gloves.
  • Take recyclables to recycling collection centers.
  • Act as a companion to the elderly in retirement or assisted living homes. Simply listening to their stories and relieving their loneliness provides multiple benefits for the senior citizen and your child.
  • Participate in local races and walks that raise money for a charitable cause that you think is important; most races have a shorter race for children.
  • Sort food at a food bank. Be sure to confirm that children are welcome to volunteer and that it will be a safe environment.
Step 4: Find a child-friendly not-for-profit. Ask the following questions to help you select the volunteer opportunity that is right for your family:
  • Does the organization have experience with and a history of successfully working with children and families? Will the organization provide me with a reference from another family who has volunteered with them?
  • Will the organization staff welcome my child's participation?
  • Is there a specific job that my child can do successfully? Who will show my children what to do?
  • Are there special clothes or supplies needed for my child to volunteer with this organization?
  • Does the organization conduct appropriate background screenings on its staff? Does the organization have insurance if there is an accident while your family is volunteering?
  • Can the organization provide a concrete example that will help your child understand how his or her efforts benefit others?
To find these and other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn's blog at DrZandme.com. For more information on Primrose Schools, visit www.primroseschools.com.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter

Thanks to MomSelect for sending me this article and the chance to win a prize which I can't even remember what it is for reposting this. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Norah Jones "...Featuring" album review

...Featuring is a star-studded collection of Norah Jones' collaborations spanning her entire career.  The result serves as a kind of parallel history to her four albums, which have sold over 40 million copies worldwide.  

“A lot of the people on this record are people I've worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” says Norah. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.”

Songs on …Featuring range from classics recorded by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, and Roy Orbison to new material by such wide-ranging innovators as Ryan Adams and Q-Tip.

The track listing for …Featuring is as follows:

1. Love Me – The Little Willies 
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo 
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones 
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward 

My thoughts...
First off, I love Norah Jones and was really excited when I saw the opportunity to get my hands on this album. Her smooth voice, defined piano background...you name it, I'm in love! Overall, I thought this was a really interesting album. There is a huge array of different styles on it, from the traditional jazz we know and love to rap/hip hop stuff. It's neat to hear how Norah can pull of so many different musical genres, and to think of how she's interacted with the other renown musicians featured on this album. I wasn't so happy with some of the underlying messages of the songs, though. Some have sexual and violent messages woven in which I didn't feel were appropriate for my kids to listen to in the car. So just be ready to fast forward if you need to. :-)

Buy it! Click here to purchase Norah Jones' new album, ...Featuring.

Disclaimer: One2One network provided me with a free album for this review. No other compensation was received and I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Get a FREE $25 gift card from Amazon.com and a chance to win $500.00!


Now here's a deal that NO ONE can pass up. :-)

Amazon.com launched a program, www.itsThoughtful.com, that should help everyone pick "good" Christmas gifts...you know, the kind that people actually want to receive!

Well, the cool thing is that if you spread the word about the program and get 15 of your friends to sign up for it too, they will send you a $25.00 gift card to Amazon.com. Seriously? YES! And all it takes is about 30 seconds, because you only have to choose a username/password and give your email address.

On top of that, you will also have a chance to win $500 by submitting your "best Christmas gift" idea!

So click this link to sign up or to learn more about itsThoughtful:
http://www.itsthoughtful.com/christmas-gift-contest/23650/ln/

*THE FIRST 14 PEOPLE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS FOLLOWING MY LINK ABOVE WILL GET 5 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES INTO ONE CONTEST OF HER CHOICE. LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW WITH THE EMAIL ADDRESS YOU USED TO SIGN UP, AND THEN USE THE WORD "itsThoughtful #1" (through #5) FOR YOUR CONTEST ENTRIES! THANKS AND GOOD LUCK!*

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Online Black Friday Deals at Cloth Diaper and Natural Parenting Stores

Here is a list of all of the natural parenting/cloth diapering stores who are having Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials that I'm aware of. I'll continue to update this as I find new deals. List your own deal or other ones that you know about as a comment!

