Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jul 31, 2013

Smart tips to get your little one prepped for kindergarten

Tomorrow marks the first day of August and this means back-to-school month for many of us. Being a stay-at-home mom to a rising kindergarten student means getting my little one ready for a whole new world. Since William has never attended pre-school or been enrolled in any programs that are in a group setting, it will be a big adjustment phase for him (and me). It also dawned on me that there are plenty of things he is not used to besides being around other kids. I have been trying to remember the kindergarten days when the girls were in it. One thing that really stuck out to me was the use of hand sanitizer. Being at home most of the time, there has been no need for it. I purchased a bottle and have been teaching William why he will have to use it in school. Of course, I have had to be harder on him with potty practices. He still has never been into a public restroom on his own so I am still VERY a bit nervous about that one. 

Another important thing is his sleep schedule. We started putting him to bed at 8:00 each night and wake him up about 6:45. He had such a tough time getting up this morning so I think we will move his bedtime starting next week to 7:30. A lot of kids don't get enough sleep at night so we want to make sure to not interrupt his sleep schedule as much as we can, even on weekends. Once he wakes up in the morning, we go through the full morning routine of washing, brushing, breakfast and getting dressed. So far so good. 

I recall when the girls were in kindergarten, that they had lunch as early as 10:30 AM. What I do is prepare Will's lunch early in the morning between getting him fed and dressed. I pack his lunchbox as I would for school so he can get in the habit of opening it, eating/drinking and packing up in a short time. When they are that young it can take longer to get situated and they have a very limited time to eat. It's funny, I make him line up like they would at school and he calls me "teacher". It has been going very well and I feel confident that he will make it through lunchtime with ease.

Each morning I have specific practice worksheets, coloring pages and other things that are kindergarten-based to get his mind focused on academics. I even teach him how to raise his hand and not speak until I acknowledge him. It has been really good having his big sisters at home to help out with training him for school.  I have him enrolled in "kinderbee" camp from August 6-8 for him to be screened for placement as well as for him to get a chance to preview what big boy school is like.

He officially starts kindergarten on August 21st. William is so enthusiastic about school and we are all so excited for him.

I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry. I tell myself that each day :)
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Jul 30, 2013

My favorite tip when baking brownies

My family loves when I bake brownies and can't ever seem to wait for them to cool down before hacking into the pan! This usually leads to uneven pieces, lots of crumbs and a big mess. For many years I have baked my brownies (both homemade and from a box mix) in muffin pans. I just spray the pans lightly with non-stick spray and bake them for about 10 minutes less than I would in a traditional pan. The pop out of the pan easily and you have those perfect chewy edges all the way around!

I like to make these to stash in lunchboxes and they are great for taking to banquets, potluck gatherings or bakes sales. I have even topped them with a mini swirl of homemade cream cheese frosting and stuck a few M&M's in my daughter's school colors right in the center. They are always a big hit!

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Jul 29, 2013

WORX GT 2.0 Trimmer & Edger As Seen on TV | Does it really work?

Do you ever get caught up in infomercials and think, "I NEED that!"? That happened to my husband when he saw the WORX GT 2.0 rechargeable grass trimmer and edger. When he found out that our neighbors both next door and behind us got one and highly recommended it, we went out and purchased one. I was so skeptical because of how light weight it was. How can this thing that even I can easily use do the job? 
It took under 10 minutes to complete the assembly and we let the battery charge overnight before testing it out. The trimmer is very quiet, very different from traditional gas powered ones. I couldn't believe how quickly my husband blew through our edges and how amazingly clean and beautiful it looked! He trimmed all along our garden beds, shrubs and fence line with ease.

He says that it is a powerful tool and is ridiculously easy to use. He found a new toy and I am not mad about this one at all! It cost us about $120 and is worth the investment. The best part? It is battery operated and you never have to mess with the gas can with that oil and fuel mixture. We are so pleased with our purchase and plan to buy the newest Worx power tool that came out called the Jaw Saw. If you need a new grass trimmer/egder, we highly recommend this one! You can order it online or do like we did and buy it at your local Lowe's store.
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Jul 27, 2013

IHOP® Restaurants Introduces new sweet cream topped Belgian waffles for a limited time

WAFFLE LOVERS:  YOUR WORLD IS ABOUT TO GET A WHOLE LOT SWEETER! IHOP INTRODUCES NEW DELICIOUS SWEET CREAM TOPPED BELGIAN WAFFLES IN THREE VARIETIES: BERRIES & CREAM, CHERRIES & CREAM AND BANANAS & CREAM

The Latest Innovative Breakfast Treat Available for a Limited Time Only, Beginning July 22nd IHOP® Restaurants are giving waffles lovers—and all breakfast lovers—a reason to rejoice by introducing a new, scrumptiously sweet and creamy variation on the classic waffle:  the Sweet Cream Topped Waffle.

