Monday, December 31, 2012

Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor with 3.5 Inch Color LCD Screen

If you are looking for a reliable video baby monitor, you must consider Motorola's MBP36 digital video baby monitor. Among all the video baby monitors out there, it is one of the best rated baby monitors. It is also currently one of the best selling models. Many parents love it because all its features work exactly as expected.

Let's take a quick look at its features and functions.

  • 3.5" color LCD screen, up to 25 fps
  • 2.4GHz FHSS technology (wireless connection) with two-Way communication
  • Color LCD screen with infrared night vision
  • Remote pan, tilt, and zoom
  • Additional camera capability to take digital pictures when needed.
  • Five lullabies built in
  • Data encryption for security
  • 5 LED alerts for sound-activated lights
  • Room temperature monitor
  • Up to 200M range with "out-of-range" warning
  • Expandable up to 2 parent units and 4 cameras
  • Can be wall mounted


It can be extremely frustrating when you bring home a baby monitor that fails to function as it should. Most common complaints about video baby monitors are:
- Grainy images
- Annoying static, crackling and popping sounds.
- Bad sound quality
- Bad reception because of inteference from other wireless products
- No security. Other people are able to listen in to your conversations or pick up images of your baby.
- Limited range of reception. They could not get a reception in certain places in the house.

Well, lots of people are pleased with this Motorola digitial video baby monitor because it eliminates all the problems above.


Motorola Baby Monitor
The picture is very clear, even the night vision. The 3.5" color LCD screen is bigger than most baby monitor screens. You don' have to squint to see what's going on.

Wireless broadband, cordless phones and other wireless technology will not likely interfere with your reception. Vice versa, this monitor will not interfere with your home network too. You won't get irritating static noises. Not only do you get a clear picture, you have good audio too. These are some feedback from parents:

"Monitors that I have previously owned have interfered with my wireless network and watching Netflix through Apple TV and browsing the Internet was filled with annoying buffering delays and would sometimes override the wireless signal completely. Motorola has completely eliminated this problem with its new wireless technology. This monitor has never interfered with my home network and everything works beautifully together."
Amazon customer

"Also, I live in a two story home with wireless everything (my house is Grand Central with all the wireless technology.) and this monitor does great with cell phone, wireless router, and computer reception. There is no interference at all."
Amazon customer

"One common baby monitor complaint is that people have to crank the volume to hear their babies crying, but that's definitely not a problem here. We've got the monitor a good 8 feet away from the baby and if we want, we can hear every gurgle and grunt she makes. Additionally, the audio going the other way (i.e. speaking to your baby) is remarkably clear. "
The Source Reviews & Ratings

"I am a light sleeper and wake at his every roll and whimper at night. I used to get NO sleep. With this monitor I can put the volume up loud to hear every little move or put the volume down low to only wake when he cries loudly."
Amazon customer


Analog monitors may be less expensive but they do not give you the security that the digital monitors offer. Analog monitors use radio waves. That's why other people in the vicinity can pick up on your transmission. Digital monitors convert sounds into data. This Motorola baby monitor comes with data encryption. You don't have to worry about your neighbors eavesdropping or picking up images of your baby. Likewise, you won't be seeing other people's baby on your monitor.


If you have a large home, reception range is important. With this baby monitor, you can be up to 200 meters away. You can go out into the yard and still get reception. If you are out of range, the monitor will alert you. Complimenting its exceptional range, one mother on Amazon shared how with other baby monitors, some places in her home were "completely off-limit" but that wasn't the case with this motorola digital video baby monitor.


It is no hassle to install. Many parents prefer to wall mount the camera because they get a better view. You can hold it in place with just one screw. You don't have to be tech savvy to set it up. You'll figure out all the buttons in no time.


It is easy to carry around the parent unit. It is compact and lightweight. There's also a kick stand that puts it at a 45 degree angle when you put it down. The only thing missing is a belt clip. The monitor runs on a rechargeable battery when you are mobile. The battery has about a 3.5 hour life. When not moving around, you can keep it plugged in.


This baby monitor allows you to talk back to your child. So if you see them climbing out of the crib, you can sternly tell them to get back in. Your voice comes through clearly. It won't sound garbled if you don't put your mouth too closely to the handset. It's also not too loud. Your child will not be scared by it.


You can remotely pan, tilt and zoom the video camera. Gives you the ability to view a wide area of the room. Really helpful if you have toddlers that could be anywhere in the room. Many parents make special mention of how quietly the camera moves. So important because we don't want to disturb sleeping babies right?

The zoom is up to 2x. The enlarged image is not perfect but it is not too bad. Here is one mother's comment, "Currently if I mount the camera 4 feet away and set it on 2x zoom, I can see her chest moving up and down."