Free Charlie's Soap Sample with orders over $25 - use code FREESOAP
Free OsoCozy Organic Doubler with orders over $50 - use code FREEOSO
Free GroVia Wetbag with orders over $75 - use code FREEGRO
Free Gabby's Swim Diaper with orders over $100 - use code FREESWIM


First 10 orders of the day receive a bumGenius 4.0
One-Size Cloth Diaper with inserts
Orders 11-70 of the day receive a FREE item
(Item disclosed in our next email)
Orders 71-89 Receive a FREE Kiwi Pie One-Size Fitted Diaper - $24.95
retail value (if item isn't available KC reserves the right to substitute)
Orders 90-100 Will receive a FREE one-size diaper - value of $18.95
or more

Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diapers and Tiny Tush Elite pocket diapers are buy 5 get 1 free with coupon code BUY5GET1 (no other discounts apply)

Bottmbumpers buy 6 get 1 free

Fuzzibunz: Pefect fit $11 (XS are $12), One-size (including the new hemp one) are $16.95. Limited to stock on hand although I am allowing back order on the hemp ones.

Black Friday coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY valid on 11/26/2010 only 20% off all items that are not already on sale or B5G1.

Cyber Monday coupon code: CYBERMONDAY valid on Sunday and Monday 11/28-11/29 15% off items not already on sale or B5G1.

Friday 11/26-Monday11/29: Free gift with every $30 or more order. Value of your free gift will increase with your product total. Excamples of free gifts are wipes, reusable bags, baby wash or other great items and even pocket diapers for orders over $60.

Monday 11/29 ONLY: Buy any 8 inserts or doublers in the store and get a free Thirsties Duo cover. Add the cover to your cart and use coupon code FREECOVER (it will take off the solid cover price, so if you choose a print cover you will still the $1 difference) you can also use the cyber monday coupon code on this!


For one day only get ready for almost $10,000 in FREEBIES!! 

*We will be offering 25% off ENTIRE store... *Including a FREE cloth wipe and Redmond Clay natural diaper powder pouch for all orders before 10 am (MST on Friday only)...*AND giving $15.00 gift cards to all purchases over $200.00. Now that's a Black Friday and Cyber Monday STEAL!!!

We are SO excited to share Black Friday and Cyber Monday with you guys!!! Make DiaperStyle.com the first place you shop this year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday! SALES start at 12:00 am each day.

 


Gro-Via 10-25% off (Saturday only)
Rumparooz 15% off
Ergo Baby 10% off
Bottom Bumpers 15% off
Lil Joeys 15% off
Kissa's Hemp Fitteds 15% off
Kissaluvs Hybrid Contours packages 10% off
Tiny Tush Elite buy 5 get 1 free
FuzziBunz One Size Diapers 5% off
Rainforest Babies AI2  20% off
Knickernappies One Size 10% off
Happy Heinys One Size 12% off
Wool 10% off (Sustainablebabish just arrived)
and much, much more!
Plus all orders received through Monday, November 29 will receive a free gift!
Always:
Free Shipping over $35
2 Layaway Plans
Personal Customer Service
Military Discount (can not be combined with any sales)

http://bippydiapers.com
Free FuzziBunz with your order of $35 or more! Amount must be $35 before addition of the FuzziBunz. Use the code Freefuzzi at checkout. 
+ more!



  • Get FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diapers on sale for the once-in-a-lifetime price of only $10.95 each!


  • Save on Bottombumpers One Size Diapers: Buy 5 Get 1 FREE. (To redeem, place 6 diapers in your cart and use code BUY5GET1 at checkout.)

  • Take 20% off all in-stock Sustainablebabyish diapers and wool!

  • Save 10% on all in-stock Bottombumpers side-snap sized diapers + get a FREE doubler with each diaper (no code needed)!

  • Take 20% off all in-stock Thirsties and Bummis brand cloth diaper covers!

