Easy Meals for Moms, in 10 Minutes or Less

Cuisinart Sandwich PressAs a new parent, I can totally relate to anyone who’s ever had a tough time fitting a meal into their busy day of caring for a baby. Sometimes I turn around and it’s pushing three or four o’clock and I still haven’t had lunch! I am trying to make a better habit of eating during normal meal times and ensuring I get a fairly healthy, balanced diet, at least the best diet I can with a little baby in the house. With busy moms (and dads) in mind, here is a list of my favorite simple meals for moms in 10 minutes or less.

Many of these meals can be made using ingredients you already have in the house. Sometimes it helps to buy a few groceries to enhance or vary your menu from time to time. Let’s get started!

Sandwiches and Melts

Keeping bread, lunchmeat, and cheese in the house almost seems too simple. If you have five minutes, you probably have enough time to make yourself a sandwich, even if you only get to enjoy it in a few ginormous bites. Here are some other ideas and ingredients for super snappy sandwiches you can enjoy with a little one in tow:

-Grilled Cheese – or grilled cheese with tomato, bacon, ham, turkey, etc. (You can make a pretty wicked grilled sandwich using a sandwich press!)

-Regular sandwiches – ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, or even PB&J…

-Croissant-wich – choose a croissant instead of bread and top with your favorite meat and cheese. Pop in the oven at 350 for 7 minutes or so.

-Pretzel Melt – same concept as croissant melt, but with pretzel rolls instead – yum!

-Tuna Melt – I like to make mine on an English muffin, but I have also made them on the top or bottom of a round roll when desperate. All you need is a can of tuna fish, a slice or two of provolone or your preferred cheese, and a roll, bagel, or English muffin. Bake at about 350 for 7 minutes or so, until warm all the way through.

-Roast Beef Au Jus – Great for a family dinner – buy sliced roast beef lunch meat, provolone cheese, and club rolls, as well as a packet of au jus gravy mix. Prepare as directed and enjoy with salad or fries (these will take more than 10 minutes).

Santa Fe Quesadilla MakerQuesadillas, Wraps, and Soft Tacos

Tortillas make for super simple meal ideas in no time. Make soft tacos by frying up some ground meat – ground beef or turkey – and add your favorite shredded cheese, lettuce, and other toppings. You can also make wraps using lettuce, tomato, and your favorite lunchmeats and cheeses – Italian wrap, turkey wrap, the works.

A quesadilla maker pays for itself in the number of amazing lunches and dinners (or snacks and party food) that you are able to make in just a few short weeks or months. Make chicken, bacon, and cheese quesadillas, or simple cheese quesadillas, or more advanced steak and cheese or salmon and cheese quesadillas. So yummy and it only takes a few minutes to make!

Pizza Spinoffs

Frozen pizzas can be simple food options, but they might not be that healthy for you, and they definitely don’t help you use up leftovers. Consider making your own pizzas in just minutes.

-Pizza bagels – top plain bagels or mini bagels with red sauce, shredded mozzarella, and any toppings you like. Bake in the oven until warm and cheese is melty.

-French bread pizza – same concept as above, but use French bread or a similar long roll. You can also make your own version using leftover hotdog rolls or other breads / rolls.

-White pizza bagels – instead of red sauce, use ricotta cheese and a little bit of garlic. Top with mozzarella and any other toppings you like. (This choice is great for moms wanting pizza but not able to have red sauce due to a sensitivity in their breastfeeding babies.)

Casseroles and Stir Fry Dishes

You can make some pretty awesome stir fry meals and casseroles using leftovers. Try these ideas in 10 minutes or less:

-Macaroni and cheese + frozen corn + canned white meat chicken or leftover chicken breast pieces, cubed

-Baked beans, kidney beans, and ham or hotdog slices baked in a casserole dish

-Hamburger Helper or Tuna Helper

Soup and Stew

Soups and stew, unless purchased in a can, do not take only 10 minutes to make, but once you have them at the ready, you can enjoy soup super fast by just popping it in the microwave. Same with stew. You can enjoy a wide variety of flavors simply by making soup and saving your leftovers. Of course, those Progresso soups aren’t half bad, either!

Leftovers

In almost all cases, it is a little easier to make a little extra dinner the night before so you can simply zap it in the microwave for a really easy and delicious lunch the next day. Meatloaf, lasagna, chicken parm, stir fry, and so many other dishes hold up wonderfully as leftovers.

In some cases, you can also make two of something and freeze one, like a meatloaf. Simply prepare the ingredients but don’t bake the second one – just wrap it tightly, label it, and stick it in the freezer for a very easy meal that requires very little prep work.

And, if you still don’t like any of these ideas, there’s always takeout. If you have any other suggestions for super easy  meals to make at home in 10 minutes or less, please share them below in our comments.

