No, it’s not Christmas in July. But it is time for me to start working on this year’s Holiday Gift Guide. I want to make sure my readers have plenty of time to plan their shopping lists and maybe even help them add to their own wish list.
Spots in the Gift Guide will fill up fast, so if you would like your brand/product to be considered for inclusion, email me as soon as possible.
Holiday Gift Guide Details
As of right now, I plan to have 4 main categories for the Gift Guide – Babies & Kids, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Home & Kitchen (includes food items).
Full feature review within 2 weeks of receiving product ($25 minimum), including pricing and where to buy.
Social media shares across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube (if applicable).
Links back to the brand’s website and social media accounts.
Inclusion in the gift guide, which will be published no later than early to mid-November (this will be a new blog post that includes a photo and link back to the full feature review).
Additional social media shares of the gift guide, so it’s double exposure.
Optional: Host a giveaway in which the brand will ship the prize directly to the winner. Making Time’s giveaway policy for sponsors can be found here.
Optional: Offer readers an exclusive savings code.
Optional: Should $75+ in product be provided, the brand will receive a 300×300 side banner ad for 30 days.
If you would like a sponsored spot in the Gift Guide without providing product, there will be a $50 charge (paid via PayPal). If you’d like more info on this option, please email me and I will provide additional details.
I’ve only posted on the blog once this week, and it’s because I’ve been laying low and spending a lot of time with family. You’ll see in this week’s photos it has been a week of busy park going and there are no plans of slowing down anytime soon. But that’s what the summer’s for right? Fun in the sun!
Did you miss a previous week? Check them out here!
~Thank you to Ecocentric Mom for providing product for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own. This post also contains affiliate links, in which I will receive a small commission for your purchase.~
To all of my fellow Ecocentric Mom lovers (or future lovers), there’s a fun new feature on the website that I just know you are going to enjoy – Build Your Own Bundle! Today I’m going to give you the low down on how Build Your Own Bundle works and share with you my first one.
First off, if you’re not familiar with Ecocentric Mom, it is hands down THE best eco-friendly subscription box around. At least that’s how I feel about it. With nothing but all-natural, organic, non-toxic products for mom, baby, and your family/home in general, there’s no better way to try new products. And if you get something in your box that you can’t live without, chances are it can be purchased individually at Ecocentric Mom too.
Let’s get into the new Build Your Own Bundle feature! It never fails, no matter type of subscription box you have, there will always be times you get something in the box that either you can’t use, or just isn’t something you want to use. Ecocentric Mom has eliminated that problem with the Build Your Own Bundle feature.
You choose every item that comes in the box, so when it arrives on your doorstep and you open it up, there are no surprises. On the flip side, I understand surprises are sometimes fun, but what’s not fun is spending money on products you won’t use.
So, how do the Build Your Own Bundle boxes work? It’s super easy! You go to the desired Build Your Own Bundle box and from drop-down menus choose the products you want. I recently created a Build Your Own Clean Lifestyle Bundle and got to choose full size products from each of these categories:
Health & Wellness
In each category you have at least five products to choose from and sometimes more. Every month new items are added, so you don’t have to worry about lack of variety to choose from. This time around, for my clean lifestyle bundle, I chose:
Marine Granules Exfoliator by Previse
Lip Locked Stain by Mana Kadar Beauty (I have one of these from a previous Ecocentric Mom box and LOVE it! It’s my everyday go-to color, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, so having a backup doesn’t hurt.)
Simply Organic Sunblock by Z Skin Cosmetics
Snack Happens Reusable Snack and Everything Bag by Itzy Ritzy
When my box arrived, which was just like three days after placing my order, that’s exactly what was in my box. I even had a little added bonus snack bar by MadeGood. It was delicious, by the way.
Oh, and did I mention the amazing savings you’re getting? The Build Your Own Clean Lifestyle Bundle is $29.99, but you’re getting full size products that can retail upwards of $100. That is some awesome savings!
So what do you think? Doesn’t get much easier, right? No wasting money on unwanted products. And no wondering what’s going to come in this month’s box. It’s a win-win!