  • Get the Rockin' Green Soap special edition holiday scent for the amazing price of only $10 per bag (Classic Rock) and $12 per bag (Hard Rock). Only a limited quantity was produced, so get yours while you can! (Scent to be announced on or about 11/23/2010.)

  • Save 20% off the regular line-up of Rockin' Green Soap.



  • LOTS of freebies and discounts--too many to list on here! Visit their site to check it out. :-)

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Right On The Walls Review & Feature

    I love simple, inexpensive, fast, and clever decorating ideas, thus vinyl wall art melts my heart. My son inherited our John-Deer green library room as his nursery, and we decided to keep the paint color because we loved it so much. Being a small room though, it really needs something else to kick things up a notch and make it lighter and brighter. We've tried to achieve that by using white trim and accessories (although his furniture is very dark), and thought the "Group Of Pine Trees" vinyl wall art from Right On The Walls would be a fantastic addition to his woods-themed room (yes, my son has baby deer on his crib set!). Below are before and after photos. I ordered the "small" size of the trees (11" wide x 24" high each for $45.95) in the white color.

    BEFORE:
     
      
    AFTER:


    I have been so happy with my order from Right On The Walls! Not only did it come VERY fast and in good shape, but they included a neat scraper tool to help you smooth everything onto the wall. After I got the decorations up, I put it in my kitchen and have been using it to scrape food off of dishes--very effective. :-) You also receive a small decal to practice with. I didn't use it (a turkey!) but did find it useful in understanding the directions included. I have used other brands of vinyl wall art in the past and this is the best selection and quality I've seen. Not only does Right On The Walls offer a million different pieces of art, but you can customize all of them to be whatever colors you want!

    The only thing I found is that you may spend a lot more time putting the vinyl up than what they tell you it should take. There were a lot of small pieces to the trees set that I had to take more time on so that nothing ripped apart and so I set things smoothly. It looks awesome though, and I've been busy showing off our "artwork" to everyone who visits my home. :-) I can't wait to buy some more!



    Buy It! Visit www.rightonthewalls.com to view their HUGE selection of wall decorations including glow-in-the-dark ones, chalkboard ones, and clocks! To receive 15% off your purchase, enter this code at checkout: BR15DCT

    Win It! Right On The Walls is giving away a $40 gift code to one of my readers. You can put this towards something more expensive, or let it pay for the entirety of your vinyl wall art! To win, tell me what you will use the $40 for from www.rightonthewalls.com. Be sure to include an email address and leave a separate comment for EACH entry! Contest will close on or after December 8th, 2010 at midnight, EST.

    Extra Entries:
     (after the above is completed --leave a separate comment for each one):

    1) Follow Life More Simply on Google Friend Connect

    2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.

    3) "Like" our Facebook page.

    4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).

    5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!

    6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: " I just entered to win  a $40 gift code to Right On The Walls from @LifeMoreSimply!
    http://tinyurl.com/rightonthewalls! " (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

    7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each): Win a $40 gift code to @RightOnTheWalls from @LifeMoreSimply!
    http://tinyurl.com/rightonthewalls #giveaway #contest #home

    8) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

    9) Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html


    10) Go to http://www.facebook.com/RightOnTheWalls and leave this message on their wall: I love vinyl wall art and just entered to win a $40 gift code to Right On The Walls from @LifeMoreSimply! http://tinyurl.com/rightonthewalls

    11) Vote for Rebekah Hess or take our 5-question survey to get a TON more entries!  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/2010/11/extra-ways-to-win.html

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Extra ways to win!

    I am offering two extra ways to earn entries into all of the contests going on at Life More Simply. These are two important things, so I hope that you'll take advantage of earning extra entries while helping us out at the same time!

    Way #1: Vote for Rebekah Hess in the "Fort Riley MWR" Facebook contest: http://apps.facebook.com/contestshq/contests/72516/voteable_entries/10230168?ogn=facebook&order=recency. It literally is just a click of a button to vote, and you can vote every day! Login to your FB account and then click the link above. Click "VOTE" for Rebekah Hess.

