Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tips to Stay Warm, Stay Comfortable and Stay Safe in Your Home All Winter Long

Although we've had a few days here and there with surprisingly mild temperatures, there is no denying that winter is here and it's time to bundle up and stay indoors (unless you're one of those crazy outdoor types that actually wants to go out when it's this cold).

When snow stretches as far as I can see, the windchill is below 0°, and the outdoors basically looks like this...

winter home

...then all I want to do is burrow down under a quilt or get cozy with a book in front of the fireplace.

So, to help ensure a wonderful and cozy winter season, licensed contractor and TV home-improvement expert David Leon from Home Made Simple on the Oprah Winfrey Network has provided the following tips to help make your home as comfy as possible this season:
    David Leon
  • Heating system and air filters – Have your heating system serviced every year and check the filters system every month. Also, inspect your system's exhaust vent for rust, damage, or any corrosion.
  • Seal the leaks – Check to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed so heat doesn't escape. Inspect caulking and weather stripping around openings for wear and tear, and replace if necessary.
  • Plumbing – Busted water pipes can cause expensive damage. Take time now to wrap outside pipes that might be exposed to extreme temperatures. Review the locations for the main water and fuel shut-off valves with all members of your household.
  • Have a plan – When you own a home, you know that things are going to break down – but when it happens, do you know who you’ll call or what you’ll do? A home warranty is a great way to protect your budget against costly repairs, and save yourself the time and hassle of finding a qualified professional to get major systems and appliances up and running again.
broken pipes

This winter, homeowners should also be aware of important warning signs and potential heating system hazards to protect their homes from any accidents. In 2011, faulty and improperly used heating equipment accounted for nearly 400 deaths nationwide, more than 53,000 fires and $893 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

To help prevent heating system hazards, be aware of the following critical signs when you're indoors this winter:
  • Always be aware of gas odors. If you smell gas around your heating unit, leave the area and call your gas company immediately.
  •  Be sure your pilot light is burning a steady blue flame. If it is not, call your heating professional or a gas company.
  • Take a close look at your exhaust fan for any rust, damage or deterioration. If you notice any, call a qualified professional and describe what you see to determine whether a repair is needed.
Along with these warning signs, American Home Shield, the nation’s leading provider of home protection plans, reminds homeowners to use extra care when operating space heaters. For instance, they should be plugged directly into a wall outlet, never into an extension cord, and turned off at night. When in use, always be sure space heaters are a safe distance from curtains and other flammable items.

This winter, don't take any chances! Take the time to watch the helpful videos covering a variety of home maintenance tips and home heating warning signs that are hosted by David Leon and published on American Home Shield's YouTube channel. Plus, visit their informational Home Matters blog, which serves as a great resource to help homeowners balance their busy lives with tips and news on everything home.

What do you do to stay warm while staying safe during winter?

This post is part of a compensated partnership opportunity with American Home Shield, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Importance of Kidde's Holiday Recipe for Fire Safety {Kitchen Fire Extinguisher Giveaway}

With the holiday season here, the most important thing is that we show our gratitude, love and devotion to our families while simultaneously doing good deeds, helping others and displaying goodwill towards our fellow man.

Right?

It's okay to admit it. You're also excited that this is the season of FOOD!
 
Whether it's the turkey, potatoes, casseroles, cookies, rolls, vegetables, ham, stuffing, eggnog or pies, pies, pies, I don't know too many people that are unhappy about all of the cooking, baking and eating that comes along with the holidays.

But... did you know that cooking is the number one cause of home fires and injuries, and that the winter months are the deadliest season for home fires? Don't put your house or family in danger, it's time to focus on the importance of fire safety with Kidde!

Kidde logo

As the world's largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Kidde is on a mission to provide solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards each and every day.

This season, Kidde is working tirelessly to stress the importance of fire and carbon monoxide safety for the holidays – in the kitchen as well as throughout home. The sad truth is that most fatal home fires happen in homes with no smoke alarm or no working alarm.