This new twist on one of IHOP Restaurant’s most popular breakfast items offers guests a delicious IHOP Belgian waffle, made to order to be crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside and topped with a slightly cooled silky vanilla cream and fruit.

“Waffles have always been an important part of the IHOP heritage and as we’ve done with our Brioche French Toast and Signature Pancakes this year, we’ve found a way to bring this beloved favorite to a completely different level,” said Natalia Franco, Senior Vice President, Marketing, International House of Pancakes, LLC. “We’ve given our guests three new tasty ways to indulge their craving for something sweet. The combination of our warm, crisp, thick waffle, our velvety cream and any one of our fruit toppings is a taste sensation you’ll have to try to believe! ”

IHOP Sweet Cream Waffles are available in three varieties:



·         New! Berries & Cream Belgian Waffle – A traditional thick and crispy Belgian waffle topped with vanilla cream, whole blueberries, sliced glazed strawberries and finished with powdered sugar.



·         New! Cherries & Cream Belgian Waffle - A traditional thick and crispy Belgian waffle topped with vanilla cream, sweet black cherries, drizzled with dark chocolate sauce and finished with powdered sugar.



·         New! Bananas & Cream Belgian Waffle - A traditional thick and crispy Belgian waffle topped with vanilla cream, sliced bananas, honey-roasted pecans and finished with powdered sugar.

IHOP’s Sweet Cream Topped Waffles will be available in restaurants for a limited time beginning July 22 through September 8, 2013. They can be ordered as a separate menu item, or as a half waffle with one of IHOP’s famous 2 egg any style made to order combo breakfasts, all served with hash browns:

·         Ultimate Bacon & Sausage Combo

·         Ham & Eggs Combo

·         Bacon & Eggs Combo

·         Sausage & Eggs Combo.

·         Regular Combo

·         Egg Combo.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES, LLC
For 55 years, International House of Pancakes, LLC has been a leader and expert in all things breakfast and a leader in family dining. The chain is highly competitive in its menu offering, serving 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options as well as a range of meals under 600 calories.  Beyond offering “everything you love about breakfast, SM” IHOP® restaurants have a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, as well. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of March 31, 2013, there were 1,589 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the licensed name IHOP at HOME® consumers can also enjoy a line of premium breakfast products available at leading retailers. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN). For more information or to find an IHOP restaurant near you, please visit www.IHOP.com. Follow IHOP on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jul 25, 2013

Sign the Toyota & Teen Vogue #ArriveInStyle pledge for safe driving and win prizes! #ad

***CLOSED***
This post was written as part of my association with Toyota for Arrive in Style. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.  The prize was provided and may be shipped by Toyota.  Toyota is not a sponsor, administrator, or connected in any other way with this giveaway

I have been working to help spread the word about a great initiative by Toyota and Teen Vogue, to promote safe driving for teens by taking the Arrive in Style pledge. I was Tweeting a couple days ago with many prizes to give away just for taking the pledge. I still have a lot of prizes left over and I would love to see them all in the hands of those moms and teenage daughters who make safety a priority. It takes about 2-3 minutes to complete and all you have to do is copy and paste the link when you reach the completion page. The other alternative is to share your pledge through Facebook. It is very easy to do and I sure hope you will take the pledge!

You can win one of the three prizes we have available:

A Two-Pack “Arrive in Style” safe driving promise rings (photo below)
An “Arrive in Style” beauty box or
A $50 AMEX gift card

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is take the pledge then copy & paste your completion link or Facebook share post in your comment. That's it! 9 winners will be chosen at random and contacted via email to claim prize.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will close on August 31, 2013. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Jul 23, 2013