    Every day you vote = 3 EXTRA contest entries into any and all contests on Life More Simply! Leave your FB name that you used in the LMS contest comment along with your email address. I will verify each entry into the Fort Riley contest. Encourage your own FB friends to vote using the "post to my wall" popup that will appear after you vote for an additional 1 entry (so 4 entries total EVERY DAY into EVERY contest on Life More Simply!). *you only have until November 30 to take advantage of this and vote!*

    Way #2: Take our 5 Question Survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=3uTfCQ3JkgDlIDyBNun%2BvLSRqlC%2BtaRrkR4IcCdmBYQ%3D

    This is going to help us fine tune what you see on Life More Simply, starting in January!

    After you take the survey, leave 4 comments on each contest you want to with the word "survey" and your email address. So taking this one survey will give you 4 EXTRA contest entries into every contest!

    Thanks, everyone! <3

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Taco Soup Recipe & Taco Family Night Prize Pack Giveaway!

    Dinnertime is a great time for catching up with your family, especially during the hustle and bustle of back-to-school season. Now that school is back in session, reward your family for their hard work and bring the dinner your family loves to the table with a fiesta - Old El Paso style!


    If your family already loves tacos, why not put “Family Taco Night” on the calendar at least once a month? With a variety of seasonings and other complementary products, Old El Paso offers everything you need for fun nights with the family.

    To satisfy your Mexican style cravings, the Old El Paso
    ® line up of products includes chilies, dinner kits, dips and sides, enchilada sauce, refried beans, seasoning mixes, shells, taco sauce and salsa. The Old El Paso taco seasoning mix selection includes flavors like Burrito, Cheesy Taco, Chili, Fajita, Taco, Mild Taco and even a seasoning with 40% less sodium.

    For a fun twist on Taco Night, be sure to try one of the delicious recipes below. And to keep your family laughing at the dinner table, have some fun with El Tacodor™, the world’s only Family Taco Night Game. With El Tacodor, your family can share a special night at home by challenging one another to quick fire trivia, wordplay and pantomime. Visit www.ElTacodor.com today to download instructions, a score card, and a challenge sheet for even more fun on Family Taco Night!

    Visit Old El Paso for news and great tips, recipes and more. Take a minute to share family fiesta photos and videos from Family Taco Nights on the El Tacodor Family Spotlight!

    In addition, you can visit http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/b069/to download a printable coupon for $0.60 off any two Old El Paso products today!

     I used their new seasoning to make a Taco Soup--easy, and delicious! The only difference I actually found in the seasoning is that their "new" blend doesn't contain the onion that their "old" blend did (yes, I did compare the ingredients).
    Here's how to make it:
    TACO SOUP RECIPE
    • Brown 1lb ground beef or turkey and season with 1 packet taco seasoning--same as you would if you were making tacos!

    Once the beef/turkey is ready, throw it in a pot and simmer with these other ingredients:

    • 1 can whole kernel corn, with the juice 
    • 1 larger can baked beans (pour off excess fluid) 
    • 1 larger can kidney beans (excess fluid poured off)
    • Tomato juice--enough to cover the other ingredients and to make it the "soup" consistency that you like (usually one bottle) 
    To serve, top each bowl with the following:
    • taco cheese
    • sour cream
    • tortilla chips
    Easy, fast, and delicious!

    WIN IT! MyBlogSpark and Old El Paso sent me a "Family Taco Night" prize pack  to review which includes a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase your taco fixings...and they want to give one to you, too! 
    To win, leave me your favorite Mexican recipe below (elaborate or simple, doesn't matter). Be sure to include a separate comment and email address for each entry!

    For additional entries:
    Additional entries (after the above is completed --leave a separate comment for each one):

    1) Follow Life More Simply on Google Friend Connect

    2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.


    3) "Like" our Facebook page.


    4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).


    5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!