Even worse? A recent Kidde survey revealed some pretty startling statistics, including that nearly five times as many Americans know the shelf life of a Twinkie than know the recommended operating life of a smoke alarm.

People, this is NOT ok.

Kidde Twinkie survey

It's time to change things! With so much cooking going on this month, there is no excuse to skimp on safety.

First, be sure that your home is fully equipped. Kidde designs and develops smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, escape ladders and more in order to best protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards. There is just no reason to be without any of the products that were specifically designed to increase your family's chances of staying safe!

I love Kidde's line of Worry-Free Smoke Alarms, which offer a variety of benefits to the millions of Americans who rely on continuous battery-powered smoke and fire detection in their homes. The new alarms are powered by sealed-in, long-life lithium batteries for 10 years (the life of the alarm).

Even better, they also offer a Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm, the first and only UL-listed CO alarm proven to provide up to 10 years of protection – up to twice the lifespan of other available alarms. This CO alarm also contains a sealed-in lithium battery that powers the alarm for a decade, so it is a snap to eliminate any annoying low-battery chirps while helping to keep your loved ones safe.

kidde safety products

Second, don't let another day go by without printing out the following Kidde Recipe for Safety so that you can have it handy in the event that you need it for reference. These are definitely tips that all of us need to know!

Kidde #RecipeforSafety Card

But while you're hopefully already turning pot handles to the back, not putting metal in the microwave, and are keeping flammable items away from the stove, do you have a kitchen fire extinguisher handy in case of a grease fire? Or if a small, self-contained fire occurs?

The simple act of having one handy just might make the difference between a small situation that can be efficiently handled and a large, drastic, life-changing event.

kitchen cabinet fire extinguisher

This holiday season (and beyond) give yourself the gift of peace of mind knowing that you have protected your family and your home as best as possible. For 90 years, industry leaders, the military, airlines, and firefighters have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire protection and the same advanced technology can be found in all of their consumer products. Make your home and family safe today!

Find out much more about all of the ways that Kidde can help you follow a "Recipe for Safety" every day of the year by visiting them at Kidde.com and by connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will start off the new year safely as well, because...

One lucky person will win a kitchen fire extinguisher from Kidde!

kitchen fire extinguisher


A big thank you to Kidde for providing compensation and a kitchen fire extinguisher for me as well as a kitchen fire extinguisher for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Peace of Mind with FiLIP 2, the Wearable Phone and Smart Locator for Kids! {Promo code}

FiLIP logo
I like to consider myself a fairly laid-back parent and truly do try to say yes to my children's requests and ideas as much as possible.

You want to wear that completely clashing outfit? Go for it. You want to have a serious discussion about how you're going to be a rock star when you grow up? Sure, let's chat, I support you. You want to play with Play-doh all over the house so that little bits of it end up ground into the floor? Whoa, slow down there. I said I was laid-back, not completely crazy.

However, when it comes to my girls' safety, my personality is quite the opposite. With all of the scary things that happen in today's day and age, is it any wonder that I find myself short of breath nearly any time they're out of my sight? But I don't want them to grow up too sheltered so that they don't learn how to be independent... isn't there a way to find the spot evenly between complete protection and reliable self-confidence?

Right now it is available in the form of the innovative, intuitive and super cool FiLIP 2!

FiLIP 2 phone watch

A next-generation wearable phone, smart locator and watch for kids ages 4 to 11, the FiLIP 2 was designed to keep families in touch quickly and easily. Parents are able to call, text and locate their child right from their mobile device, allowing children to safely and independently explore, play and grow while staying connected to Mom and Dad.

Can this be any more awesome? This modern, stylish device provides parents with peace of mind while allowing kids to be kids in such a simple way!

FiLIP 2 review

Right away I was happy to see that the FiLIP 2 comes nearly ready to use right out of the box and that the setup process only takes a matter of minutes.