  • The monitor also gives you a temperature reading. That way you know if the room is comfortable for your children. 
  • You can play 5 lullabies to lull your babies to sleep. However, not everyone uses this feature but it is an extra that's nice to have. 
  • Need a baby monitor for two rooms? This model allows you to expand up to 4 cameras. You can choose to scan through all the cameras or manually switch to the camera of your choice. To manually choose a camera, you just need to hit the ok button until you get to the camera you want. With the scan mode, you'll see 12 seconds of each camera. Unfortunately, you won't be able to see all the cameras at once on the screen. You can get the extra camera here: Motorola Additional Camera for Motorola MBP36 Baby Monitor, Brown with White
    Hopefully it is in stock.
  • Sound-activated light. The monitor has 5 LED indicators that light up when baby makes a sound. The louder the sound, the more indicators light up. This is especially helpful in certain circumstances like when the radio or television is turned on or you're doing vacuuming
  • .An alarm which you can set at 2, 4 or 6 hours. You can use this feature to remind you of feeding times.
  • At 25 fps, you are seeing the images in real time. There is no delay. If something happens to baby that need your attention, you can see it and get to your baby fast.


  • Some websites (including Amazon) say this model can expand up to 2 parent units. However, this is not the case. If you check with Motorola tech support, they will tell you that this information is wrong. The cameras only work with one parent unit.
  • You cannot mute the audio.
  • To control the volume, you have to go to the menu first. There is no external knob. Some parents think its a pain. Others think its actually beneficial because then you can't accidentally lower the volume.
  • No back light for the buttons. May cause you to stumble around a bit at night.


Gauging from the many positive feedbacks it has been getting, this is a very good buy. You can CHECK HERE to see how many reviews it has gotten at Amazon plus the current rating. It is also among the best selling baby monitor at Amazon. Obviously, there are a lot of happy users out there.

The price may be a little steep but you're getting lots of functions and the product works. Yes, it works! I believe that is the key why so many parents are recommending it. Many parents share how they've been disappointed by other brands of baby monitor before they finally found this Motorola MBP36 model. They are happy with it because it performs up to expectations. One mother puts it this way "Awesome monitor and well worth the money as now I finally get some sleep and peace of mind at night!!!"

It may not be 100% perfect but the negatives are negligible. You won't find many other digital video baby monitors that perform better than this.

*This review contains affiliate links

Lorex LW241 LIVE Sense Wireless Video Home Monitor

When you have a new baby, you've got to keep an eye on them 24-7. That becomes even more important when they start to become mobile. My kids like to explore and somehow, they gravitate to things they shouldn't touch or places they shouldn't go. Well, that is pretty normal for toddlers. They are just curious about everything.

Unfortunately, I can't be stuck to my kids the whole time. There are meals to prepare and laundry to do. I'm sure you know what I mean right? If you have a big house, or even a double story house, you  may need the help of baby monitors.

There are many types of baby monitors but the Lorex LW241 LIVE sense Wireless Video Home Monitor gives you the ability to keep an eye on your children over the Internet using Skype.

Of course that is not the only benefit of this baby monitor model, here is a quick look at all its features.
  • Wireless 3.5-inch LCD Monitor-Receiver
  • Up to 450ft/150m reception line of sight (this means with no obstructions). Actual range will vary depending on obstructions.
  • Connect over the Internet via Skype. Able to view with iPhone and iPad.
  • Touch-button and Sound-Activated video recording
  • Talk with baby intercom. 2 way audio.
  • Built-in timer so you can keep track of feeding times.
  • Built-in lullabies on the camera
  • Temperature monitoring. A built-in alarm warns you if the temperature changes outside of your selected range.
  • Automatic IR night-vision up to 15ft.
  • Secure, private Digital Wireless video & audio. Digital signal with FHSS technology.
  • Audio indicator lights
  • Expandable up to 4 cameras
Live Sense Baby monitor



The video camera has a high resolution image sensor that gives you clear video images. The night images are also very clear. With the night vision, you don't have to turn on the light to check on your baby. You can monitor your baby knowing exactly what is going on. It will give you a peace of mind that is invaluable. Imagine having a good night's rest, going to the bathroom or enjoying a nice bath without worrying if your baby needs you at that moment.


Home surveillance monitor
This baby monitor uses FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) digital technology. There are 3 benefits to this technology: privacy, decreased narrowband interference, and better signal capacity.  You will face no interference from other 2.4GHz systems. The screen doesn’t get fuzzy when you turn on your microwave. You don't have to worry about your Wi-fi and cordless phones. You will have absolute privacy, unlike analog monitors. Outsiders cannot eavesdrop or pick up your transmission. What you see and hear are for your eyes and ears only.


If you're not at home, you can still access your video camera through Skype. You could use it as a nanny cam. Keep tabs on how your babysitter is taking care of your children. Grandparents and aunts can also take a peek online on how the children are growing. Daddy at work might need a break from the stress. Seeing little junior sleeping soundly in his crib could be just the thing to put a smile on his face.