*This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. I also received a sample free of charge. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~This post is sponsored by FoamCorePrint.com. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
When it comes to home decor, I love to display family photos throughout my home. We have photos up in just about every room. From traditional picture frames and photos, to canvas prints, and now we’ve added a few Gator Board Prints.
I was recently looking for something to add some love to my kids room. I’ve been trying to make their room more lively lately, so when looking for prints to display I thought it would be perfect to get some Gator Board Prints of the two of them.
I call it the Sibling Love Series and I’ve placed them in a small and awkward space of their room, the wall area just outside their closet. It was white and boring, but with the addition of their new Gator Board Prints, that space is now adorned with their sibling love.
Gator Board is a type of foam board that offers a more sturdy solution to traditional foam board printing. Just to give you an idea, traditional foam board can easily bend, dent, and is generally a lot more fragile. So you could say Gator Board is the tough, protective big brother to it’s baby sister, foam board.
Gator Board comes with an all black border and back, which I love because it gives a shadow type of effect, and it’s super lightweight. So if you ever find yourself moving to a new place, Gator Board Prints definitely won’t weigh down a moving box like traditional picture frames will.
You could say one of the downsides of Gator Board is that there’s nothing on the back to hang it with, but personally I actually prefer this. The back of the print is completely flat and this allows me to use the double sided sticky Command strips to stick them to the wall. You get that floating effect and there’s no damage done to either the Gator Board or the wall.
It’s perfect for us since we currently rent, but even if you own your home, the less damage you do, the better, right? I mean, what if you decide to change things up one day and move your prints to a different room, or a different place in the same room? I would hate to be left with a nail or hole in the wall.
Printing on foam board is THE most affordable way I’ve found to display my favorite photos and images, while keeping the quality of the photo. And my favorite place to order them from is FoamCorePrint.com.
Price depends on the size you want, but Gator Board Prints from FoamCorePrint.com start at just $0.15 per piece! If you’re looking to do a nice small collage, or even grow a display into something large and eye catching, it really doesn’t get more affordable.
As for my Sibling Love Series, I love the idea of over the years adding more brother/sister photos to the display. I’ll continue with the same size and maybe once a year go through all of my photos and choose three more to add to it. And when the kids are older, it will be fun to have this Sibling Love Series of Gator Board Prints to look back on.
What is your favorite thing about Gator Board Prints?
One lucky Making Time reader will win 3, 8×8 Gator Board Prints from FoamCorePrint.com! GOOD LUCK!
This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on July 19, 2017 at 11:59 pm est. Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.
*This post is sponsored by FoamCorePrint.com. As always, my opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to State Fair Meadowlands for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
Last night my family got the chance to enjoy State Fair Meadowlands at MetLife Stadium, and everyone had tons of fun. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend visiting at night because the lights are gorgeous and the weather is just right for all the fair fun you’re going to have.
My kids didn’t know where we were going, but as soon as we got close enough to see the lit up rides and ferris wheels, it was nothing but ooh’s and aah’s in the car. Then the excitement went up a notch when they learned that’s where we were going. Yay!
A single admission to State Fair Meadowlands will get you access to all kinds of fair food and treats – burgers, turkey legs, corn on the cob, slushies, hot dogs, chicken on a stick, cotton candy, pizza, ice cream, and the list goes on and on. If you’re on a diet, better make sure it’s cheat day because the food is so hard to resist.
And if it’s not the food you’re after, there’s plenty of excitement with all of the different rides. Every ride requires tickets, but if you get an Unlimited Ride Pass (hand stamp) you can ride anything and everything your heart desires.
We gave our son an Unlimited Ride Pass and at first I was bummed because we couldn’t find any rides that he was tall enough for. Just as I had given up, we entered some kind of Kiddie Land where he could ride everything and that’s exactly what he wanted to do.
And what would a fair be without some games? State Fair Meadowlands features so many different game stations, I can’t even count them. I’m talking ring tosses, dunk tanks, basketball hoops, bottle breaking, balloon popping, water squirting, gun shooting, you name it.
I saw so many people walking around with prizes. As we were walking in, there was a group coming out carrying a bear literally as big as I am. I couldn’t even see the person who was carrying it, haha! That prize needed its own seat in the car.
