Monday, November 21, 2016

Little House On The Prairie And Giveaway!

** We received one of these dolls in return for our honest review. All opinions are my own. **



Little House On The Prairie was my very favorite childhood book series. I read each book several times over and would sneak them under my pillow so I could read them at night when I was supposed to be in bed. I would imagine how much fun it would be to be alive back then and do all of the things that Laura did. Especially wearing those cute boots and dresses! One thing I never had was a Laura Ingalls doll. Thanks to The Queen's Treasures, they exist now and they are just as adorable as I imagined!


I've been debating whether or not this doll would go into my own collection or would my youngest daughter be successful in her many attempts in trying to take Laura for her very own. She's also a Little House On The Prairie fan and has her own books but, this is something I have been hoping for for so long! (Of course, I figure she will end up winning. They always do.) But, for now, she plays with her quite a bit. Usually when they are reading some of Laura's own books!



Plus, the Laura Ingalls doll has a few things in common with her other 18" dolls. They can wear each other's clothing and even hang out at a tea party or just sit on her bed. We have been checking out all of the clothing and other products that The Queen's Treasure offers on their website and we are planning a day to visit the store. (We aren't so far away so we're thinking maybe after winter!)


The doll is very well made, as you can see. A lot of detail went into this as well as excellent craftsmanship! She comes with this cute patchwork quilt, her eyelet ruffle front nightgown and cap, a pillow and her little ragdoll. The box itself can easily be converted into a bed! Her eyes close when she lies down and open when she wakes up! This is definitely the type of doll that could and should be handed down and will indeed last for a very long time. I would have to say that the quality is nothing short than exceptional. We have 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters and I've had dolls myself, so, I have seen some on both ends of the spectrum. I would place this doll and all of the tiny details from the hair, to the nightie, to the ragdoll, and the beautiful patchwork quilt, in a 5 star rating. (I'd even add a few +++++'s there too!) 

The Queen's Treasures is very generously offering this giveaway which is perfect for the holiday season! I would be ecstatic to own a collection like the winner will be receiving! 
The prizes include: 

  • One Laura Ingalls Doll by The Queen’s Treasures. Retail value $99.99 
     
  • One Little House Wagon, one Little House Pony, and one Little House Pony w/Saddle by The Queen’s Treasures. Retail value $279.97 
     
  • Jack the Brindle Bull Dog and Shaker Boxes, Cooking Set, Dishes Set, and Kitchen Tool Set. Retail value $195.95 
     
  • Doll Clothing and Accessories by The Queen’s Treasures including: Child’s Apron & Cap, Prairie Dress Set, Little House Night Gown, and Little House Quilt & Basket. Retail value $89.96 
     
  • One Complete Collection DVD Set of the original Little House on the Prairie television series. Retail Value $120 
     
  • One DVD of the Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilderdocumentary. Retail Value $19.95

You can enter directly at this link! 

This is also a great website for anything and everything, Laura Ingalls! You can find many different references, Laura's story, recipes, and much more. If you are a Laura Ingalls fan, you will adore this website! (Your little ones will too!)

You can also find a great deal of doll furniture, clothing, this Laura Ingalls doll, and much more, at The Queen's Treasures! (You can also find this doll at Target!) The 18" doll sells for a suggested retail price of $99.99. If you are looking for a full line of accessories,  you can find them here!  If you scroll to the bottom of the website, you will find a place to enter your email for their list. Be sure to do this because you will be included in secret sales and elite pricing! (It is certainly worth your while!) 

You can also find the Queen's Treasures on Twitter!



and on Pinterest!





Thursday, November 10, 2016

Save Your Sanity While Holiday Shopping

Easing Holiday Stress

With the holiday season approaching, you’re probably already wondering how you’re going to incorporate holiday activities into your overloaded schedule. There are several things you can do to ease holiday stress. Holidays should be a fun time, not a time of feeling overloaded with obligations and activities.