LW241 Baby Monitor
With one press of a button, you can record what your baby is doing. You can transfer the recording of your children's cute antics onto your computer and then later share that online with friends and family. You also have the option of sound-activated recording. When the noise exceeds a certain level, the monitor alerts you and starts recording. So if your child starts to cry, you can check your recording to see what was the cause of it. The recordings are stored in a memory card which is included in the box when you buy it. They are organized according to the date of the recordings.


Not only can you hear your children, you can talk to them too. You can sooth your baby back to sleep or tell your toddler that you'll be there shortly. You can also intercom your kids to tell them to come down for dinner. No need to shout down the house.

Multi camera baby monitor


If you have more than one camera installed, you have the option of viewing a single channel, scan the different channels or have a split-screen and view all the cameras at the same time.


Sometimes the volume of the tv, radio, vacuum cleaner or hair dryer could make it difficult to hear the baby monitor. If that is the case, the audio indicator lights will show you the level of noise in the baby's room.


You don't need to be a rocket scientist to set up the monitor system. This is a very simple plug-and-play.


You can remotely play the lullabies built into the camera. You just need to press a button on your handheld. This is one way you can soothe your baby to sleep. There's also the temperature sensor to let you know if it is getting too hot or cold for your baby. 


The 3.5-inch LCD screen monitor is almost the size of a smartphone. It is easy to carry it around. You could put it in your pocket or plop it on the table.



  • It doesn't have a zoom feature. Some parents prefer this, some don't. If you want to find a product that zooms, make sure the picture doesn't become grainy after zooming.
  • You need to connect the monitor to your computer by USB if you want to view through Skype. May be a little bit of a hassle. Would be nice if it was wireless.


Read on to get an idea what some parents think about this product:

Have had one for a few months and love it. It would be nice if video quality were better and camera had wider angle, but it serves it’s purpose well. With the multi-camera monitoring, we’ve been tempted to get another camera to record evidence of the cleaning crew indulging in our refrigerated goods. :) comment

"The video is decent quality and the frame rate is fast so it doesn't appear choppy like cheaper monitors. Battery life is good. The monitor and charging cradle are good quality and buttons and menus are intuitive and easy to navigate. Set up and installation were very quick and easy. The camera can also work wirelessly with 4 AA batteries but I have yet to find a need for that feature. Range is excellent. I walked around my entire block with the monitor and only lost signal when there were physical obstructions in the way(like other houses). The monitor has a signal strength indicator just like a cell phone as well as an out range warning unlike other models. The features it lacks compared to others are pan, tilt, and zoom, as well as the ability to view the feed from your TV....The features I liked were the temperature display and temp alarm, built-in lullabies, auto and manual recording to an included SD card, and auto muting so that you don't have to listen to white-noise. The deciding factor for me was the ability to remote view the video feed using Skype."
Bestbuy customer

"I love the movement sensor, you don't have to be watching the monitor constantly to know that one of them is in action it just beeps and I know to look, Also the picture is very sharp and clear even at night. I can finally sleep again without worrying. And the modern design is a plus. I am really loving this monitor !!"
Bestbuy customer

"Some of the features I love are the adjustable sensitivity, built in night light, built in pre recorded lullabies, two way communication, automatic record upon movement, the temp gauge, etc. The battery works very well - I leave the base upstairs and charge it at night. During the day I just carry the handheld unit downstairs while the kids nap. Signal strength is awesome too! My last 2 monitors got terrible reception, but this one doesn't interfere with all my husbands "gadgets". Save yourself some headache and get this one!"
Bestbuy customer

"I have been playing around with it and so far, I'm super impressed with what this can do. If you have any place in your home you want to monitor, this is the item. This is not just a "baby monitor", it's an in-home surveillance system and can even give you peace of mind when you aren't home. I would think this would be a great item to keep an eye on a puppy as well. Highly recommend. It is expensive but the quality and features make it worth the price. "
Amazon customer

"We've been using this Lorex video monitor for a couple of months now and we love it. It leaves nothing to the imagination. You know exactly how your child is sleeping. The video is very crisp in daytime and the night view is impressively detailed considering its subtle non-intrusive red lights. We use a cool mist humidifier as noise maker in our daughters room and it does not cause noticeable interference. The set up was pretty simple and everything connected without any hassles."
Amazon customer


This monitor is perfect if you want to monitor more than 1 room in your house. Taking into consideration that this baby monitor is produced by a company that is an expert on do-it-yourself video surveillance, you can only expect high quality. The Lorex Technology has been in this business for 15 years. Although a bit pricey, it can function more than just a baby monitor. You can install up to 4 cameras. You can watch more than just your baby room. With clear images, secure digital technology and online monitoring, it is a good investment towards an in-home surveillance system.