    6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: "
    I just entered to win the Taco Family Night prize package! http://tinyurl.com/28uegsr @Life More Simply" (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

    7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each):
    Win a Taco Family Night prize package from @LifeMoreSimply! http://tinyurl.com/28uegsr (ARV $20) #giveaway #contest #food

    8) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

    9) Sign up to
    Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html


    Call for Guest Bloggers! and also a correction...

    I have a correction to make. You know my last post, the one about the free cards from Snapfish? Well, it's actually from shutterfly. I didn't even realize my mistake until I started getting Facebook messages saying "hey, Rachel, you keep referring to Snapfish, but all of the links are actually for shutterfly." Oops!

    The hilarious part is that the company (shutterfly) "read" my post and approved it for the 50 free cards. Ummm...

    So please know that the whole "50 free cards for Bloggers" deal is, indeed, from shutterfly. Also know that they aren't going to read your post, so you don't need to bother writing the 150 words or whatever they want you to. ;-)

    My goal this week is to post a LOT of reviews and giveaways. I want them all up before December 1st! This is going to be hard work since I barely get online at all during the day (thanks to the toddler always attached to my leg and the baby always attached to my arm or other body parts) and am too tired at night (gee, don't know why that may be!)...but I am determined. So check back every day for good things--and I have a LOT of good things ready to share!

    Also, I am looking for guest bloggers to feature during December. If you are taking the "handmade pledge" this Christmas and creating any gifts, decorations, or anything else this holiday season, let me know! I want to post your DIY tutorial with instructions and photos to help inspire the rest of us to have a Simple Christmas! Spread the word--I will also include a link to your own blog if your submission is accepted. :-) Email your guest blog to: LifeMoreSimply (at) yahoo.com

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Attention Bloggers! Get 50 FREE Christmas cards from Shutterfly! (Simple Christmas #1)


    Shutterfly, a photo sharing and printing site is teaming up with Bloggers this Christmas season. Basically, you spread the word about their huge array of Christmas cards, and you get 50 of them for free (see the link at the bottom of this post to get in on the action) ! I checked out the designs and they are phenomenal. There are also sales going on right now that can save you a lot of money on your holiday cards. Think of it this way--a card that doubles as a gift! Just include a photo frame and you're all taken care of. Tie the envelope to the frame and whola! you even have "green" wrapping paper. :-)

    My favorite cards are the ones with multiple photos and simple backgrounds, but I'm falling in love with this cute one that boasts only one photo as well:

    Choosing your card design  may seem like a monumental task (there are 748 for your browsing pleasure), but it's actually pretty easy because there's a "refine your selection" menu on the left hand side of the page. It'll narrow down your selections by number of photos (even down to "0"), color schemes, prices, etc.. Pretty fun and easy! There are some designs that go beyond the basic Christmas card, like this one:


    Overall, I think this one is my favorite because of it's classy design and easy frameability:

    The details of this specific design can give you an idea about their other designs as well.

    Pricing- $2.99/per card - $1.29/per card. Although they are 20% off right now!
    Size- 5x7 Stationery Card
    Details:  Family Wall Noir Christmas Card. Show off your family wall. This classic Christmas card holds a framed collection of six favorite photos and your family's monogrammed initial. There's room for everyone's names next to a joyous greeting. Designed in cranberry red and midnight noir.

    Did you know that  Shutterfly will even stamp, address, and mail your Christmas cards for you? Not that I have the money for that, but what a time-saver it would be!

    Next month (December), I will be featuring a lot of DIY Christmas gifts/decorations/etc...but for now, the 50 Free Cards from Shutterfly get my first vote for a Simple Christmas gift! Get some used photo frames, attach them to your Shutterfly photo card with a used ribbon, and enjoy your almost free but still timeless and chic gift. :-)

    Links:
    Choose your own card/invitation and URL from our Cards & Stationery page

    Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly:  http://bit.ly/sfly2010 

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    To Write LOVE On Her Arms

    Today is To Write Love On Her Arms Day...

    You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.


    We live in a difficult world, a broken world. My friend Byron is very smart - he says that life is hard for most people most of the time. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know that you're not alone in the places you feel stuck.