 

Baby Teething Accessories – Molar Muncher and Lansinoh MOmma Teether

Basket Baby by Beatricekillam on http://www.stockfreeimages.com/Teething can start almost any time after about three months with most infants. Some babies start teething as early as age three months while others may not get their first teeth until even after their first birthday. Many times babies will start teething around four months or upward of seven months. Regardless of when your child starts teething, it is a great idea to have teething toys and accessories on hand to help soothe your little one’s sore mouth and gums.

No matter what baby store you check, you will find dozens of different baby teethers to help relieve your infant’s discomfort related to the new baby teeth coming in. One of the most important considerations is probably to ensure any teethers you buy or receive as a gift are free from BPA or other chemicals. If you are still in need of a teether for your baby, you can look into those that are meant to be refrigerated and those that aren’t, depending on your preferences.

mOmma Teether (Gino)The mOmma Teether (Gino) is a colorful yellow ducky that is shaped like a ring with a head and two wings. The ducky is filled with water, making it perfect for chilling or freezing to help soothe your little one’s gums. The duck’s head is a somewhat hard plastic, but the body, which makes up the bulk of this teether, is soft and rubbery with a fair amount of give, making this a nice teething aid for your child. The mOmma Teether (Gino) also has some different nubbies, which add to the texture of the teething toy and help to massage sore gums.

This ducky teether helps to soothe pain from teething for babies aged six months and up. It is easy to hold and stays cool long enough to hold your baby’s interests and help your baby ease the pain of teething. This teether retails for about $5.99. The mOmma Teether is BPA free and available as a duck, penguin, or walrus. Distributed by Lansinoh Laboratories and hailing from Italy, mOmma products are designed as a developmental line of items for baby, boasting different colors, shapes, styles, and more. For more information, visit www.mommatechnology.com.

Molar Muncher

The Molar Muncher is an inventive way to help your baby relieve pain caused by teething. While this is not a water-filled teether, the clever design – much like a pacifier, binky, or dummy, whatever your preferred term – makes this teether enticing as well as familiar to most infants. This item is BPA-free and recommended by pediatricians and pediatric dentists. One of the most impressive qualities of the Molar Muncher is that it is designed to soothe the entire gum line simultaneously. This teether is seamless with a single piece construction. It has no cracks for germs to hide, and it is totally dishwasher safe.

The Molar Muncher is made of medical grade nontoxic silicone. It is designed to prevent tooth displacement and it is suitable for all stages of teething. This teether is hands-free and lightweight so your little one can use it while they play, and it won’t cause nipple confusion since it is a totally different shape. Although there is no water inside this teether, you can still chill it in the fridge to give your baby even more relief. The Molar Muncher retails for $12.99. For additional information or to buy this product, check out www.molarmuncher.com.

I received one of each of these baby teething products for the purpose of this review. They both have traits that seem especially valuable in placating a teething infant. If you have other tips on soothing a baby that is teething, please share them in our comments below.

 

Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

Last-minute Halloween costume ideasIn the teen-comedy Mean Girls, Cady Heron, the character said it best, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” In that case, your friend’s Halloween party is your runway to strut in the sexiest costume possible. Sexy school girl. Sexy Nemo. Sexy Snickers Bar. Sexy hotdog. Whether you’re checking out your slutty – sexy – options at your party store’s Halloween section, shopping sexy lingerie online or looking at pieces that you already have in your own closet, Halloween is the time of year to be sexy, to reveal more leg, to show more skin.

Continue reading Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

Gorgeous and Timeless Baby Fashions for Little Girls and Little Boys – Miniclasix and Pediped Review

PedipedBaby clothes can sometimes be so cute you can’t help yourself when it comes to picking out a new outfit, or five. Whether you have a little girl, a little boy, or more than one kid in tow, the fashions for babies and toddlers are getting cuter by the minute. Gorgeous and timeless, classic baby clothes are a great way to show off your own sense of style through your adorable princess or your handsome little man.

Spend even just five minutes online and you are sure to be overwhelmed with the vast array of cute baby clothes, shoes, and accessories. You can easily spend just as much, if not more, on your baby’s wardrobe than your own. You might even spend more time picking out fashions for your little one. The latest clothes and shoes for baby are just too cute to pass up!

In a recent quest to find some of the most beautiful and handsome fashions of the season for little girls and guys, I was introduced to the brand Miniclasix. I received a generous selection of baby and toddler clothes from Miniclasix, an extraordinary brand of baby and kid clothing that is sold in better department stores and specialty shops across the U.S. First off, Miniclasix designs absolutely stunning dresses and outfits for little girls. Take a look through their collections and you may find yourself dreaming up all the special places you can go and things you can do with your little girl all dolled up in their beautiful clothes. I received two dresses from Miniclasix and I am absolutely in love with both.

Ivory Crochet DressThe Ivory Crochet Dress with Tulle Skirting and matching Crochet Cardigan, both from the Tea Party collection, are really too precious for words. Honestly, if it came in my size, I think I would want to wear it too. This frilly dress is too gorgeous with its delicately crocheted neckline, sleeves, and bodice, and the sweet tulle skirt completes the look. The crochet work is beautiful beyond words on both the dress and the cardigan. It has a delicate beauty all its own, drawing the eye to the pattern of the threads as they come together and move apart.