If the food, rides and games aren’t enough for a fun filled night, there are free shows too. The shows vary from day to day, but you can find out each day’s schedule here. There are pig races, a hypnotist, musicians, comedians, high divers, an open-air thrill show, a petting zoo and more. And they’re all free as a part of your admission!
My favorite part of our visit to State Fair Meadowlands was the fireworks. To celebrate the 4th of July holiday, they did a fireworks display last night and are doing it again tonight. These are top notch fireworks. Not those cheap, bought on the corner fireworks.
Just as my son was about to start on a ride, the street lights went dim and the booms lit up the sky. It was loud, but it was beautiful to watch. I’m definitely glad we decided to go on a night the fireworks show was happening.
I can’t wait until next time and we might even go back before it ends on July 9th! For more information on shows, tickets, parking, and pricing, visit –> State Fair Meadowlands.
*Thank you to State Fair Meadowlands for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
I’m kind of at a breaking point with this topic and need to clear the air. I can’t leave the house without someone mentioning how cute my girls are. My kids are my world and I love them dearly, and I want the world to love them too, for who they are.
I enjoy all of the compliments because my kids ARE cute. But what bothers me is that many people think or automatically assume that my oldest, the one with the long curly hair, is a girl simply because of the long hair.
He is not a girl. Yes, he has long, beautiful, curly hair. But he is a boy. I do not have two daughters. I have a son and a daughter.
I try not to let this bother me and I know I’ll still have to deal with it for years to come, but when I say this happens every time we leave the house, I’m not exaggerating. I could literally record myself saying, “He’s not a girl. This is my son,” and have it ready to play at any moment.
And it’s not everyone who compliments him, that assumes he’s a girl. Some people can see he’s a boy and ask questions like if we’ve ever cut his hair. Or they’ll ask how old he is, wondering how long his hair’s been growing. And sometimes I’ll even get asked about tips for managing it because other people are dealing with the same type and texture of hair with their own children, and it is not easy to manage.
But for those of you who think my son is actually my daughter, please just take a moment before you comment. If you take a closer look you’ll see that he is dressed like a boy and he looks like a boy. If you’re not sure, you can still compliment without being gender specific. Instead of using “daughter” or “her,” use “child.”
“I love your child’s hair,” is the perfect compliment. And when I respond, I’ll likely say “his” or “he,” and that’s your clue that he is in fact a boy.
If you DON’T take that moment before commenting, don’t get upset when I correct you, because I WILL correct you. No, I’m not interested in your unwanted advice. No, I’m not going to cut his hair so he will look like a boy. And if that’s your response, I promise, you will get more than you bargained for. He already looks like a boy. A boy with long, beautiful, curly hair. The cutest boy you’ll ever see (my opinion is definitely biased, but you get my point).
The child with the long curly hair, that’s my son.
So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and if you’re now wondering –
When my son was smaller and his hair started getting out of control, I said it was time to cut it. But Daddy had other plans, so here we are five and a half years later and our son has never had his hair cut (unless you count the time he had a horrible tangle that I just couldn’t brush out so I snipped it).
My son’s hair has become a part of him. I have no idea what he would look like without it, but I imagine I wouldn’t even recognize him. The curls, the length, the way it frames his face, the way it looks in a pony tail or a bun, the wild frizz and tangles we deal with daily, it’s part of who he is. And I’m pretty sure if we were to cut it, he wouldn’t know how to react either.
Maybe he’ll grow up and keep his long locks. Maybe he’ll decide enough is enough, and cut it. Maybe he’ll even donate it. Whatever he chooses, it’s one thing we’re giving him the freedom of choosing on his own.
*Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.
~Thank you to Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
Last week I decided we’d do family time a little differently. How differently, you ask? Well, we took family time, back in time. All the way back to Medieval times. We spent an afternoon at Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle, enjoying two hours of medieval entertainment, an era-fitting dinner, and of course each other’s company.
If you’ve never been to Medieval Times, I highly recommend it. First off, there are multiple castles you can visit throughout the US. The Lyndhurst Castle is in NJ, but there are also castles in FL, GA, CA, TX, SC, MD, IL and even Ontario.
So let me tell (and show) you why you should make time for a visit.