    We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know that pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.
    You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption. We're seeing it happen. We're seeing lives change as people get the help they need. People sitting across from a counselor for the first time. People stepping into treatment. In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline. We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take. We want to say here that it's worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it's possible to change.

    Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone.

    The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.

    The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles.

    The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.

    The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.

    The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise. The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.

    The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

    The vision is the possibility that we're more loved than we'll ever know.

    The vision is hope, and hope is real.

    You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.

    Taken from the mission statement of To Write Love On Her Arms, found at http://www.twloha.com. This organization is dedicated to "presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide."

    Visit www.TWLOHA.com to learn more.

    

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Win a Betty Crocker Mashed Potatoes Prize Pack!

    Gathering the family around the dinner table to enjoy a home cooked meal is a great way to unwind, but there aren’t always enough hours in the day to prepare an entire meal from scratch.

    To find a delicious side dish that’s easy to prepare and tastes homemade, look no further than Betty Crocker’s® Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes, which are made with 100% real potatoes.

    With a just-like-mom’s taste, Betty Crocker Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes go from stovetop to table in just eight short minutes. Based on a scratch recipe, the Homestyle Creamy Butter variety will have your family thinking you spent hours in the kitchen the next time you serve up a hearty helping. If you prefer an extra kick of flavor, give the Roasted Garlic variety a try. And with two pouches in every box there’s plenty to go around.

    Be sure to try the Au Gratin flavor variety, too! For more information, visit BettyCrocker.com, and be sure to follow Betty Crocker on Twitter and “Like” the Facebook page to keep up with all of the latest news on your Betty Crocker favorites! 



    We're giving away a prize pack that includes two boxes of Betty Crocker Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes (one Roasted Garlic and one Homestyle Creamy Butter), a serving bowl, a trivet and a serving spoon. 

    In addition, you can visit http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/4775/ for $0.55 off one package of Betty Crocker Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes !
    I was able to sample the same prize pack that MyBlogSpark and Betty Crocker is giving to one of you, and I have to vouch for the amazingness of it. The potatoes taste great and are EASY to make (although I would rather see an all-natural product), but the bamboo bowl--wow! It's really well built and BIG. I'm loving it. :-)
    Win It! Leave a comment below telling me a favorite mealtime tradition you have--or an idea for a new one! Be sure to LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS in every comment. Contest ends 11/20/10 at noon, EST.

    Additional entries (after the above is completed --leave a separate comment for each one):
    1) Follow Life More Simply on Google Friend Connect

    2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.

    3) "Like" our Facebook page.

    4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).

    5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!

    6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: "I just entered to win the Betty Crocker prize package! http://tinyurl.com/39jr3hv @Life More Simply" (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

    7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each): Win a Betty Crocker prize package from @LifeMoreSimply! http://tinyurl.com/39jr3hv (ARV $45) #giveaway #contest #food


    8) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

    9) Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html

    *Note: MyBlogSpark and Betty Crocker supplied me with the product for review and giveaway. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are all mine.*

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    What Kind of Diapers Do YOUR Baby Wear?


    What does your baby wear, and why?

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Barefoot Books 30% off + Free Shipping (Collaberative Order)


    I'm putting together a collaborative Barefoot Books order so that everyone interested can get a big discount and FREE shipping! I just recently learned of their beautiful books and educational materials and am so very excited. These look like fabulous products for both the home and school---and I'm thinking will make perfect gifts for Christmas, upcoming birthdays, and baby showers in the next year!

    Here are the details:

    1) Check out the store by clicking the banner above. DO NOT ORDER THROUGH THE STORE. If you order through the store, you won't get the discount.

    2) Make a list of everything you want with the item names, prices, and quantity.

    3) Fill out this form here to get more information and order: CLICK HERE

    Our order must be placed on December 1st, so please pass the word about this so that we can get enough orders to get the discount and free shipping in time for Christmas!

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Bubbles Couture Diaper Review & Giveaway!

