Category Archives: Reviews

With Eyes and Ears Everywhere, Dad is SuperDad

Thank you to Philips AVENT for supplying me Philips AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor to try out, all opinions of the product are my own.

With Father’s Day around the corner, I wanted to share what makes Seamus an awesome dad!

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From the moment Emmett was born, Seamus has been a hand’s on dad. He had never really had contact with an infant as small, delicate or young as Emmett and was slightly nervous when it came to holding him, changing and just overall baby care. But he took to it like a professional.

The very first diaper that Emmett needed changing, Seamus handled. It was the first diaper he had ever changed! I stood by, and gave gentle assistance from the background, but overall Seamus did amazingly. That was just the very first amazing thing that my husband, Emmett’s father, did.

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He was so encouraging while I nursed, because I seriously struggled to stick with it. I wanted to give up on Emmett’s second night, he was cluster feeding and all I wanted was rest. Seamus was so sweet and so gentle with his encouragement, and reminders that it wouldn’t be like this forever, and he was right. Emmett and I got the hang of it and made it through 6 exclusive months breastfeeding, and 14 months total, before E decided he was ready to give up the boob.

Seamus has always been willing to get up with Emmett in the middle of the night, to change a diaper, comfort or give a bottle of pumped breastmilk. However, sometimes when your baby cries, you just never know whether they are awake and crying or if they’re crying out in their sleep. The Philips AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor (affliate link) does an amazing job of allowing you to look in on your baby without barging into the room when it’s unnecessary. Not only does the Philips AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor have a color display, but it can also switch to night vision, so that you can see in the middle of the night. I’ve got to be honest, it’s A LOT of fun looking in and seeing Emmett and how he’s sleeping.

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Seamus is also always willing to show Emmett what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. For instance, if he’s putting something together or hanging up a picture, he will take the time to show Emmett. It is obvious how much Emmett is learning from this! Now, if Emmett sees a screwdriver laying around, he will grab it, find a screw and pretend he’s doing the work. It’s adorable and is showing us how much is brain is absorbing.

Whether Emmett is asking for a hug, or needs a good cuddle, Seamus is always giving the affection away freely. It’s obvious how much little E loves his daddy. I love walking in on them on the couch – Emmett curled under Seamus’ arm, squeezed in tight (this happens frequently). They are the loves of my life!

Thanks again to Philips AVENT for supplying my family with a video monitor to try out!

Your turn!

What makes your guy a great dad?

Have you, or do you plan to use a video monitor when you have a baby?

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If you want to start your Monday off on a generous foot and want to support cancer research, donate to my ride. I’m riding for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and their Ride for Roswell. Anything will help me reach my goal, and further advance cancer research. Just click HERE to donate.

Cycling, A Breakdown Of The Equipment You Need

Since I’ll be doing The Ride for Roswell in a few short weeks, I thought it would be great to share some tips on equipment you need in order to start cycling. This is a sponsored guest post.

In many countries, and increasingly here in the UK, cycling is a widely used mode of transportation. Carry on Cycling is an organisation of cycling enthusiasts, so this makes us happy. In Holland and Belgium, bicycles have been a part of everyday life for so long, that they are an extremely safe option, as well as healthy and efficient. Some countries rely very much on bicycles as their main form of transportation and it has become a staple in their culture.

The most commonly ridden bike is a road bike. These tend to have a shorter wheel base and are more upright than mountain bikes. Their shape makes them defter at speed, but the downside is they can be difficult to control at slower speeds. The design also means riders need to lean forward to the handle bars. It is recommended to get advice from a specialist bike shop before purchasing a bike, to make sure you get the right model for you and your cycling plans.

Additions to bikes

These days most road bikes have clip less pedals, which mean the rider can attach their specially designed shoes to the pedal to prevent slipping.

Child seats are a common addition to road bikes, meaning children can share the chassis with their parent or care giver and don’t need to pedal.

Front and rear lights are a wonderful safely precaution, alerting other road users to your position in the dark. Locks are now standard on all models to prevent theft. Bells or horns are an important tool in alerting other road users to your presence. Mud guards and fenders protect your bike from every day wear and tear. Water bottles are a must for longer haul rides. Baggage carriers or baskets mean the rider does not have to wear a back pack and lightens their own load.

What should I take with me on a bike ride?

It is wise to carry a basic maintenance kit when you go for a bike ride, in case you suffer a puncture. A pump is an integral part of these kits, as well as a puncture repair kit and an extra inner tube, in case yours needs to be replaced.

It is also a good idea to take waterproof clothing with you to use in the event of a change in weather; there is nothing worse than ending what had been a great ride sodden because you didn’t prepare properly.