Check out the Special Offers and Product Promotions that comes with this baby monitor.

*This review contains affiliate links.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Inexpensive Christmas Gift for Friends

The last few years, my Christmas gifts have involved baking. Somehow, this year, I just didn't get bit by the baking bug. So I had to come up with something that was meaningful, personal and inexpensive. Yea, I've spent too much the last few weeks getting new clothes for the kids and splurging on a book sale.

Okay, so I finally got this idea to frame a scripture word art (since all my friends are from church). This is what I crafted on my MyMemories Suite software. By the way, it is a fantastic digital scrapbooking software BUT you can really create a lot of stuff with it, not just scrapbooks. You can do cards, CDs and a variety of crafts.

Okay, so here is my Christmas wordart.

I put that in a picture frame and whalla! ... A nice Christmas gift that didn't break my bank.

Copy and past my discount code to save money: STMMMS86598

Monday, December 17, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 7

Okay, so we're on our last menu for your Christmas week.

Menu For Christmas: Day 7 (29th Dec)


  • Tacos. Give yourself a break and use a taco kit that includes shells, taco seasonings and taco sauce.
  • Don’t forget the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream.
  • For something a little extra, try this recipe for refried beans
You'll find the past days menu here:
Christmas menu day 1
Christmas menu day 2
Christmas menu day 3
Christmas menu day 4
Christmas menu day 5
Christmas menu day 6

Okay, and we're done with our menu for 7 days of Christmas. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it helpful. Don't forget to tweet and share on Facebook if you've liked it.

I would also love to hear what you think. Leave me a comment and tell me what you're cooking for Christmas.

If you don't want to miss it, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 6

Menu For Christmas: Day 6 (28th Dec)


  • Turkey tetrazzini. This highly-rated recipe uses egg noodles, for a delicious light texture. 
  • Salad
  • Brown and serve rolls
I hope you've been enjoying the ready-made Christmas menu so far. There is 1 last one and you'll see that here tomorrow. If you want to make your Christmas less stressful, do check out this Holiday Bundle by Menu Planning Central. 11 Holiday resources rich with recipes and tips.

If you don't want to miss future postings, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

Here are the past days menu:
Christmas menu day 1
Christmas menu day 2
Christmas menu day 3
Christmas menu day 4
Christmas menu day 5

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 5

Menu For Christmas: Day 5 (27th Dec)



We have 2 more days of Christmas menu. Stay tuned.

Don't forget, you can get this menu planning resource pack for free. Just click the banner below.
Menu Planning Resource Pack

If you don't want to miss future postings, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

Here are the past days menu:
Christmas menu day 1
Christmas menu day 2
Christmas menu day 3
Christmas menu day 4

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.

Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 4

26th December, the day after Christmas, is a time to relax and unwind. The BIG Christmas dinner is over and done with. If you still have to cook something, why not do something with the leftovers.

Menu For Christmas - Day 4 (26th Dec)

  • Use your leftover ham to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
  • French fries

If planning meals and writing grocery lists week in and week out isn’t your cup of tea, go to Menu Planning Central and claim your free menu planning guide and printable meal plans.

You'll want to check out their Special Holiday Bundle. 11 holiday resources for you (plus 3 bonuses) that I know you are going to LOVE! Included are recipes and tips that are bound to make your holiday season a bit easier.

Don't forget to come back for tomorrow's menu - Christmas Day 5

If you don't want to miss it, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

Here are the past days menu:
Christmas menu day 1
Christmas menu day 2
Christmas menu day 3

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 3


  • Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato (BLT) sandwiches. They're easy to make and you can pre-cook the bacon and chop up the lettuce and tomato ahead of time. Then, let everyone assemble their own sandwiches.
  • Baby carrots with ranch dressing

  • Ham. A cooked ham is such a simple thing to make. You can heat it up as is or mix some honey and Dijon mustard to make a delicious glaze.
  • Roasted turkey breast. Just use a breast, if you don’t have a big crowd.
  • Mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce.
  • Stuffing…you can make it from scratch, but don’t stress yourself out too much. The boxed kind is usually a crowd pleaser.
  • Broccoli cheese casserole. Here’s an absolutely delicious one.
  • Ask your guests to bring a vegetable dish or check out this site for vegetable dish ideas.

You can purchase delicious premade desserts from the bakery to save time, or if you’re ambitious, try these ones.

Come by for tomorrow menu, Christmas Day 4

You'll find the past day menus here:
Christmas menu day 1
Christmas menu day 2

If you don't want to miss it, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here's an e-book that is most appropriate for the holiday season. Get it for free.
Staying Sane During Holiday Shopping - Free Ebook

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 2

Menu Planning Central

When it comes to cooking, having a plan takes a bit of headache out of the chore. What more with Christmas when the family is all together. You don't want to be so stressed out that you can't enjoy family time.