Plan ahead meals

You already know that the closer it gets to a holiday, the harder it gets to find time to prepare meals for the family. Cooking extra food prior to the holidays and freezing it can ease dinner time stress. Popping a homemade frozen meal in the oven or microwave is quick, easy and stress-free and guilt-free. Doing some pre-holiday baking and freezing cakes, pies and other desserts will certainly ease some of the stress related to entertaining.

Set limits

Although it may be difficult, setting limits is a key to keeping your sanity and not depleting your energy. Make choices as to what events you and your family will attend. Accept invitations according to what comfortably fits into your schedule. It seems that the call for volunteers increases considerably around the holidays. Agree to volunteer but stay within the limit of what you can easily handle.

Shopping

One ideal way to reduce holiday stress is to shop ahead. Online shopping gives you the advantage of shopping anytime that’s convenient for you. If you have families to shop for that include a mix of adults and children, holiday gift baskets are a great gift idea. One large basket can be given for the entire family to enjoy. Baskets are available for kids, teenagers, adult, pets and those who love their pets. Placing holiday orders early will take that task off of your holiday “to-do” list.

Organization

Organization is always a great time-saver. Lists, such as a shopping list, a chore list and various other lists can be one of your most valuable organizational tools during the holidays. Storage boxes give you a place to pack up home d├ęcor items in order to make room for holiday decorations. Label boxes as you pack them so that unpacking will not be a stressful experience. 

Stay focused

As much as is reasonably possible, try to stay focused on one project at a time. Multi-tasking isn’t always a time-saver. Methodical steps toward the completion of a task are usually more efficient and effective. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Our Daughter Is Back Home


I know that it's common for your heart to break when one of your children (or grandchildren) are hurting. It hurts far more then if it was done to you and it gets really hard to deal with once your little ones are grown up and you have to try your best to stay out of it. Sure, you can wish for karma to hit this jerk or you could imagine that you meet him in a dark alley one night and you can call your mom or sister or best friend and vent for a few hours or a few days. But, when you can't actually get involved and tell this person or his family what you think, it does start to eat at you.

Me? I do all of the above and write in my journal. Ever since I was a little girl, I was able to get any feelings, bad or good, out on paper. If something "ruined my entire life" that day, I wrote about it in my journals and I felt pretty good afterwards. I used to write in my composition books and notebooks and as I got a little older, my mom started buying me journals from the local bookstore/card shop. I wrote several times a day and kept them under my bed. Sometimes under my pillow, depending on when I was writing. But, it didn't matter what was going on in my life, even as a teenager who had some very "interesting" adventures, I was able to cope with a lot as long as I had pen and paper.

Our oldest daughter broke the news to us a couple of months ago and it has been extremely hard to not punch her "husband" in the face. (and well, a lot more that I wish I could do but, I don't need to be arrested!) Especially after finding his online accounts which were very unfortunately found by me. I wish so much I could send these to his parents. But, I will not get in the middle of this. At least not yet. In the meantime, our daughter and our 2 granddaughters have moved back in with us. Luckily, our house used to be an old inn with a barroom downstairs that was turned into a 2 bedroom apartment prior to us buying it. So, there is room for them but the move has been stressful.

I can't lie. I am absolutely THRILLED to have all of my children under the same roof again. My granddaughters too? Yes please! But, not under these circumstances. We treat her apartment as her own apartment and she comes and goes as she pleases and goes to work every single day and as much as I wish her 2 little angels could stay upstairs with us while she's away, they have a dad and another set of grandparents who also love them very much. It has been a hard past couple of months filled with many, many tests and I am on the border of not passing them all. Why? Because as much as we are just trying to help her out, offer advice, be there for her and the girls, help to make sure they have a good starting point where she can save and get on her feet and start brand new, there will always be a part of me who would be just oh so relieved to use the information I have to destroy his life.