All riders should wear appropriate protective clothing to prevent chaffing and saddle sores and to protect from soft tissue damage should you come off your bike.  A helmet is an absolute must here too. It will act as an impact absorber for your head should you have an accident. Glasses are great not just to shield your eyes from the sun, but to act as a barrier to all the grit that can be thrown up from the road.

It is also possible to individually customise your bike, adding whatever you feel you need to compliment your riding style and experience. To learn more about cycling visit Carry On Cycling.

Here is more ideas on equipping your bike.

Sarah Mcarthy is a writer for Carry on Cycling. You can find her on Google Plus here.

Review: Zito Movers

Since we moved recently I thought I’d share a quick review of the movers we used, especially since they were amazing!

For the past several years, any time I have moved, I’ve used movers. I just don’t want to put my friends or family through that, we have a lot of stuff, and so much of it is heavy. The last time we moved we used Herman Movers, but when we went to schedule our movers this time we read some of the reviews for them, and they were a little nerve wracking, so we decided to try someone new, Zito Movers. I am so so glad that we did some investigation, the reviews for Zito Movers were really great, which put my mind at ease and they charged a flat rate, which so many movers do not.

Right from the very first moment of working with Zito, I was impressed. When we decided to work with them, it was a Saturday, but I gave them a call anyway to see if they were open. They were closed, I left a message, an hour later I received a phone call from them. It was awesome! How often do you have a business that is closed still call!? We got the ball rolling, the owner (Lou) let me know what information he needed from me, and I got to work on that.

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All I needed to supply Lou was list of the large items I’d need moved, and an estimate on the amount of boxes we’d have. I gave him both, and let him know that we needed a morning move. Three days later I had my AFFORDABLE estimate, and we quickly booked them.

On the day of the move the movers were scheduled to arrive at 9 am. They arrived promptly, and without a single delay got to work. Joey, was the lead guy on our move and was personable, efficient and informative. As soon as he had the truck situated, he was back into the house taking inventory of our large items, while he was doing that the other two guys started moving boxes on out. They were so so skilled that we were done at our old house in 1.5 hrs. I couldn’t believe how quickly they worked!

Now, once we got to the new house, things slowed down a bit. It wasn’t their fault, though. We were moving onto the second floor and they ran into some trouble with our full-sized couch (I’ll get into that in a second). Here’s something else that impressed me, they beat us to the new house! When we moved with Herman, they would always take ages to get to the new location and you’d just sit there waiting for them to show up, it was so odd. Once they were all set, they got to work moving things in. Despite the two floors, they were still really quick! Our bed was in, and set up before I even realized it.

Then we got to our full-sized couch, it wouldn’t fit. :( They tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. They spent nearly 45 minutes trying everything to get that couch in, and they were fully skilled movers. They twisted, flipped and flopped and it just wouldn’t fit. Joey came in a few different times to stop and really think if there was a way to get it in. They even went out and brought it up the stairs a different way, and nothing worked. Our windows that can be removed aren’t wide enough to get a couch in, so we were stuck. I had no doubt that they had tried everything, though. I was disappointed, but not in Zito, they did EVERYTHING and I don’t blame them, I blame our low ceilings and bulkheads.

After that, they finished up with the boxes and then were done. Before they took off, they shared with us that they had TWO more moves that day. TWO MORE! I cannot imagine having to do moves like ours twice more, but two of the 3 guys told us they do it 6 days a week. That’s pretty impressive!

So, if you’re moving, I would absolutely, 100%, without hesitation, recommend Zito Movers to everyone!

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7 Tips for a Smart and Green Home

Thank you to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post (#DEsmarthome). As always, opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Today, I’m taking some time to share some ways that we’re planning on making our home a bit greener this Spring. My hope is to encourage you to make your home cleaner and greener.

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Smart Home = Greener Home

  1. Turn the Thermostat Down – Our number one way to make our home greener, is by turning the thermostat down, and when chilly, just throwing on a sweatshirt. Not only is this a way to save energy, but also a way to save us money. We’ve also programmed our thermostat to go decrease and increase in temperatures at specific times, so that it isn’t accidentally left up high, while we’re at work.
  2. Turn the Water Off – We have a bad habit of leaving the water on for longer periods than necessary. When we’re washing Emmett’s bottles, or giving him a bath, we leave the water running. We’re going to make an effort to be more mindful of when the water is running, and it doesn’t have to be.
  3. Recycle – I’ll be honest, Seamus and I aren’t always the best when it comes to recycling. We’ll toss out more than we recycle, and end up creating way more waste than we need to. I want to make sure that we are recycling everything that can be recycled, it’s good for the earth and it will teach Emmett that recycling is important.
  4. Use Energy Efficient Lighting – Upon moving into our new apartment we replaced all of our light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, which will save us money and will last 10 times longer.
  5. Low-Flow Plumbing Features – It just so happens that the toilets in our new place are low-flow, and we just replaced our shower head with a low-flow fixture. This way, we’re once again reducing the amount of water that we’re using on a daily basis.
  6. Purchase Energy Star Appliances – We recently bought a new washer and dryer, both of which are considered energy star. These appliances help us save water and energy by being Energy Star.
  7. Clean Greener – Finally, I plan on replacing all of our current cleaning products with items that are safe for the environment. I’m no neat freak, but I do like a clean kitchen. I’m now on the hunt for some greener products.

