Over the past few years we have seen an explosion of handmade, amazing goods made by small local business owners. Etsy and Pinterest have no doubt helped to showcase some of this extreme creativity and I for one could spend countless hours pouring over all of the PRETTY things I wish I had the bank account to buy (or the talent to make).
2 years ago I “met” Tiffany who had launched her own small biz, Signs by Tiff. She sold hand painted wooden signs and growth charts. We were lucky enough to get to review a growth chart – which to this day is still proudly on display in Lily Bean’s room and keeps track of her ever-increasing height.
I have stayed in touch with Tiff over the years – mostly by stalking her Facebook page. She now offers handmade wreaths constructed out of burlap. These wreaths can be made for just about any occasion or holiday or simply be for the everyday decoration. It was so hard for me to narrow down my wreath choice – there were too many that I loved!
I finally went with a pink chevron/green ribbon combo and decided on a “W” monogram (though she can also make 3 letter monograms).
I was almost beside myself when the wreath arrived in the mail. The package was torn into immediately! I thought the wreath looked beautiful just sitting inside the box – so when it made its way up onto my wall, the sight was breathtaking!
She absolutely blows me away with her talent. Be sure to check out Signs by Tiff on Facebook – you can purchase directly from her page.
You can also shop her Etsy shop.
One (VERY) lucky Mama Cheaps reader is going to win their own CUSTOM burlap wreath. He or she can choose the ribbon color and monogram.
Enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Vizio. All opinions are 100% our own.
Do you ever feel like you aren’t getting what you should be out of various services you subscribe to? Perfect examples for me – Netflix and Amazon Prime. Lily and Bob use the Netflix streaming ALL of the time – on their iPad or iPod Touch usually. I never get a chance to watch anything Netflix because it’s not hooked up to our tv and that’s where I watch my shows and movies.
Amazon Prime is a service that I love when it comes to the free 2-day shipping and the Kindle Lending Library. But Prime also entitles members to access their online streaming content – over 150,000 tv shows and movies – many of which are free. But again, I’m not big on watching tv on my computer (uh, because I’m always posting deals from it!). If it’s not on a television screen, I’m probably not watching.
Enter a brand new piece of technology – the Co-Star Stream Player by Vizio. When I first learned about this streaming device, I had high hopes but remained a little skeptical. In order to use this player, you need to have Wi-Fi available in your home as well as an HDTV.
Right out of the box, you get the Co-Star unit itself as well as a remote control and instruction manual.
The Co-Star boasts many features that make this the “ultimate entertainment upgrade” for any high-definition television.
- Make any HDTV the Ultimate Smart TV**
- Combines TV and streaming entertainment
- Universal touchpad remote with keyboard
- Google TV – TV, Web, Games, Apps
- Web browser with Flash Player and HTML 5
- Search across live TV, the web, and apps
- Built-in Wifi for easy internet access
- Supports Full HD 1080p and 3D
We had to add an HDMI cable to connect the unit to our receiver. After plugging the Co-Star in and powering it up, the entertainment was pretty much instantaneous. It was ready to go right out of the box – nothing to install or set up.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to check out first!
The remote control itself is AMAZING. Not only does it have quick launch buttons for favorite apps (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc) but the front also features a TOUCHSCREEN mouse for easy navigation!
The front of the remote is cool enough – and then you turn it over. There you will find a full keyboard. This will come in handy when you decide to pull up a web page on your tv screen and want to type.
In the few weeks since the Co-Star has arrived at my house, I think I have watched more streaming tv than I have in the entire past year. It is so easy to use and the picture quality is really good.
Besides the usual Netflix movies and shows…
I have watched free movies and shows on Amazon Instant Video, which are part of my Amazon Prime membership that I never even used before!
One of my favorite finds was discovering the show “Hey Dude” which was a childhood FAVORITE for my sister and I. I haven’t seen this show in oh, 20-some years. It was such a blast to watch those old episodes!
I love that we can pull up a web browser or even YouTube on the Co-Star. That will come in handy when we’re entertaining over various holidays. My family always seems to pull up random funny videos on their phones – it will be great to watch them on the bigger screen.