My favorite new kitchen appliance, the Belgian waffle maker

This past Mother's Day, I received a wonderful present from my family. I had hinted around for some time that I wanted a Belgian waffle maker and finally got one. I have had the same traditional, round waffle maker for about 15 years now. It works just fine, but I prefer the taste and texture of a Belgian waffle. They bought me the Food Network brand from Kohl's. The name brand alone made me giddy! 
I couldn't wait to use it! I have quite a few recipes for Belgian waffles, but honestly I don't always want to dedicate the time to measuring a dozen or so ingredients. I use the Krusteaz Belgian waffle mix in the box (gasp!). I have mixed up this same waffle batter and cooked it in my traditional waffle maker, but they always come out too dense.
In my fancy new waffle maker, the waffles come out so good! They have the perfect texture inside while being a bit crisp on the outside. I have used my machine about 20 times since I got it and I have learned what to do and what NOT to do. If you look at the picture above, you will notice that my waffles don't all fill out to the edges. Welllll, after overfilling the cooking surfaces a few times too many, you will learn what happens! My waffle maker had a locking feature to ensure that the cooking plates come together properly to cook your waffle evenly and maintain the shape. I learned the hard way that by overfilling to get the edges filled all the way in results in the top popping. The noise it makes is SO scary! It sounds like a mini explosion!! 

I was watching an episode of Bobby Flay's show on Cooking Channel called "Brunch with Bobby" and he was making some coconut waffles. I noticed his were not perfect and the edges were not even. If Bobby Flay can have uneven, imperfect waffles, then it is okay for me too! 
My family enjoys their waffles with butter and syrup. My husband loves having chicken with his. For me, I like mine with butter and some fancy strawberry preserves. If you live near a Kroger store you must try out their high-end line of preserves called Private Selection. It is amazing! I make a hefty batch of waffles and put the leftovers in the refrigerator. They toast up perfectly the next day. 

I love my Belgian waffle maker so much and wanted to share my thoughts for those of you considering buying one. You won't be disappointed! 
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Jul 22, 2013

Sign the Toyota &Teen Vogue #ArriveInStyle Pledge & join me for a day full of giveaways! #ad

This post was written as part of my association with Toyota for Arrive in Style. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.  The prize was provided and may be shipped by Toyota.  Toyota is not a sponsor, administrator, or connected in any other way with this giveaway
Hi guys! You might remember a couple months ago, I posted about the Toyota and Teen Vogue "Arrive In Style" pledge. The pledge is a very simple way for moms and daughters to make a promise to make safety a priority when driving. Many girls and women have already taken the pledge and I would love for you to do the same!

Starting tomorrow, July 23, 2013 at 11:00 am EST until 8:00 PM, I will be tweeting about this initiative and would love for you to join me! By taking the pledge and posting your public link or a screenshot, you will have the chance to win one of 13 awesome prizes! We will be giving away:

(10) Two-Pack “Arrive in Style” safe driving promise rings (photo below)
(2) “Arrive in Style” beauty boxes
(1) $50 AMEX gift card

Taking the pledge is so easy! It has 4 steps in all and takes about 2-3 minutes to complete. Go to the Teen Vogue and Toyota Arrive in Style pledge page.

#1- Enter your date of birth and then accept all 4 sections of safety guidelines.
#2- Sign and enter your basic information to be eligible for the sweepstakes and photo contest.
#3- Next you can post a photo of you and your daughter "air driving" (see photo below for an example).
#4- Spread the word! Share your pledge on your Facebook page and make it a "public" update. Remember, if you do not make it public, we won't be able to verify that you took the pledge. If you don't care to post publicly on your Facebook page, just copy and paste the link on the completion page and leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me @momfiles. Easy, right?!

Here is an example of what your completed pledge will look like: https://www.facebook.com/natasha.taylor.7355/posts/473892042700150

If you want to go take the pledge now, you can leave your public link or a screenshot in the comments section to enter to win one of the 13 prizes. For a screenshot, you can Tweet me the screenshot image @momfiles and use the hashtag #arriveinstyle. You have until 8:00 PM EST on July 23, 2013 to enter either here on the blog, or on Twitter.

Winners will be selected randomly and will be contacted to provide mailing information to claim prize. You will have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost prizes. Good luck!
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Jul 20, 2013

I have the best summer hair with Pantene Ultimate 10 BB Creme #PanteneBBCreme

It's that time of year. The time when the weather is hot, sticky and the air is humid. We had at least 3 weeks straight of heavy rain and storms. This means one thing, unruly hair. Like most people, the humidity makes my hair misbehave. It becomes frizzy, crunchy and just crazy looking. I received a Klout Perk from Pantene and Walmart a couple weeks ago that included their latest product, Pantene Ultimate 10 BB Creme.