     Meet Bubbles Couture, maker of the cutest diapers in the world.
    Handmade in Canada, these cloth diapers are both luxurious and adorable, and as far as I know, are the only diapers designed by an actual fashion designer. By using cotton embellishments on PUL, your child's bum is taken to a whole new level while also being comfortable thanks to the VERY soft plush or suedecloth inner lining.We were sent the above diaper, a style named "Woof!" along with a matching bamboo insert.

    What we think: You already know that I think it's an exceedingly adorable diaper, and also super-duper comfy on my little one's bottom because of the soft lining. The elastic doesn't leave marks unless it's truly too tight, and I never had a problem with the snaps coming undone. The insert is the thinnest I think I've ever seen and so is easy to stuff into the pocket opening and doesn't bulk up the diaper. Even when I double the inserts, they stay snugly in the pocket and I've had zero wicking problems! Overall, this diaper wins out because it's so fashionable and soft.

    Cons to this diaper include that the leg adjustment system is tricky. You adjust the legs by reaching into the elastic casing that's left open and pulling on the elastic. Along the elastic, there are snaps put through so that you can pull a snap through the opening and it can't slide back in unless you push it into the casing. The good thing to this is that it really isn't going to un-size itself once you set the elastic where you want it. The bad news is that it's hard to pull through and I'm worried that I'll stretch out the elastic in the process. When adjusting the waist snaps, it can also look a little funny since it wont always look symmetrical to the other snap placements. I think this is just due to the triangular design.

    I also found that I really needed to add a microfiber doubler to use with the bamboo insert for my toddler daughter. Otherwise, the appliqued decorations on the diaper would start to soak through.

    Other stuff...We also received a can of their organic diaper rash balm. It's certainly the most unique I've seen! Instead of being made with the typical ingredients like zinc oxide, it has things like clay, vanilla and lavender essential oils--and is all vegetarian and hand made! I liked that it went on smooth, but there is a little grit to the texture from the clay. While it didn't clear up any diaper rashes over night, it didn't make them any worse, and it didn't irritate any little bottom skin, either. It does smell a little like play doh. :-)

    Buy It! Bubbles Couture just released a whole new bunch of diapers in their line up! Check them out on their website at http://bubblescouture.ca. Diapers retail for about $45.00 (USD), so they are a bit pricey, but really are a special treat for your fluff stash!

    Win It! Bubbles Couture is giving away a diaper, insert, and diaper rash balm to one of my readers! *You MUST be publicly following this blog in order to win. Just click the "Follow (with Google Friend Connect)" button in the far right hand column near the top of this page. Problems? Send me an email and I'll help you out! lifemoresimply@yahoo.com.* Contest ends 12/2/10 at noon, EST.

    To win, leave me a comment below telling me what print diaper you want--be careful, because what you choose is what you'll get if you win! Be sure to include your email address in EVERY entry and leave a separate comment for each entry as well.


    Additional entries (after the above is completed):
    1) Tell me WHY you want to win this.

    2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.

    3) "Like" our Facebook page.

    4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).

    5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!

    6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: "Bubbles Couture cloth diapers are the cutest! I just entered to win one at http://tinyurl.com/2adshlq from @Life More Simply" (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

    7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each): Win a Bubbles Couture cloth diaper from @LifeMoreSimply! http://tinyurl.com/2adshlq  (ARV $45) #giveaway #contest #clothdiaper #baby #green


    8) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

    9) Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html

    *Note: Bubbles Couture supplied me with the product for review and giveaway. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are all mine.*


    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Guidecraft Complete Kitchen Center Review & Giveaway!

    Win a new Complete Kitchen Center from Guidecraft (ARV $370)!


    What they say...
     This compact Kitchen Center features 5 major appliances in one attractive play island. Complete with stove, oven, microwave, sink, and dishwasher with removable plate rack. Ergonomically kid-friendly counter-top provides food prep and dish washing area. Features turning knobs, silk-screened controls, acrylic windows on appliance doors, write-on wipe-off board, and wooden shelves for loads of storage.