I am sharing my experience at the Lyndhurst Castle and do not know exactly what the other castles feature, but if not the same, I’m sure you’ll get the same Medieval era experience.
As soon as you walk into the castle you’re greeted just the way you would have been greeted in Medieval times. Everyone I came across greeted me and responded with “my lady.” I’ll admit it was a little weird, but from the get-go everything is time period appropriate, giving you the full experience.
And even before entering the dining and entertainment arena, the lobby is jam packed with amazing detail. It’s hard to choose where to start scanning the room and where to end. There’s a Royal Armory where you can view the different types and designs of shields, swords and everything else knights fought with.
Don’t forget to look up. It was hard to get into one picture (the head is missing), but there is a large feathered friend crest right in the center, surrounded by adorning kingdom flags. It was huge and so breathtaking. When this is what you get in the lobby, you know the kingdom arena is going to be epic.
Along with the beautiful Medieval decor, there are gift shop areas, a bar to grab an alcoholic beverage or slushie, and different photo opp setups too.
Rep Your City
There are six cities that make up the kingdom and when it’s time to enter the arena, you’re directed to your city’s seating area. Each city is lit with its home colors and since we were representing the Green Knight from the City of Leon (lee-own) we were seated in the green area. We knew which city and knight to represent because upon entering the castle we were each given a crown with the color of our knight. Go Green Knight!
The real fun starts with the entertainment. Right away it’s easy to notice the intricate detail, colors and material of the costumes. From the armor, to the cloaks, right down to the squires and horses, everything is spot on.
You get a glance into different knightly tournament games, the best of which is the jousting. It’s so fun to watch that you forget it’s not real and you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next. My son got so into it that he was standing out of his seat, swinging and thrusting his light up sword we bought him, trying to imitate the knights. I can’t tell you how many times I almost got hit with his sword.
One of the great features of Medieval Times is all of the audience engagement opportunities. Obviously, you cheer for your knight, but there are also times the knight turns to interact with the people of his city.
There were three or four times the knights would kiss and throw fresh carnations to a few ladies of their city and at one point each knight deems one special lady the Queen of the Tournament.
Can you guess who won that title for the City of Leon? She wouldn’t take a photo with her sash on.
And for the knight who wins the tournament, he gets the chance to crown someone from his city as Queen of something, known for her beauty. I can’t remember exactly what the title was, but our Green Knight won (Go Green Knight!) and crowned an unexpecting little girl in our area.
The food. Let me tell ya’ll about the food. It was so good and very nicely portioned. We started with tomato soup and garlic bread. Then moved on to the main course, which consisted of baked chicken (each person got a leg, wing and breast), corn on the cob, and half of a potato. Then for dessert we enjoyed a slice of lemon cake.
I have nothing but nice things to say about the meal. The taste of everything exceeded my expectations. I’m the kind of person who wants some kind of sauce with my chicken and my potato loaded down with the works, but it was all seasoned so well that it wasn’t needed. And the lemon cake was melt in your mouth moist.
But notice anything missing from these photos?
There’s no silverware! Why? Because in Medieval times there was no silverware. The only utensils you had at your disposal were the two attached to your arms – your hands. So we sipped our tomato soup, and ate our main course and dessert with our hands. It’s all part of the Medieval Times experience.
Which leads me to the overall experience. From the time you walk into the castle, to the time you walk out, it is truly a Medieval experience. The language, decor, costumes, entertainment, food, everything. It’s all so real and tons of fun.
My son gets very scared in large crowds and when things are different, so I wasn’t sure how he’d react to this. I mean, Medieval Times is like nothing he’s ever seen before. At first he was his usual unsure self, and started crying and tried burying his head into us. He didn’t want to talk to the actors for photo opps or anything.
So we bought him a light up sword and he calmed down a little bit, but as soon as the show started he was all about it. He has asked to go back to the castle literally every day since we went. I know this is one family night he’ll never forget.
And Medieval Times isn’t just great for family time, but you can go just to have a night away from home or to celebrate anything. There were people celebrating high school graduation, a couple celebrating their recent marriage, and many groups celebrating birthdays. Speaking of, you can celebrate your birthday for free by signing up here!
*Thank you to Medieval Times Lyndhurst Castle for hosting the Making Time family. As always, opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.