Here's a suggested menu for your Christmas eve.

Menu For Christmas: Day 2 (24th Dec)

  • English muffin pizzas. You'll find the recipe here, but you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand for toppings.
  • Green salad. Use bagged and washed salad mix to save time.

  • Chicken breasts with lime sauce. Here's a simple recipe and you can even use bottled lime juice if you don't have fresh lime on hand.

  • Rice
  • Vegetable medley
  • Brown and serve rolls
Click here to view the menu for Christmas Day 1.

Come back tomorrow for Christmas menu day 3. If you don't want to miss it, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

7 Days Christmas Menu Planner - Day 1

What's cooking for Christmas? It can be mind boggling trying to put together a menu for the Christmas week. Here are just some ideas to ease your holiday burden. Take a look at this nutritious yet simple menu for the week of Christmas. It’s designed to save you time, stretch ingredients and help make use of Christmas leftovers. 

Click the banner below to  
Claim your Free Menu Planning Basics Report and Printable Resources right now

Menu Planning Resource Pack

Menu for Christmas: Day 1 (23rd Dec)

  • Tomato soup
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches

  • Slow cooker beef and mushroom stew. Get the recipe here and substitute baby carrots to save prep time.
Check back tomorrow for Day 2 - Christmas Eve Menu
If you don't want to miss it, stay in touch through Google Friend Connect. You'll see the link on my side bar. OR click here to subscribe to my blog.

If you want me to send you the PDF for the whole 7 days Christmas menu, just email me at limailian [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Baking Time: Lemon Bars

My daughter went out shopping with my mom the other day and came home with a bag of lemons. Happily she suggested we make.... lemon bars.

Since it is the school holidays, baking is one way to keep the kids busy. So we gather together the ingredients we needed and got to work.

So nice to have kids that can help lighten the load. My eldest daughter did the measuring, sifting and juicing.

This little girl enjoyed playing with the flour. She liked smoothing it out with a spoon.

And this is the result... yummy lemon bars. Almost forgot to take a picture of it. Last few pieces left. 

So, do you want the recipe? Here it is:


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 225g butter

Blend flour, sugar and butter together. (Let butter soften at room temperature.)
Press into a 9x13 inch pan.
Bake 350 degress Celsius for 15-20 minute.

  • 1 tsp lemon rind  (I used lemon rind from 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (Maybe a bit more if you want it to be more tangy).
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour mixed with 2 cups of sugar (I cut down the sugar to only 1 cup actually).

Mix flour and sugar together.
Add lemon juice, eggs and grated lemon rind.
Mix together with a mixer (Not necessarily need to use a mixer. I mixed mine by hand).
Pour lemon mixture over cookie mixture (the bottom base) and return to oven.
Bake 15-20 minutes until lemon mixture is set.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

MOM upside down is...

Walked into my kid's room this morning and saw this written on their whiteboard.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Putting Literacy Into Playing

I read a book many years ago about how we can put literacy into our children's playing. Yup, we should encourage our children to read, write or count when they play. Do it in such a way that literacy becomes a part of their playing. That way, they won't see it as "studying" or "learning" and become all stressed about it.

Here is an example of how that can be done. My children were playing "masak-masak" (pretend cooking). My daughter decided to makeshift a mini food shop with blocks. They took turns becoming the cook, waiter and customers. Where does literacy come in? Well, a menu was written. Orders were also written down. In the end, receipts were issued. They could have made a signage for their shop's name but they didn't feel like it.

 My receipt. Just realized I've been wrongly billed. Wrong total. Hehehe.

 My little waitress.

 Eager customers.

The shop. Chef is hard at work.

So, the next time your kids play, play along with them and show them how their playing can be further enriched with literacy.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

5 WaysTo Cut Holiday Spending

A Christmas tree inside a home.
A Christmas tree inside a home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Year end is always an exciting time because of the holiday season. Unfortunately, it is also quite a stressful time because expenditure goes up. There are bargains here and there, all screaming BUY ME, BUY ME! Well, how do you save money at this time of year?

Here are 5 ideas on what you can do.

Buy Early

One thing that we often do is leave our gift shopping until the last minute. This can cause a few problems that lead to us spending more money than we would otherwise have to. Firstly, prices for popular gifts like toys often go up around the holiday season. Buying things early means avoiding the price hiking.

Another problem that late shopping can lead to is less choice. The longer you leave it, the less popular products there will be available. This means that last minute shopping can force you to buy things that you otherwise wouldn’t – things that may well be more expensive than the alternatives that are no longer available.

Wait Until After The Holidays

In some cases, it’s possible to wait until after the holidays are over to buy gifts. This is a good idea, as there are often New Year sales at massively reduced prices. It can actually be frustrating to find something you bought just days earlier, at half the price in the sales that come once the festivities are over!