With so many different apps, I feel like I have only cracked the surface with the Co-Star. I think the thing that has impressed me the most so far is just how EASY it is to use. It’s simple to set up and even easier to navigate. I didn’t feel like there was any real learning curve. If you know how to use a regular TV remote, you’ll be able to pick this one up and start using it immediately.
We had a spare ethernet cable laying around and just for fun I plugged the Co-Star directly into the internet router. WOW!! The picture quality was even better, everything seemed to load even quicker. So while it’s definitely not necessary, that’s something you can try too.
I had a feeling that I would like the Co-Star Stream Player by Vizio – but I didn’t know that I’d like it THIS much. I see many hours of happy viewing in my future – and I am looking forward to getting so much more out of my Amazon and Netflix subscriptions!
I’ve got a pony riding kid.
And a barn cleaning, house remodeling, handyman of a husband.
If there’s one thing this family does well, it’s dirty laundry. A LOT of laundry. Laundry is the bane of my existence. I hate putting it away, but even more than that, I HATE lugging it from the upstairs bedrooms down two flights of stairs to the dungeon-esque basement and then back up again. It’s annoying, tiring and most definitely a chore that I tend to put off as long as possible. (Which means until we run out of clean socks and/or underwear.)
Besides the mountain of laundry we accumulate, there is the dirt factor and the smell factor. To put it simply – I have never smelled anything worse than Biker Bob’s sweaty clothes. There are few things that make me feel truly sick – his dirty, sweaty laundry is one of them. Many times I will throw his work clothes into the washer only to pull them out at the end of the cycle and discover that they STILL reek. That’s just disgusting!
So when I had the chance to try brand new Wisk Deep Clean PowerBlasts, I all but screamed, “YES.”
These tiny, water-soluble, highly concentrated detergent packs promise to clean beyond visible stains, attacking body oils and sweat. You can throw one PowerBlast into your washer (2 for large or heavily soiled loads) and use them in any kind of washing machine (HE, non-HE, front load, top load). They dissolve completely in ANY temperature water and there’s nothing to measure (or in my case, spill). Throw them in and go.
So what happened after washing a particularly nasty smelling load of laundry with PowerBlasts? Incredibly, the odors were gone. The laundry truly appeared to be quite clean. Me = happy.
The end of this story is that I was so impressed with the simplicity and cleaning ability of the Wisk PowerBlasts, I did about 6 loads of wash in 2 days. That’s probably a personal best. Does that mean that I folded and put away 6 loads of laundry? Well now, that’s just asking for a miracle.
Wisk wants to give one lucky Mama Cheaps reader THREE (3) packs of Wisk Deep Clean PowerBlasts to knock the dirty out of their laundry.
Enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.
I don’t know about your house.
But in my house, there is a new gal on the block.
Lily Bean (huge fan of all things Disney Junior) is literally obsessed with the newest princess, Sofia. Lily sings the songs, plays “Sofia” with her friends and every time the show comes on tv we hear excited 4 year old SHRIEKING all throughout the house.
Sofia the First is a story about a young girl (Sofia) whose mom marries the King and how she struggles to fit into the role of a princess. She moves into the castle with her mom and meets her new step-siblings, James and Amber. Currently a series on Disney Junior, this show first piloted as a movie, Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess. This almost-hour long movie premiered last year shortly before Thanksgiving and introduced viewers to Sofia. Also making special appearances in the movie are the three fairies from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and (AND!) Cinderdella herself even shows up to give Sofia some princess pointers.
As a parent who needs to be borderline bribed to sit and watch most cartoons, I have to say, I love this movie. It’s sweet and has a positive message.
Let’s not forget about the all-star lineup of celebrity voices! In this movie you will hear Ariel Winter (ABC TV’s “Modern Family”) as Sofia, Sara Ramirez (ABC TVs “Grey’s Anatomy”) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (TV’s “Let’s Make A Deal”) as Clover and Tim Gunn (TV’s “Project Runway”) as Baileywick.
Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess is now available online and in stores nationwide for purchase on DVD! The DVD includes “A Princess In Training Activity Kit” with Stickers & Tiaras.
I have two clips to share with you – the first is one of Lily’s favorite parts of the movie, featuring Cinderella. The second is one of my favorite scenes where Baileywick (voiced by Tim Gunn) gives Sofia a tour of her princess suite.