As mentioned earlier, this post is sponsored by Direct Energy – they want my readers to know about the Direct Energy Meridian Savings Plan. With this plan you get a competitively priced fixed energy charge, up to three Honeywell Smart Thermostats, plus a smartphone app that allows you to control your thermostat anytime, anywhere. The five-year dual fuel plan includes a fixed rate for electricity and a variable natural gas with a winter cap. This plan includes a Nest Learning Thermostat™ at no additional cost.

Stop on over and check out Direct Energy’s Facebook page and check out their five-year dual fuel plan.

Your turn!

What are your best tips for making a greener home?

What types of things have you done in the past that you are still benefiting from today, when it comes to a greener home?

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Book Review: A Story Unfinished

Beacon Hill Press supplied me with a copy of A Story Unfinished, all opinions are my own.

A Story Unfinished – 99 Days with Eliot

A Story Unfinished

Let me first start off by saying that I am not a religious person, when I was originally chosen to be a Beacon Hill Press Blogger, I did not realize that there was a religious aspect to the book. I volunteered to review the book, based simply on the beautiful snippet of the story that I had read. Upon further investigation, I realized that while I may not be able to review the book from a standpoint of faith, I could most certainly relate from being a parent, which is exactly what I did.

This a truly beautiful story, from the very moment that the story begins you are swept into the life that Matt and Ginny Mooney lived. They were young and willing to travel from place to play for a different job, or new opportunities. Life was exciting, despite not having loads of money or many friends, and then they found out they were pregnant.

As any new parents-to-be, they were shocked with the revelation, Matt even goes so far as to say “I remember checking the home pregnancy thing seven times.”  I loved that line! I remember, when my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, it was kind of a huge surprise, sure we were trying, but it happened much quicker than we had anticipated. Either way, Matt and Ginny were excited, and couldn’t wait to tell their friends.

At their 21 week ultra-sound, Matt and Ginny receive some news that makes them nervous, but after some additional tests, it looks as though things will be okay. Then at the 30 week ultra-sound it is sadly confirmed that their baby had Trisomy 18. Whether the baby would make it to term or not, was unknown. I remember feeling like Matt and Ginny. Being unbelievably excited to go to our ultra-sounds, and nervously (but excitedly) holding Seamus’ hands, waiting to hear whether our baby was healthy. There were several times throughout my pregnancy where Emmett decided to be a restful baby, and not move much. It was in each of those times that I feared his heart had stopped beating. So I understand the nerves, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told your child would be special needs, if it was born at all.

Matt and Ginny’s strength throughout the rest of their pregnancy, and then the birth of their son was amazing. They leaned on each other, found strength in friends and used their faith to be the source of peace and hope. Based on the title, or possibly reading the story on the news, you know that Eliot was born, and was a truly beautiful baby. The Mooney’s celebrated each and every day of his life, which is just such a beautiful thing. There is nothing so moving as the birth of your child, and you want to mark each day that passes with the joy that was felt at their birth. But these celebrations were especially important because it was a medical miracle that Eliot had been born and was now living at home with his parents.

Eliot lived 99 beautiful days. In those days, they leaned heavily on each other and their friends. They had long nights, long days, and even some scares, but through it all they made the most of it. Ensuring to do things as they would with a child without special needs. On Eliot’s 99th day, he passed away.

Despite their pain and sorrow, the Mooney’s made Eliot’s funeral an absolutely meaningful experience. They released 99 balloons, to signify the 99 days that Eliot was alive on this earth.


Matt and Ginny went on to have 2 more gorgeous children, and to adopt a sweet little girl from Ukraine, whom they found through the organization they created, 99 Balloons. It is obvious, and they also mention it, but they think of Eliot everyday, and the wonderful way in which he shaped their lives. Their lives continue to circle and change, but Eliot is forever a part of their lives.