Make Gifts

Gifts don’t have to be bought, and traditionally many holiday gifts have been home made. There are loads of things you can make, but obviously not all of them can necessarily replace typical gifts like stereo systems and so on! However, small home-made gifts can replace a lot of the lesser gifts that we buy each other just to bulk up the amount of goodies that we give. The best thing is that these gifts are often treasured, as people appreciate time and effort that you’ve spent making something just for them.

Cut Back On A Few Luxuries

Another easy way to help control holiday costs is to cut back on luxuries in the last months leading up to December. Don’t buy all the luxury foods or other products that you usually would. Buy the budget shampoo and shower gel for a few months instead. Little things like this can make you quite a big saving, and this money can then be put toward holiday expenses instead.

Shop Online

Shopping online is quickly becoming the most popular way to buy products, and not without good reason. Although it doesn’t give you the chance to get a hands-on experience with things before you buy them, it lets you compare prices and shop around very conveniently. Bargains are to be found everywhere on the internet, and if you plan ahead you’re even more likely to find some real cost cutting options. Even major gifts like televisions and games consoles can be found for really good prices if you search around with online retailers.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 perfect presents make gift-giving easy

(BPT) - The holidays are a special time of year to show the important people in our lives how much we appreciate them -- and that means gift-giving. If picking out holiday gifts is painless for you, you're one of the lucky ones. More often than not, people have a tough time finding the perfect present for friends and family, particularly if you have someone on your list who already seems to have everything. So, if you're stumped as to what to get that impossible-to-buy-for person, consider these five gift ideas that are sure to brighten anyone's holiday:

1. Gift your services

Rather than giving a tangible item, give your services; it's the perfectly practical gift for the person on your list who may be short on space, lacking financial resources or would just appreciate a little extra help. Love kids? Offer free child care so the recipient can enjoy an evening out on the town without worrying about the little ones. Have a knack for cooking? Gift a weeknight meal that you deliver to the recipient's doorstep. Known for your organization? Offer your skills to help the recipient organize a closet, office or other cluttered space.

2. Make a miracle happen

Positively impacting others by giving a charitable gift in the recipient's name embraces the true meaning of the season. The new Give Miracles Holiday Catalog from national nonprofit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals features in-demand pediatric items and services that local children's hospitals need — anything from comforting teddy bears ($30) to a case of extra-small preemie diapers smaller than the palm of your hand ($170)! For high-impact gifts like a physical therapy toy kit ($375) or a pediatric wheelchair ($970), funds can be collectively raised by numerous gift-givers. This option is ideal for extended families looking to do something more meaningful than the typical gift exchange.

And to make that "do-good" feeling for the recipient last long after the holidays are over, Give Miracles donors receive ongoing communication from Children's Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the year about how their gift is making an impact at their local hospital. Browse the gift catalog at

3. Purchase a membership to a monthly club

Rather than wasting money on a new gadget that will quickly be forgotten, give a gift that benefits the recipient all year long. Monthly clubs provide fun deliveries to a loved one's address, an ongoing reminder of your generosity. Monthly gift clubs are available for just about anything, from wine and beer, to jams and cheese, to bacon and fruit.

4. Give a gift that grows

Potted plants are a fantastic gift idea because they represent how your love continues to grow for that special someone. Plus, plants are a wonderful addition to interior decor and help clean the air. With so many houseplants readily available, you're sure to find the perfect one for the person who has everything. Does he gravitate toward decor with vivid color? Choose a flowering plant that provides delightful blooms. Does she love Asian culture? How about gifting a bonsai tree or a bamboo plant?

5. Provide an experience

Often, it's not what's in the box, it's the memory that stays with so many people after the holidays have passed. That's why giving a special experience can make a truly meaningful gift. Think about what really interests the recipient or an activity they've had on their bucket list. Perhaps it's a hot air balloon ride or a white water rafting daytrip. If the person really loves to shop, hire a personal shopper for the day and let them see what it's like to live like a star. If the recipient loves gourmet food, purchase a spot in a class taught by your town's hottest chef.

Any one of these ideas is sure to show that hard-to-shop-for person on your list that you've put some real thought into their gift. And ultimately, isn't it the thought that counts?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Building isn't just for boys: Getting girls engaged in constructive playtime

 (BPT) - How many times have you walked into your child's classroom only to see the boys and girls separated into two different groups, playing with completely different toys? The boys are likely huddled around the building blocks, creating skyscrapers and forts, while the girls are busy painting and coloring.

Sure, you can chalk it up to society's gender expectations to explain this play divide but does it mean girls have no interest in construction play at all? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no. In fact, girls have just as much to gain from building as boys and equally enjoy playing with construction toys. Toy companies that specialize in designing building toys, like Mega Bloks, have long researched the patterns of construction play among girls, specifically, and understand its long-term benefits. Parents of girls, furthermore, should ensure their daughters are getting this valuable playtime with building toys.