    What we think...
    This is a FANTASTIC play kitchen that will become an heirloom toy in your family! The materials are very high quality and I was impressed by not only the strength of the wood it's made with, but the beauty of it as you can see the grain patterns. Once assembled, everything sits snugly and is balanced so you don't need to worry about your child tipping it over. The benefits of a child having a play kitchen are so many as it helps develop social skills, problem solving, organizing, large and small motor skills, and even verbal communications if you facilitate it. Since the colors and style of this kitchen are clearly gender neutral, I think it's an excellent choice for any family!

    The only downside I found to this was that the directions were a bit tricky. It took me 2.5 hours to assemble this and I had to elicit the help of my carpenter husband to help me out. :-\ Granted, this was done very late at night and I was watching TV while I put it together, so you could probably get it down to 2 hours if you were snappy about it and didn't have to waste time figuring out how to do certain things.

    The directions are only picture ones, which is actually faster for me than deciphering written ones. HOWEVER. The directions fail to mention that you need a philips' head screw driver (not included) and also fail to mention how to use certain hardware pieces (and I don't know what these pieces are called, so you'll just have to take my word on it that I would have not ever figured it out unless my husband had already known how to use these things). The tricky part is Step 3. What you need to do is take the screw and screw the bottom part of it into the "holes" of the counter bottom using the phillips' head. Only screw in until the threads change thickness. Then you place the round thing-a-ma-jigs into the holes in the kitchen base's side and lay the countertop down on top. The screws will then end up sitting in the round thing-a-ma-jigs which you need to turn clockwise to lock down the counter top. I thought I had done this (after being told how to), but my husband's strength was needed to really get it locked down. Once everything was said and done though, the kitchen looked awesome and I am not at all worried about it going anywhere.

    We gave this to LoveBug for her second birthday (October 31!). It definitely passed the toddler-test. She kept saying "woah! WOAH!" while opening it (wide eyed and with a smile)...and then she couldn't wait any longer to play, so she ducked herself under the remaining wrapping paper so she could get to the fun. It's been a whole 28.5 hours now and she hasn't stopped playing with it except to sleep!


     
    Can it get any more fun than the Guidecraft Complete Kitchen Center?!


     Buy It! Give your child the gift of learning through play by snagging one of these kitchens at Guidecraft's website (www.Guidecraft.com) for $370 or at Amazon for $277.99 (best price I found while writing this post).

    Win It! *You MUST be publicly following this blog in order to win. Just click the "Follow (with Google Friend Connect)" button in the far right hand column near the top of this page. Problems? Send me an email and I'll help you out! lifemoresimply@yahoo.com.* Contest ends 12/1/10 at noon, EST.

    To win, leave me a comment below telling me one other toy you would LOVE to have from Guidecraft! Be sure to include your email address in EVERY entry and leave a separate comment for each entry as well.


    Additional entries (after the above is completed):
    1) Tell me WHY you want to win this.

    2) Subscribe to Life More Simply via email.

    3) "Like" our Facebook page.

    4) Follow us on Twitter (LifeMoreSimply).

    5) Blog about this contest ---3 entries!

    6) After you've "liked"/"friended" Life More Simply on Facebook, put this as your status: "I'm hoping to win the Complete Play Kitchen Center from Guidecraft for Christmas ($370!!!!) at http://tinyurl.com/WinGuidecraft ! @Life More Simply" (my name will come up in BLUE if you did it right). 1 entry/day.

    7) Tweet this message (up to two times a day for 1 entry each): "Win the Complete Kitchen Center from @Guidecraft and @LifeMoreSimply (ARV $370)! http://tinyurl.com/WinGuidecraft #play #toy #win #contest

    I'm hoping to win the Complete Play Kitchen Center from Guidecraft for Christmas ($370!!!!) at http://tinyurl.com/WinGuidecraft ! @Life More Simply

    9) Spread the word on a parenting forum, message board, or any other way and tell me how you did it with a link!

    10) Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper:  http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html

    *Note: Guidecraft supplied me with the product for review and giveaway. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are all mine.*