In the meantime, life here is "normal". Something always seems to pop up when you least expect it and more times than not, 2 more things will pop up shortly after. I swear I am always more worried and afraid when things seem to go smoothly. But, without these hurdles, we wouldn't learn and life would be rather boring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hyland's Halloween Costume Contest (3 Winners!)

** I received products in return for my post and sharing this contest thanks to Hyland's. **



Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! The hot, humid weather is over and all of the leaves start changing color and you can usually find some good movies on TV during Halloween. My little ones love it too. It seems to take so long to decide what they want to dress up as and with school parties, our Halloween party, and a few other local events, they sometimes have a couple of costumes to cover everything. 

We like to have a kid friendly party each year where kids can dress up or not. (Our youngest is still a little scared of some costumes!) There are a few other kids who prefer to stay inside on trick or treat night. Some younger and of course, the older ones too. So, we try to get the word out and have a variety of healthy foods and drinks and make up some treat bags for our guests. I feel it's a good idea to have a safe place for kids to go during trick or treat hours and even after for the trick or treaters. It's also a great way to fill their pumpkins with healthy treats, toothbrushes, little toothpaste, floss, or whatever else you can think of! 

Do you want to win a Hyland's prize pack and a $100 Visa gift card? There are 3 winners so be sure to enter and share with your friends. 

Three winners will win a prize pack which includes the products in the picture above and the $100 Visa gift card. You are already taking pictures of your little cuties all dressed up, so, why not share one with Hyland's and use the hashtag #HylandsHalloweenCostumeContest? 

** Please keep in mind that you must be the legal guardian of the child in your photo. ** You can read more about the official rules on the giveaway link. 

Have a safe and happy (and healthy) Halloween and good luck! 


Friday, October 7, 2016

Has There Ever Been A Successful Blog Transfer?


I have a blog, well 2, on Wordpress. So, a few times over the years I thought, well, maybe I should throw my Blogger blog over on the Wordpress platform so they're all in one place. (I have to tell you, I am not a big fan of Wordpress. I love Blogger. But, this could be due to the fact that I am not so up to par with the tech side of everything.) I'm used to Blogger and want to keep my design. Even if it is about 6 years old.

Every once in awhile though, I receive an email from a fellow blogger who is having a promo or some sort of deal on blog transfers. If the price is right, I'll reply and ask a few questions, send over my password, agree to a date, and then wait. I've done this twice and both times ended up being one of the hardest and most stressful things I ever had to deal with. (Involving blogs I mean.) After this last attempt at a blog transfer, I think I will stay put. I like my Wordpress blogs and hope to be able to fill them in with content ASAP! But, I also like my Blogger blogs right where they are. (and I have been up for countless hours trying to republish everything that became unpublished and rewriting things that disappeared.)

I understand that sometimes content is lost during a transfer. At least this is what I'm told. I don't know if this is true or not or if it's just to save the person who will be doing the transfer. This happened to me both times. The other peculiar thing that totally threw me over the edge was that even after knowing the URL and the blog name, (Busymommylist), neither person transferred the proper blog! They transferred another blog that I have on Blogger. (Yes, I went crazy a few times and purchased a few domains that I liked and just started a blog to keep the name.) By then, it was to late. I was informed that I won't be able to have it transferred back and have this blog transferred unless I pay another fee! Um, no thanks!

The first time this happened, I had a couple of years of redirecting issues and no matter how many times I would call, Godaddy, it was never fixed. This was messing up my page rank, tracking, analytics, and naturally, a lot of opportunities I could have had if all of the above wouldn't have been a problem. One day, I called with hopes of reaching somebody who would understand my troubles and could either point me in the right direction or with any luck, fix it for me. The person who answered the phone was more than helpful and knew exactly what I meant when I started to explain and he fixed it on his end while I was still blabbing about how this has affected me and VOILA! He said, "No worries! I found the issue and it's all fixed. Give it a few hours and everything should start to fall in line." We had a conversation about burgers and other food suitable for tailgating (He was reading a few posts where I reviewed a few products and some recipes I shared.) and that was that! So, I was reluctant a couple of months ago to try this again and now I wish I had went with my gut and just let things the way they were.