I have heard of BB creme for your face but never for hair. I was very interested in finding out how it actually worked. It is supposed to care for your hair and style it all in one step. You can apply it to wet or dry hair. I tried it on wet hair since I blow dry and heat style. Immediately I noticed my hair felt very soft. Normally when I blow dry my hair, I have to curl it after or it will look frizzy. With Pantene BB creme, I could totally get away with just a blow dry. That is how I know it worked well! Even when I wake up the next day, my hair would feel so smooth and healthy.

My daughter took this photo of my hair (it was curled) from the back to show you how shiny and controlled it looks using the product. Would you believe that with all that hair, I did not use a conditioner after shampooing? I only used the BB creme.
To see if this stuff works on different hair types, I had all 3 of my kids use it. The oldest used it in her natural curls and loves how soft, controlled and calm her curls are. My younger daughter used it in her already dry and flat ironed hair. You could see an actual difference in how her super thick hair looks. She tends to have big hair and this products helps her hair to lay a bit flatter and it looks and feels softer. My little boy has wavy hair and the BB creme gives just enough moisture to help control his waves. We all love it and can't wait to buy other products from the line. The BB Creme is just over $6! Not bad at all! You can find them at Walmart and Walmart.com/pantene.

I was not required to review this product but loved it so much, I just had to share!

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Jul 19, 2013

Sixteen30 Natural Skin & Body Care Review & Giveaway

I received some complimentary samples of Sixteen30 dry skin repair creams to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own as always
Despite the 3 weeks of rain we have been getting here in South Carolina, summer is in full swing. This means I am wearing more shorts, skirts and tank tops. I want my skin looking its best since more of it will be exposed. I tried out the Coconut Lime Dry Skin Repair from Sixteen30. The first thing I do with any product that I apply to my skin is to smell it. I was so pleased with how deliciously yummy the scent was. If  my eyes were closed, I would have sworn it was a key lime cookie or some sort of baked goods. Of course scent means nothing to me if the product does not come through with what it is intended for. Man oh man, was I amazed! I was not sure what the texture of the skin repair cream would be like. Turns out that it was very dense and emollient. This is what I look for when I need a deep moisturizing cream.

It applied very easily and had that subtle fragrance of coconut and lime. My skin looked like it was glowing! I couldn't believe how heavily moisturized it felt. The true test was what my skin would feel like the next day. My skin felt as if I had just applied moisturizer... amazing!! It even worked on my son's scaly skin. Normally we have to apply lotion or cream to his skin at least twice a day. That is not the case with Sixteen30 dry skin repair. Besides the effectiveness of product, it is great knowing they are made of all natural ingredients. I have tried many lotions and creams over the years and this one has exceeded my expectations! I highly recommend it for anyone who needs maximum moisture that will last. If you are interested in purchasing any of the Sixteen30 products for yourself, you can use this special code that will give you 10% any items (before shipping charges are applied) MOMFILES10. This code is good until August 2, 2013.

The owner at Sixteen30 has been so generous to offer a giveaway for one lucky Momfiles' reader to win. The prize includes a full-size Peppermint Foot Therapy Smoothing Foot Polish and a sample-size Peppermint Foot Therapy Cream. Perfect to soothe and protect your dry, achy feet!


Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on August 2, 2013. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

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Jul 17, 2013

Homemaking tip | Cook dinner early

I have been a homemaker for over 19 years now and I LOVE my job! I have met a lot of new wives and even new homemakers over the years and they ask me for advice on how I keep everything together. Aside from having my planning book, I do a lot of things at unusual times. I cook dinner (yes dinner) before 11:00 AM during the week. I know you are wondering why I do that. I find that when my husband is at work and the kids are at school, I get so much more done. By the time school lets out and my husband gets home, I am not trying to rush and exhaust myself by having to figure what to make for dinner at 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening.
By cooking my meal in the morning, I save myself the drama and can enjoy my family at dinnertime, stress-free. What I do is cook my meal and pack everything up in containers. I let it cool down for about 20 minutes and I place it all in the refrigerator until later. This also allows all of those good flavors to set in and the food tastes even better than it would if it came straight off the stove. I also don't have to worry about washing dishes, pots and pans at night. It really helps out a lot and I pack any leftovers up for my husband to take for lunch the next day.