While the device spent a little time charging up, I downloaded the free FiLIP App (available for iPhone or Android) and set up a small profile for myself as well as for Big Sister E. Once that was done and my phone was ready to communicate with the FiLIP 2, we were ready to stay in touch!

FiLIP 2 kids phone watch

This combo phone and smart locator is so easy to use and really provides everything a child needs to stay connected... without any of the unnecessary distractions such as games, texting or the internet. This isn't a toy or designed for entertainment, it's an actual piece of technology made to make contact between parents and children convenient and easy.

Whether it's checking to see that your child has made it home from school or sending a text to let him know you're running a few minutes late, the FiLIP 2 includes great features that everyone can appreciate.

Voice Calling and One-way Text Messaging.

FiLIP 2 is the only wearable phone for kids certified by the FCC. But there is no worry that they will be making calls left and right to anyone, anywhere, as it can only make and receive calls from up to five parent-set numbers.

By going right into the FiLIP app, it only takes a minute to set up a connection with Mom, Dad, grandparents, a babysitter or more. Whichever five numbers you choose, those are the only numbers that will work with the FiLIP 2 for making or receiving calls.

phone for kids

At the same time, parents can send short (up to 24 characters) one-way text messages to their child’s FiLIP 2 to keep in touch without calling. Send one that says "Running 5 minutes late" or "Come home for dinner" or simply a quick "Love you" to let them know you're thinking of them.

texting with kids

Smart Locator.

FiLIP 2 uses a blend of GPS, GSM, and WiFi (their algorithm determines which to use for the strongest signal) to provide the most accurate location information, indoors and out, so parents can see where their child is at all times.

No worrying about them going to a friend's house after school or going off on a bike ride around the neighborhood when you can pull up their location right on the app with only a tap or two.

filip map

SafeZones.

FiLIP 2 automatically notifies parents through the app when their child enters or leaves a pre-determined SafeZone, like home or school. Parents can set up to five SafeZones for their child as well as enlarge or shrink the radius around the location. I chose to include all of Big Sister E's school as well as the playground so that she would be able to easily stay within the limits during weekdays.

Intelligent Emergency Mode.

Although it makes me queasy to even think about needing it, in case of an emergency the FiLIP 2 can be activated into this mode by holding the red button for 2 to 3 seconds. 

In this mode, a call is automatically made to the primary account holder. However, if there is no answer at that number, the FiLIP 2 will proceed to go through the list calling each contact until one successfully connects. Once connected, the FiLIP 2 starts recording all ambient noises and the app will show the child's location with automatic updates every 60 seconds until the emergency mode is cancelled.

Adjustable Watch.

As a final bonus to all of the safety features that the FiLIP 2 provides, it also is convenient for your child as a watch, clearly displaying the time and date (in multiple viewing options). At the same time, the wristband itself is customizable to be worn open or closed and can include optional size spacers in the band so that it fits comfortably as your child grows.

FiLIP 2

All in all, the FiLIP 2 is truly a one-of-its-kind, easy-to-use gadget that can provide parents with a great deal of peace of mind while their child enjoys independence. The device itself only has two buttons, so a child will never have any problem controlling it, and being able to quickly be in contact through talk or text means a whole lot less worry!

The FiLIP 2 (MSRP $149.99) is available now in Superhero Blue or Watermelon Red and is interchangeable with wristband accessories (MSRP $34) in Awesome Orange and Limesicle Green.

But, hold on! Right now not only is the FiLIP 2 for sale at a special discounted price of $99.99, but you'll receive a FREE FiLIP 2 wristband accessory with your purchase! Here are the details:
The first 100 readers to purchase a FiLIP 2 will receive a free wristband accessory in Awesome Orange or Limesicle Green valued at $34! To redeem your gift with purchase, go to http://webshop.myfilip.com, select Buy Now and then choose "Blog Post" when asked how you heard about FiLIP. You will receive an email for your color preference and your free wristband accessory will be sent within 60 days. 
Don't forget, purchase FiLIP 2 through January 8th at the discounted price of $99.99 and you'll be saving $50 (regular retail price $149.99)!