Instead, I thought I was helping another blogger and giving her business and if she says my design and content will be fine and she seemed well versed in the whole redirect concerns I had, everything would be good to go. The problems I had the first time around with the URL and whatever these redirect issues were, are no longer there. Instead, I lost several hundred posts. Most of which I have been finding are still here. Just unpublished for some reason. The rest? They are gone. Forever. Until I redo them all and start filling in some holes.

I know it's not the end of the world but I really don't have the time or the patience or the stress levels necessary for such a small "disaster". I find it odd that both times things went wrong, I would go on to email and be very kind and thoughtful and careful not to sound angry or upset. Every single email would be ignored. Never even a tip or a name of somebody who could help me, nothing. and to think that I still receive emails from the one on a regular basis. No matter how many times I would unsubscribe or leave a comment on one of her posts asking for help with my situation. Does she even read her emails or comments??

I Tweeted a few times about this and somebody replied and told me that there is a "transfer" option on Blogger. Maybe the next time I will attempt this on my own. Or maybe I will just stay here. Since I'm comfortable here and I kind of like it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Super Wubble Ball Review AND A Giveaway!

** We received a free product and payment in return for our honest review and promoting this giveaway and the Super Wubble Ball. All opinions are my own. **


I'm sure you had to have seen a commercial or an ad online for a Wubble Ball in the past few years. My kids ask for them a LOT and they have had a few so far. Of course sometimes they pop and sometimes they last for a bit and provide fun for parties, sleepovers, or just a week outside with an enormous, inflated ball that provides hours of giggles. It's so lovely to find a toy that offers so much fun without needing a charger or a screen!


Now, I probably wouldn't say that this is ok for little ones to do but, this is my 13 year old and I couldn't stop cracking up at this so I had to take a pic. The Super Wubble Ball is totally fun for all ages. I'm 42 and had a hard time sharing it after I found how much fun it was to dribble and kick around the house! 


My youngest had a blast, playing drums and giggling so much he was literally falling on the floor! 

So, I mentioned that sometimes Wubble Balls might pop. This is usually when they are thrown towards or on something that might, well, pop the ball. It isn't going to last forever but you will find that there is a lifetime replacement guarantee on select Wubble Balls, including the new Super Wubble Ball! You can find more on their website and it requires just the cost of shipping, ($6.99) and the valve from the Wubble Ball you need replaced. I haven't used this guarantee just yet but, I do have one to send in and will update on the process in the near future! 

We have had the Super Wubble, inflated and deflated, several times throughout the past week and it has definitely been played with! It is still 100% intact! This is the longest and hardest that we have had one last however, the 2 we lost were due to being popped on something which wasn't necessarily the Wubble Ball's fault. The Super Wubble Ball is much sturdier and has proven itself at our house already! 


We put our Super Wubble Ball through some strenuous tests and so far, it has passed, 100%. It has been kicked, hit, smashed, jumped on, jumped in, squeezed, pinched, flung, kicked some more, used as a chair, a bed, a pillow, bounced off the wall, bounced off each other, and used as drums and it still inflates nicely! I do expect it to have a hole at some point, only because you aren't going to have as much fun with it if you are always worried about it popping! (and you're REALLY going to want to play with this until your heart is content! Or uh, your kids will want to... I'm not necessarily worried about it if it does get a snag or a small hole because they include a patch kit which will cover small to medium sized holes or even just a snag in the top layer. After that, I will simply send it back to be replaced! 


This is our 13 year old again, using the Super Wubble as a bean bag "ish" chair. He claims it is really comfy and that he could sleep on it but, I don't know! 



He was trying his best to get as much weight on it as possible and even tried to put his weight on a small section, just to test the strength. It still didn't pop or even scratch the surface! 