Freebies for the kids - download these free Sofia the First printable activities for the kids to enjoy.
And a GIVEAWAY!
One lucky Mama Cheaps reader will win their very own copy of Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess on DVD.
Enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Big thanks to our friend, Sara, for checking out the show and writing about her family’s experience!
I had the pleasure of attending the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ new show, “Built to Amaze” with my husband and two children, Parker (7 yrs. old), and Gracie (3 yrs. old). There is nothing like a circus to make you feel like a kid again! I don’t know who was more excited to go, my kids or me!
Ringling Bros.’ new show has a construction theme intermingled throughout, which totally appealed to my son. The show opens with this theme complete with stilt walkers, clowns, high-flying acrobats and majestic elephants. As soon as my animal-loving daughter saw the elephants, she was hooked! Then came the dancing horses, disappearing bunnies and ferrets. Yes, you read that correctly. Ferrets. And, it had to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time. You’ll just have to go and see what I mean!
If you ask my son what his favorite part was, he’ll tell you that it was the unicycle basketball team. The King Charles Troupe was amazing with their agility and skill with the unicycles! Very cool. My daughter’s favorite part was the dancing poodles. It’s amazing what those dogs could do! They had us all in stitches! My favorite? The tigers. I’m not talking about a couple of tigers with a trainer doing tricks. I’m talking about 18 huge tigers in a ring with their trainer right in the middle. It had me on the edge of my seat. A-MAZE-ING.
There were tightrope walkers, a human cannonball, cheerleaders, trampoline gymnasts, a man and woman who walked on the ceiling and even a “Wheel of Steel” double-sided spinning wheel. All of the acts were thrilling to watch and there was never a dull moment. From the shrieks of laughter to the thrills and the chills, everything was wonderful and awe-inspiring. The memories made during this trip to the circus will definitely last a lifetime!
We were provided with complimentary tickets to the show in order to facilitate the review. All opinions are 100% our own.
There is probably one phrase that I say more than any other: “I do not have enough time in the day to accomplish what I need/want to do.” Never.
That being said, I am always on the lookout for tools (whether they be online or offline) that can help me simplify my life, reduce the clutter and yes: save time. I will be the first to admit: my current method of paying my bills is a sort of wacky system that I created on my own. My “system” consists of a notebook where I keep track of which bills I need to pay every Friday and how much I need to pay. When Friday arrives, I hop online to my bank’s website and log into my online banking account. I pay all of our bills electronically through the bank.
That’s all fine and good – but there are many times that I have wished for due date reminders, etc.
Manilla is a secure, FREE website where you can link ALL of your memberships/bills/utilities in one place. This includes: bills (cable, electric, wireless, trash, credit cards, etc), rewards programs (hotels, rental cars, etc), and more. You can schedule and make payments, set reminders and take advantage of their free organizational tools.
How cool is that?
So simple, FREE and a real time saver.
Did you hear that?
That was the sound of the Disney Vault getting ready to break open again! This time it’s to release a treasured classic – the one that gave us our first look at TinkerBell, Peter’s dear friend. Peter Pan is celebrating its 60th anniversary and has been digitally restored with high definition audio and sound.
Lily was SO excited to sit down and watch this movie with me when our review copy came. She is very familiar with Peter, Tink and even Captain Hook thanks to a couple of trips to Disney World, as well as one of her favorite Disney Junior shows, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. But she has never seen the original movie – the one that began the whole adventure for so many Disney Fans.
We both enjoyed the movie. I can’t remember the last time that I have watched it – at least 20 years ago! The story is fast paced and full of fun and adventure. The picture looked great on our blu-ray player!
Releasing for purchase next week on 2/5 is Peter Pan Diamond Edition. This Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy & Storybook App) is filled with high-flying bonus features including the groundbreaking feature Disney Intermission, Growing up with Nine Old Men short film, never-before-seen Deleted Scenes and a never-before-heard Deleted Song and more!
Here are a few fun clips from Peter Pan:
Look for Peter Pan Diamond Edition at stores nationwide, as well as online, beginning 2/5/13.
We were provided with a review copy of the movie described above in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% our own.
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