FiLIP profile

Stay tuned for a second post this spring with our thoughts on how well FiLIP 2 has been working for us. In the meantime, find out more about this amazing device by visiting MyFiLIP.com and connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.

I am a FiLIP 2 Blogger Ambassador. This post is part of a sponsored campaign. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Be Prepared to 'Let It Go!' with Disney's Frozen Party Kit from Wholesale Party Supplies

Wholesale Party Supplies logo
While I have a variety of memories from my childhood, some that stick out the most are the birthday parties. Ranging from bigger and more lavish to smaller and more intimate, over the years I managed to have some pretty great celebrations that still make me smile. Thanks, Mom!

Therefore, when it comes to my own children's birthdays, as much as I wince and cringe at the amount of work that goes into the planning, preparing, cleaning, cooking, decorating and more, seeing them have a wonderful time every year always makes it all worth it.

This year was no exception, as Little Sister B solidly declared that she wanted a Frozen Party ages ago and hasn't wavered from it since. Knowing that my options would include multiple trips to various stores to pick up a variety of supplies, trying to craft it all by hand or turning to one place to find everything I needed conveniently and easily, there was no doubt that I was going to turn to WholesalePartySupplies.com.

Frozen Party

A year-round source for all things party – tableware, invitations, decorations, balloons, pinatas, favors and much more – Wholesale Party Supplies can supply you with everything you need at a wholesale price.

Have a theme idea in mind? They most likely have all of the accessories that you'd want to bring your idea to life. Not sure what type of party you're going to throw? Then just browse the amazingly huge selection for adults, kids, babies, holidays and more and you'll easily find yourself inspired with all sorts of party ideas!

As there was no doubt that Little Sister B would have loved nothing more than to find Elsa and Anna themselves attending her party, the arrival of the Frozen Ultimate Kit was just about as close to it all contained in one box.

Frozen birthday party

With pink and purple accents highlighted throughout the silver and turquoise, this kit includes all of the utensils, napkins (in two sizes), plates (big and small), cups and a tablecloth that we needed to put together the perfect table for our young guests.

But that's far from all! When it's time to Let It Go, WholesalePartySupplies.com also includes candles, streamers, 30 silver foil star hanging decorations, a silver foil star cascade centerpiece, white curling ribbon, four star balloons, two Frozen holographic balloons and a huge 40" Olaf balloon.

It all came together in such a festive, fun way that Little Sister B's jaw literally dropped when she walked in and saw everything set up!

Frozen Party

The Olaf balloon was, by far, the biggest hit with all of the kids, as Little Sister B was only one of the happy girls to hug, kiss and dance around and around with him!

Olaf balloon

By the time the party ended, it was clear that all of the girls had a blast playing, decorating their own bracelets, eating cupcakes, drinking "Frozen" punch, and celebrating with my favorite 6-year-old on earth. It all added up to an incredible afternoon that we'll never forget!

Disney Frozen birthday party

While I could have gone to the store and individually purchased the items in the Frozen Ultimate Kit (assuming that they were available and not out of stock), it was wonderful having all of the coordinating supplies arrive quickly and easily from Wholesale Party Supplies. All that was left to do was add goodie bags and the food and we had our own personal Arendelle!

Plus, with the entire kit retailing for $44.99 when it has an MSRP of $89.99, I'm always going to be happy about saving money!

When it comes time to throw your next party, visit WholesalePartySupplies.com to see just how they can help take your celebration to the next level in an affordable, colorful, festive and fun way.

Other than the Frozen Ultimate Kit I was provided by WholesalePartySupplies.com in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion about this product.