This is our youngest and even he couldn't pinch and squeeze it enough to harm it! So, after a week and after our tests, I think it's fair to say that they really outdid themselves with the Super Wubble Ball! Wubble Ball did make the Super Wubble from their very own top secret, "Xpandium" which is 4 times stronger and more tear resistant then the original Wubble Ball. 

Here are some tips that my kids and I put together:

You will need 4 AA batteries for the pump that is included with your Super Wubble, We tried other Wubble pumps but those didn't fit. Which is fine because you have a new one in the box! 

You won't receive a tape measure in the box like other ones, so, either use a different tape measure or one from a previous box. You want to be sure to blow this one up to it's recommended size. 

Common sense is needed to help make sure you don't have to say goodbye to your Wubble Ball! It's probably not a great idea to play with puppies, dogs, even cats! It's also probably not a great idea to play and bounce it towards the stove while something is cooking. Use common sense, provide an open space, and either join in with playtime or get a few things done while the kids are entertained. 

Don't forget, there is a lifetime replacement guarantee and a patch kit! Use those first before throwing yours away and being down. 

Don't forget to enter down below for a chance to win your own Super Wubble Ball! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 9, 2016

Moms Meet Wow Summit 2016

One of the best things about being a blogger is the community. I am always excited to attend conferences and meet fellow bloggers, successful bloggers, hear the speakers, take lots and LOTS of notes, and learn as much as possible from every person I meet. Of course, there are always a lot of perks to conferences and summits but, it's such a great experience to be able to sit down and meet so many people who are all striving for the same thing you are.

I have been a Moms Meet Blogger for quite some time now but, before this, I was (and I still am), a Mom Ambassador. If you're not familiar with Moms Meet or Mom Ambassadors, you should check them out and sign up if you fit either or both of these categories.

If you have some friends in your community, maybe you meet other parents while participating in soccer, baseball, your school's PTA (PTO), Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts troops, or even just at your local park, you could organize a "Mom Group". (Our group's name is actually, "Not Just 4 Moms".) The sky is the limit for what your group could do. For instance, you could help create events in your community, host fundraisers for your community or take on a project such as, cleaning the park, holding swap meets, or just to have a meeting once or twice a month so you can unwind and chat with other moms who know what it's like and have some snacks. (Or adult beverages!) Maybe your group will want to trade coupons, talk about new products on the market, give each other advice on what to use for different issues. Maybe your child has sensitive skin, or maybe you have a gluten allergy. Where do you go? Do you have any friends who deal with your same concerns?

Moms Meet comes into play for our mom groups/parenting groups, by offering "samplings". Brands like to get the word out about their products and they want people to buy them. Naturally! So, Moms Meet will send you emails with different samplings that are available and you could decide to apply or decline the application for your group. If you're chosen, the brand/sponsor will send you a box filled with whatever goodies they are trying to get the word out about, sometimes some fab prizes for you to giveaway during your meeting, coupons, samples, and full size products to use during your meeting. I have seen an ENORMOUS variety of products over the years. For instance, Mom Ambassadors recently sampled brands such as; Ragu, Dr Bronners, Ohso Chocolate, Nail Med products, Mrs Thinsters Cookie Chips, I mean, the list just keeps going and going.

The brands and products that you will have the opportunity to sample and share are great for people who focus on green living, organic, vitamins, probiotics, all the good stuff! Of course, you will be asked to take a few photos, fill out surveys, make a few social media posts, so the brands and Moms Meet can get your group's feedback on what you sampled. Don't have a mom's group and don't want to start one? There are opportunities for bloggers as well! You can apply for this in the same place you would a Mom Ambassador!

So, so far so good, eh? I know, it's like the best partnership to make when you are a blogger or in charge of a mom group! Yes, there is more!! A few years ago, Wow Summit came to life!! This is one of my most very favorite blogger and mom conferences I have ever been to! (Yes, you can join and attend whether you are a blogger or not!) You don't even have to be in a mom group or in charge of one! This is geared towards MOMS.