Homemaking really comes down to time management. I like to get most of my "work" out of the way before my crew gets home. It gives me more time to focus on things they may need me to help with or just to have a more relaxed evening. A more relaxed mother and wife makes for a happier household!

If you have any homemaking tips you would like to share, I would love to hear them!
Shelly, Mom Files
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Could You Win Your Family Holiday This Year?

Times are tight for most families, with budgets being squeezed to pay ever increasing grocery, utilities and petrol bills. Add to that reductions in tax credits and child benefits for some and it’s easy to see why luxuries like a family holiday are having to fall by the wayside.

If you know you can’t afford to get away this year, why not try a different tactic and give winning your family holiday a go? What have you got to lose? Search online competition forums or keep your eyes peeled at the supermarket, when reading magazines or when watching the TV, and take every chance you get to win your family a great break.

For example, when you’re buying your loo roll this month, look out for special packs of Cushelle. Cushelle and Butlins have teamed up to give away three UK breaks, at the Bognor Regis Butlins resort. The lucky winners can check in two adults and two children to the brand new Wave Hotel, for a super exciting staycation at Butlins – for free!

If you have older children, between the ages of 8 and 14, the new Wave Hotel is ideal, as everything about it has been designed with hard to please teens and pre-teens in mind, including quirky submarine style rooms with the latest gadgets for tech savvy kids – including iPod docks, Freeview, and individual DVD players for each bed, saving on squabbles over what to watch!

The hotel is also the first Butlins hotel to boast a high-tech Games Port, where families can play interactive games together. In addition, there’s a kindle and iPod library for guests to use, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, so the kids can still check Facebook, tweet and chat to their friends back home.

To enter, all you have to do is get yourself a Cushelle barcode from special packs (everyone needs loo roll, right?) and fill out a simple form online, but don’t stop there! Keep seeking out summer holiday competitions – after all, the more you enter the more chance you have of winning your family holiday this year!

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Jul 14, 2013

A safe product for your home | CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

I received a container of CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes to test out in my home. I love to clean and although I use a variety of products, I am very particular about what I use to clean specific things around my home. One thing I take extra care with is my son's activity table... and by activity, I mean he uses it to color on, paint, eat, drink and everything in between. I am always so careful about washing it down a couple times a day and making sure it is rinsed and dried before I allow any food items on it.
The great thing about CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes is that they kill over 99.9% of germs, kills cold and flu viruses* and get this... there is no rinsing or wiping required even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys. This is good news for me since I am so nervous about using something harmful around my little guy's stuff. It has a thyme-based formula and deodorizes really well. Unlike other household wipes, you are not required to have to wash your hands after use. I have been using them to clean off his toys and it has made my life so much easier. 

I hope to find these wipes in a larger size so that I can always have them handy around the house. I would have loved to have these when we went on our recent beach trip. They would have given me great peace of mind. I look forward to trying out the spray cleaners too. You can find their products at Whole Foods, Amazon.com and Vine.com..

Stay connected with the CleanWell family of products on the web, Facebook and Twitter

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Jul 11, 2013

Getting prepared for kindergarten

I can't believe the time is closing in on us. William starts kindergarten next month and he is so excited. He does still have some days where he tells me he thinks he will just stay home with me forever and I tell him he has to be a big boy. To say that I have been emotional is an understatement! The whole family has been pitching in to help William get prepared for going to school. Daddy has been working on reading and memory and the girls help with coloring, writing and organization. Together, all of the little things are helping to build William into being more independent and well-prepared for school.
Since William still have some issues with eating certain foods that the average kid would eat, I invested in a hot food jar for his lunch. I ordered all Spider-man themed lunchbox stuff from Amazon . I also ordered a small sized back pack from L.L.Bean with his name embroidered. I received a lot of recommendations about the brand. I love that they never charge you for shipping and stand behind their products 100%.
When William tried his back pack on for the first time, we all thought we were going to cry! I have him pack small items and take it with us each time we go anywhere in the car. I figured since he has not had the need for one before now, he needs practice with it. The same goes with his lunch items. Each day I will pack his lunch and he will get the hang of using his lunchbox and food jar. All we can do is encourage him as much as possible. It will be a big transition for all of us!

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Pillsbury Pizza Crust Grillin' Tool Set & Visa GC Giveaway #MyBlogSpark

I received a gift pack and information from MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury. All opinions are 100% mine.