From developing language skills to boosting a sense of achievement, construction play serves as a stepping-stone for a young child's intellectual future. "Playing with building toys provides children an ideal way to engage in discovery-based learning," says Dr. Maureen O'Brien, developmental psychologist and child play expert. "It is through this type of learning that children are able to build their confidence through trial and error and develop a sense of achievement, enabling them to physically link their world to the play world, building their brains in the process."

The learning benefits of block play are further enhanced when layered with open-ended, imaginative play, such as make-believe with dolls. Children begin to understand their world and give it perspective by playing with toys that enhance exploration through customization and storytelling. This combination of block play and role play is a boost to your child's development. -

Understanding that girls love and benefit from creative construction as much as boys do, O'Brien has some tips on incorporating building play as a regular activity for your daughter:

*Make construction playtime a group activity - Given the opportunity to build, girls equally excel at the building process and generate the same levels of satisfaction as boys. By making construction playtime a group activity, girls are also able to spend more time collaborating with one another over a building project. By assisting, affirming and supporting each other, girls are strengthening their interpersonal relationships. They are also developing their imaginations and resilience through conversations and collaborations during the process of their building project.

*Emphasize storytelling - Girls love the storytelling aspect of playtime. It allows them to create and express themselves in a fun environment where the possibilities are endless. By connecting a story to their creation, children learn and understand problem solving skills, language development and the elements of decision making - all important next steps in the learning process. Construction toys designed specifically for girls can help them tell their story, like the new Mega Bloks Barbie line. For example, the Mega Bloks Barbie Build n' Style Luxury Mansion is the perfect balance of building and playing. It allows girls to build, design and re-design, decorate, accessorize, dress-up and style Barbie doll's home in any way they want.

*Incorporate familiar characters girls love - A way to familiarize girls with construction play is with characters they already know and love. For example, the Mega Bloks Barbie construction line features mini figures and iconic Barbie details that appeal to girls. When girls recognize characters, they will likely be more inclined to try something new.-

*Join and guide the fun - Playing with your daughter during building time increases her chances of learning from the activity. Even when parents and children sit and walk through building instructions together, the children are exposed to the problem solving skills needed to assemble the construction set. In addition, by building together, parents are exposing kids to innovative new ways of thinking, sparking creativity and showing a new way to understand the activity.

O'Brien encourages parents to break through the traditional playtime expectations to instill life-long benefits of construction play - especially for girls. The cognitive, spatial and interpersonal skills they will acquire through a simple shift in their play routine can expose them to numerous future opportunities.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Computer Rules for My Kids, Plus Educational Links

So I've been quite stressed with the way my kids are using the computer. I hate it when they play games where they are just senselessly banging on the keyboard to get a character to shoot, kick, punch and do whatever fantastic kung-fu like moves. Or they go on YouTube to watch cartoons. I just get so irritated because to me its like wasting time. Plus, with my younger boy (now 5 years old), it has become an addiction. The first thing he says to me in the morning is... "mommy, can I?" That's his famous line when he wants permission to get on the computer. And when I reply that he has to read a book or do some writing first, his whole face changes like someone just died and then the tantrum starts: crying and kicking.

I also get very ticked off when I see one kid watching his/her sibling playing games on the computer. It's like the eyes are permanently glued to the screen whether or not it is their turn to play. And the worst is when they start whining about how someone else got more computer time or is on the computer too long and they start to fight and bicker over it.


However, I understand that in this day and age, computers are in their very fibers. So, I decided to revamp my computer rules in the hope that the time they spend on the computer, is a more fruitful one.

So, these are my rules, clearly written on a whiteboard hanging in my living room.

If you can't really see it, this is what it says:
  • You can ONLY use the computer if/when you are given an assignment to do or if you've earned a special privilege. 
  • Work/Study before using the computer (They have assigned house chores, plus some homeschooling).
  • Unauthorized websites = banned for 1 week.
  • No watching others play computer.
  • Sign-up sheet (So there is no more quarreling on who gets to play. They now have to book their time).
  • 1 1/2 hours only (Yes, still have time as to how long they can use the computer).
  • Whining, complaining, fighting = No access to computer for 1 day.
So, each week now, I will browse around for appropriate games and activities. I email each of them this "authorized" list of webpages. Even though it takes a bit of my time to do this, things have been better. My kids have been very good now to stray from the list too.

Here is the list for this week. I'll try to share my list here every week. Maybe, you'll find this useful.
* This list is for my kids aged 5 -11 years old. 

 You'll have to check yourself to see if the games match your child's skill level.

Do you have problems with your kid's computer habits?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Save 50% on Comics

Kobo is having a fantastic deal on comics. It is ending really fast - midnight Saturday (17th November).