Every year, usually right at the end of summer/beginning of fall, Mom's Meet holds a 2 day summit called, Wow Summit. (As my mom always says, "Mom is wow, upside down!") This year this will be taking place in the DC area on October 7-8.

What do we do at Wow Summit? Well, basically everything fun! We have workshops for bloggers, workshops for moms, speaker sessions, a cocktail party the night before, meetings, a hall filled with sponsors galore! The sponsors will be there for both days to discuss what they have that I am certain you will be very interested in! You can try samples of their new products, grab some coupons, some of them even offer goody bags, and best of all, you get to talk with their reps and they really want to know what you are looking for and what you would like to buy and try! If you're a blogger, this is an excellent time to exchange some business cards!

Oh, there are also goody bags! Or swag bags, whatever you like to call these bags that are filled with samples, coupons, brochures, products, and swag, just for you to try. (If you receive goodies from sponsors, don't forget to thank them on social media, maybe give a shout out or 2 to the ones you really fell in love with, maybe share a picture, a blog post, and of course, talk with your friends and group about what you tried!) I have been to 2 Wow Summits and I have to say, the goody bags are phenomenal! I didn't make it last year due to transportation and the West Coast thing. (I'm over here in PA so, I kind of didn't get to make plans in time for California!) But, I can tell you that we left with far more than we arrived with in prior years!

I don't know about you but, I am more apt to purchase and do business with a brand who took their time to talk with me and sponsor such an awesome event like, Wow Summit. I know those brands are sincere and truly want to know my opinions and ideas and my business and that is who gets my business first. We have way to many sponsors to list here, so, I'm just going to link the list for you to check out here.

If you follow me on social media, you have probably already seen me running all over, tagging our sponsors and thanking them and talking them up because, most of them are brands we already use and love at our house. Like, National Geographic, Dr Bronners, Mrs Thinsters Cookie Chips, Solgar, Nordic Naturals, Go Organically, and Biokleen. (If you check out the list above on the link, Mom's Meet made a very thorough list with all of their social media buttons to make it easy on you!)

Ok, so, now how do you sign up and register?

You just grab a pass here! (I'll have a discount code for you down below too!)

Want to check out some of my favorite parts of Wow Summit 14? It was in Orlando, Florida, so, we took the whole family with for a 10 day vacation!!


One of my all time favorites! Sweet leaf Stevia! They had so many samples and we were able to sample their Sweet Drops and grab recipe cards while we were walking around, checking out all of the sponsors. We order Water Drops regularly. (If you want your kids or even your husband or yourself to drink more water but it's just so plain, you must rush over to their website and have a blast choosing flavors that I promise, will make every glass of water taste like a rainbow!


One of the neatest tables of them all! Kiwi! You probably know them by their magazine! If you don't, you have to check them out. They publish one of the best mom mags there is and every issue is chock full of tips, advice, information, recipes, lunch and snack ideas... I save the copies I have for future reference. 


This is the neatest flower I think I ever saw. A very sweet, older gentleman was selling these for donations on the street and I just couldn't help it. We "purchased" several of them and I still have them and they are still in perfect condition. 


Some more goodies we received at Wow Summit! Primal Pit Paste, Produce For Kids, and Nordic Naturals are just some of my favorite companies. All 3 are very active on social media and always available to answer questions and concerns! (That is one of my biggest "things". I will drop everything and run to the brands who spend their time getting to know their customers and fans!

This was one of the bags I received filled with samples and products!! 


I love both Mrs Thinsters Cookie Chips and Dippin Chips! They had the coolest reps at Wow Summit and gave us a full bag of each in our goody bags! 


We stayed at a campground in Kissimmee which was just a few minutes away from Wow Summit, This car show which happened every single night while we were there, was one of the highlights of our vacation! This was just one of my most favorites!

Are you still here?
Well, thanks for reading my memories and checking out some of my favorite parts of 2014! But, you kind of have to hurry to get on over to Moms Meet to register for this year's Wow Summit!! You won't be disappointed!!