It is summertime and everyone is doing a lot of outdoor grilling. I know we have been grilling out at least 3-4 times a week. Did you ever think about grilling pizza? Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crusts are already the easy and delicious way to make homemade pizza. They are perfect for cooking on the grill!

The Pillsbury website has so many recipes that you can add your own personal touches to. Check out these great ideas:
Spicy grilled Thai pizza

Grilled sausage and pepper pizza
Pinterest contest:

Here’s an opportunity for you to win one of 5 grills from our Pillsbury Pizza Pinspiration Sweepstakes!*
Pin it to win it!

How to enter:
1. Create a Pillsbury Pizza Pinspiration Pinterest Board
2. Pin at least 3 pizza recipes from Pillsbury.com
3. Head to Pillsbury.com to register your board.

*Sweepstakes ends July 31 at 11:59pm

To get you all set for grilling your own pizza at home, one lucky Mom Files' reader will win a Pillsbury grilling gift pack that includes: A 19-piece grill set and a $10 gift card for ingredients (Retail Value: $50)
Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 24, 2013. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes and winner is responsible for applicable taxes. Good luck!
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Jul 7, 2013

A brand new look for Momfiles

I am so excited that after so many years, Momfiles finally got a fresh, new look! I really wanted something very simple with a tiny pop of color. I am so happy with it. A big thanks to Kreated by Kelsey for hooking me up with the new look. She's awesome!

So what do you all think of it? I still have some things to clean up so ignore the obvious broken bits.







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Fun in the Sun in Malta

When we think of Malta, we probably think of history and the St Georges Cross but there’s so much more to this beautiful country. Holidays in Malta can be fun, fascinating and exhilarating for all the family.

The most popular resorts are to the north of Malta, the three fantastic beaches are Mellieħa Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay, and each offer some fantastic water-sports as well as cafes and snack bars along the shores. Some smaller beaches can be discovered off the beaten track, many are rocky but are well worth visiting for a quieter dip or to discover little rock pools and secluded bays. A must visit is Camino’s Blue Lagoon which can be reached by boat, where azure blue waters and glistening sands can be found - this is a great spot for snorkeling and exploring hidden coves.

With its rich history dating back thousands of years, Malta has a wealth of historical landmarks to explore. The whole family will enjoy visiting museums and learning about the roman ruins and prehistoric temples. Colourful displays and re-enactments are often shown where you can travel back in time, seeing knights in costume come to life with their swords, muskets and canons. It's not to be missed!

Throughout the year Malta comes to life with its many cultural and music festivals. Festival Meditterania is a huge event held on Malta’s neighbouring island of Gozo, which can easily be reached by boat. The island comes to life dominated by music and dancing but also holding educational events, offering the chance to explore historic places on the island and celebrate the culture. Malta’s International Fireworks festival is a spectacular event and a breath-taking experience for the whole family. Held at the end of April, the event takes place over the harbour and commemorates Malta's accession into the European Union that took place on 1st May 2004.

Other popular festivals include the Malta Arts Festival and the Malta Jazz Festival. The fiesta season in Malta is made up of a long series of extended weekends, starting from the end of May right through the entire summer and well into September. During this period villages and towns celebrate the Patron Saints of their churches by feasting over weekends and partying Maltese style!

Families will love the wide range of activities and exhibitions which can be enjoyed, ranging from arts and crafts and museums to horse riding and rock climbing. There really is something for everyone on offer here.
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Jul 2, 2013

A must-have for any parent | How I stay organized

I have been a stay-at-home mom/homemaker for over 18 years. One of the most important parts of my job is organization. I have to keep up with all appointments, school events, activities, sports, bills and everything else in between. I have found the best way to keep it all together is with an organizer. I specifically use one that is made for students. The reason why is the layout goes according to the school week. My life revolves around the kids so my calendar needs to do the same. Student organizers are also a lot cheaper compared to the traditional ones you find in the office supply stores. Those can run you $20 or more!
I bought mine at Target last year right at the start of the school year for about $8. I found out that if you wait until about the second or third week after school starts, they go on clearance for 50% off and eventually 75% off. I love the size of this one because it is big enough to write everything in, but small enough to throw in my bag if I need to. My husband has one and so do the girls. We all can't live without it! Since the last month of the organizer is July, I have to make sure to get a new one soon. I have tried putting appointments and events in my iPhone but I more prefer the old-fashioned method of writing it down.

How do you stay organized?
Shelly, Mom Files
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