If you have a comic fan at home, don't miss this rare discount deal. If you have a reluctant reader at home, you might want to try using comics to spark their interest.

Click the following link or banner to see what comics are available.
Promo Code: comics50
But NOW before it is too late.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paper Tulips For Your Wall

Recently, my church held a district conference for the Relief Society sisters. My branch was put in charge of decorating the hall and we were asked to put up tulips. Well, we ended up making paper tulips and this (the picture above) is how the walls ended up looking.

Some sisters commented that it felt like they had walked into a garden of tulips. It really turned out very nice indeed.

Anyway, at the end of the event, many of us took the tulips home (including me). So now they nicely decorate the walls of my children's room. They really do brighten the room.

The tulips are very easy to fold. You'll find the instructions here.

I know in the U.S. right now, the days are starting to get cold and winter will be setting in soon. When the days start to get dreary, maybe you could do this lovely craft with your kids to brighten up those winter days. If you live in a country where the sun shines the whole year, these paper tulips will look great in your kid's room anytime.

So, what do you think? Will your kids love this craft?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Party Decoration Tip: Ice Balloons

We are now moving towards the end of the year. This usually means lots of parties and get-togethers. If you have a party to put together, I found this video that shares what you can do with balloons. It is really cool and it will certainly make your party decorations a little more unique.

If you want an easy way to organize fun party games, go with printable games.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fast Way To Organize Halloween and Fall Games

When it comes to holding parties, food and decoration is important. However, the activities and games you have is what makes it memorable. If you are looking for Halloween game ideas, here are just a few:


Every thing is already done for you. All you need to do is print them out.
Here is a package that has Over 60 Halloween, Thanksgiving, Fall and Harvest games. And the best part is, you'll find games for both kids and adults.

If you're having a kids party, the last thing you want is tons of hyped up children. If you don't give them something to do, you can be sure they'll end up running wild and making lots of noise. Yup, chaos! So printable games are good because the children need to sit down to play. That will help tone them down a bit.

Some favorite games in this package is the Bingo and charades. There are also quizzes and many more games that will bring laughter and fun to the party. Have a look through this video to get a better idea what this package contains.

20% off Deluxe Halloween and Harvest Game Collection 
20% off All Seasons Game Collection
Discount is good through the 28th Oct 2012. Get it today before the price goes up again.

Divide your guests up into groups. You'll need lots of toilet paper for this one. One person in the group is designated as the mummy and obviously, he or she is the one that is going to be wrapped. The group that wraps the mummy the fastest wins.

The kids can also play pumpkin toss. Here, you hang a large pumpkin on the ceiling with holes in the middle. The kid who is able to shoot the most number of rolls of socks or bean bags is the winner. To make it more challenging, award points for the eyes, nose and mouth. Who scores the highest number of points wins.

Do this instead of musical chairs. Have everyone form a circle.  You could either have them sit down or stand. As the music plays, the kids have to pass 'the brain' from one person to the next. Of course it is a fake brain. You could easily make one using paper towels, a freezer bag and some red dye. When the music stops, whoever has it is out. The last person standing becomes the winner.

These are just some things you could do to make your Halloween party fun and memorable.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Best Learning Toys For Your Toddlers This Christmas

When it comes to buying a Christmas gift for toddlers, I suggest you consider buying learning toys. At this stage in their life, they are learning things very fast. Look for toys that allow them to improve their memory and motor skills. They say children learn best through play, so why not give them lots of opportunity to play. Here are some of the best learning toys for your toddlers this Christmas.

Babies love to stack and sort. With this set, there are 9 different sized stackable buckets and 4 blocks that come in different shapes and colors. The largest bucket has a snap-on lid that allows babies to match up the shaped block to the bucket opening. The buckets can be put inside one another or stacked up to make a tower. And if your kid is anything like mine, eventually these buckets will be also used in the home kiddy pool during hot days.

More stack and nest toys:


Toddlers love to build things almost as much as they love to take them apart. To pique their interest and actually give them the opportunity to take something apart, without getting in trouble, these toys are perfect. Each set comes with the tools needed to do the job, which also promotes motor skills.

Here are some take apart toys your children will enjoy:

Lego or mega blocks is an excellent investment when it comes to toys because children can play it even as they get older. I love it when children are given opportunities to work with their hands. Plus, it allows for their creativity to bloom. By looking at what my children create throughout the years, I am amazed at their development. They put together stuff that I wouldn't even know how. Of course, my imagination is much limited than theirs. This toy is great if you have more than one child too. They can play make believe together.

Lego and Mega Blocks your children will love:


The Vtech MobiGo is suited to kids up to age 8, but this is the perfect toy for kids who may still be too little to enjoy “real” video games. It can be controlled by the keypad or touch screen and the console is made to withstand drops. There are simple games like sorting animals and more difficult games like reading and math. This console uses cartridges and you can also download more games from the internet.
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