So, did I like the book? Yes, very much. It is an absolutely moving account, one that I am glad I had the opportunity to read. Would I recommend it to friends? I already have! While I was still reading it, I let a couple different people read the back of the book, and it immediately sparked their interest. One individual even stated that they’d heard the story and had watched the YouTube videos. My hope is that even more people will take interest in this beautiful story, and buy Matt’s book.

If you’re interested in connecting with Matt and Ginny, you can read Matt’s Blog here, Ginny’s Blog here and Eliot’s Blog here.

Matt on Twitter and on Facebook.
Ginny on Twitter

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Beacon Hill Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Stocking Stuffers for the Toddler in Your Life

Who doesn’t love stocking stuffers?

Does anyone else just LOVE their stocking? I enjoy getting gifts, and opening them with family, but after all of the hoopla of those gifts is complete, you still have your stocking. My parents have always ensured that our stockings were full of lovely little trinkets to enjoy opening and using. It’s because of this, that I want to fill Emmett’s stocking up with loads of fun little stocking stuffers!

The top 10 greatest stocking stuffers for your toddler

Pacifiers! Not all babies love them, but Emmett does and I can think of no better stocking stuffer then several of these bad boys. Emmett’s favorite are the Philips Avent Classic Pacifier, he’s used the Philips Avent brand binkies since he was born and has not rejected them once. I love them because they have all sorts of fun designs, and they seem to come up with new ones quite frequently.

stocking-stuffersConsidering Emmett can lose a binkie like a cat loses cat toys, we’ll throw in several different containers of them.

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Fizzy Bath Colors – I know that not all kids love baths, but Emmett really does (other than getting his face washed), so I got him these Sesame Street Fizzy Bath Color Tablets. I thought it would add a fun little element to bath time!

Coloring Books and Crayons   Emmett is still in the “I like to eat crayons, not color” phase of toddler-hood, but he’s getting better at using them to just draw. I want that to flourish, so I plan on getting him a cute Elmo coloring book (since he loves Elmo), and a pack of chubby Crayola crayons.

Ornament – This may not seem like a great toddler gift now, but Seamus and I plan on getting Emmett an ornament every year. When he’s much older, my hope is that each one will mean something very special to him since Seamus and I will have chosen each one with care.

Musical Instruments – Not a real, grown-up sized one, but something child-sized and fun. I’m really liking this Harmonica, as an option.

Monster Hands Temporary Tattoos – These look like so much fun! E might be a little young for them right now, but in a couple of months, they’ll be perfect!

Sticker Book – Emmett loves animals of all kinds, so this Busy Kids Sticker Book Farm Animals, is right up his alley.

Finger Paint and Paper – I know they use paint at day care, but we have yet to use any of it at home. I really want to get Emmett some of these, so that we can start playing with them at home.

Alphabet Magnets – I loved having these around as a college student, so having them in our house now, to leave messages to Emmett or Seamus, will be so much fun.

Socks – Everyone always needs socks, and they’re a fun little thing to add to Emmett’s stocking. He may not enjoy them as much as I will, but that’s okay, I can be a wee bit selfish. 😉

Alright, that’s a peek into what we’ll be filling Emmett’s stocking with this year. I cannot wait to go through it with him!

Your turn!

What are some of your all time favorite stocking stuffers?

What stocking stuffers are you placing in your child’s stocking this year?

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Disclosure: Philips Avent supplied me with multiple versions of their Pacifier to review, however all opinions are 100% my own. I have loved Philips Avent products since before Emmett was born, you can read some of my other reviews here.

The Great {Free} Christmas Tree Giveaway

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A fantastic FREE Christmas Tree Giveaway!

Christmas, in my opinion, is one of the best times of year. The warmth of being surrounded by those that you love, the beautiful snow that falls peacefully to the ground around here in NY, and of course the beautiful glow of the lights on the grand tree in your living room. I just adore walking around the neighborhood this time of year, seeing all of the lights twinkling in windows and on the porches. Something about that just brings out the warmest and fuzziest feelings of all! I just LOVE Christmas!

It is because of that love of Christmas that I am super excited to tell you about this giveaway that king of christmas  has going on RIGHT NOW! King of Christmas has three fantastic prizes that they are being given away, the first is a 9 foot artificial christmas tree. You really need to stop on over and take a look at the tree, it is just beautiful! The second and third prizes are a $100 Apple gift card, and a $50 dollar Apple gift card, respectively. You can find the giveaway by clicking here, and since it’s a FREE giveaway it’s really easy to enter, scroll on down to the bottom of their page and enter using the Rafflecopter widget.

Alright, readers, head on over to king of christmas now and enter their Christmas tree giveaway, by clicking here.

Your turn!

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories from growing up?

**King of Christmas sponsored this post, but all opinions and statements are my own.**

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