Our daughter Natalie actually wore this dress the day of her Baptism – it was the dress we changed her into for the reception, since it was about 97 degrees in the church with no air conditioning on such a hot summer day. Everyone adored the dress and asked us where we had ever found it. I was proud to tell them all about Miniclasix. In fact, I would even recommend this lovely ivory crochet dress as a Baptism gown for your little girl if you are in need of one. The set also comes with a panty / diaper cover, and the cardigan comes with a little baby hat. This gown comes in sizes ranging from 3 to 24 months, and the matching cardigan comes in 0 to 24 months.

Netting Tutu Dress & Panty SetI also received a beautiful pink frilly dress, the Netting Tutu Dress & Panty Set from the Calypso collection. This is a bright salmon pink tank dress with a tutu skirt. The cotton bodice is very smooth, soft, and even a bit stretchy. This pretty in pink dress comes with its own bloomers or panty. The skirt of the dress is very well designed – it has a bottom tier of the cotton fabric and two upper tiers of ruffled tulle, giving it so much volume and dimension. Every stitch in the whole dress seems to be precisely in its place. I believe the quality of the Miniclasix products reaches far beyond many other baby clothes you would find in similar styles.

By the way, the perfect complement to such pretty dresses would be adorable little shoes. I would suggest pediped as a fabulous creator of top quality, beautiful shoes for kids. The pediped Originals Abigail Shoe in pink is a perfect example of a girl’s shoe that would suit either of the dresses above. These too-cute pink shoes are made from real, genuine leather and feature impressive stitching around the soles (hand-stitched!) as well as gorgeous flower designs on the uppers. I received a pair of these pink Abigail shoes from pediped for the purpose of review. They are a size x-small, 0-6 months, but my daughter has small feet and it is killing me waiting for her to fit into them!

Regardless, I want to go on about the quality of these cute pink baby shoes. These pink Mary Janes are so sweet with their two-tone pink flowers, one whole and one half shown on the shoe. The little ankle strap has plenty of Velcro so you can adjust the shoes as needed. The pediped Originals line is recommended by podiatrists and pediatricians because these shoes have soft soles that mimic barefoot walking. The shoes also feature a little ankle cushion. The interior of the shoe is very soft and the entire shoe – upper, lining, and sole – is made of leather. The Abigail shoe is available in pink, fuchsia, purple, or white/silver and retails for $35.

Pediped has shoes for boys and girls from birth on up to about age 7 or 8. For more information, check out www.pediped.com.

Top & Pant SetWhen it comes to boys’ fashions, Miniclasix has got the little guys covered, too. I received two cute outfits for boys, one on the casual side and another that is a little dressier. The first outfit is the Top & Pant Set from the Athletic Dept. collection, which is a T-shirt with trompe l’oeil sneaker detailing and khaki pants. The shirt features a cute design where the sneakers look as if they are tied together and dangling across your little one’s shoulders, loosely around the neck. The shirt is made from soft white cotton and the attention to detail is impeccable. The sneaker laces are actually sewn with grey thread in different places for added texture and dimension. The khaki pants are soft and feature a nice hemline with expert stitching. The front has a mock fly and the waistband is elastic. Each side of the pants has a white fatigued-looking stripe down the length of the legs. This would be a fun outfit for your little boy to wear for playtime with friends or anytime you need a look that is cute and casual.

Shirt & Short SetIn the Little Guy collection, I also received the Shirt & Short Set, which includes a soft denim button-up with cuffed sleeves and true linen khaki shorts. This outfit is very cute for a little boy and would make the perfect getup to wear to a summer party or other occasion. The denim button-up shirt has a collar that you can pop up, as well as buttons that seem to be made of brass or a similar looking material. This shirt has two mock pockets and a loop and button on each cuffed sleeve. The khaki pants are a whitish color and are made from 100% linen. They also have a mock fly and a single cargo pocket, which actually does open. The elastic waistband makes it easy to dress and undress on the fly, as we all know how messy some little boys can tend to be. The linen fabric is soft and the look is stylish.

Both of these looks make for a handsome wardrobe you and your spouse can truly appreciate, even if your little guy is too busy jumping in puddles to notice. The Miniclasix girls’ looks are honestly too cute for words. I am thrilled to have the chance to get to know this exquisite brand and I look forward to following their future collections as one season welcomes the next.

 

Summer Infant’s Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit Review

Dr. Mom Health & Grooming KitBabies require so much more than just their basic survival needs. Once you’ve got the feeding, changing, bathing, and cuddling down, you’ll find so many other things that your baby needs and enjoys. When it comes to healthcare and grooming, some things are obvious and others may catch you by surprise. That’s why it truly helps to have a baby healthcare and grooming kit on hand, like the Summer Infant’s Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit.

The Summer Infant Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit contains an array of items essential to your baby’s wellbeing, cleanliness, and safety. The kit contains a nasal aspirator, nail clippers, medicine spoon, comb and brush, medicine syringe, emery boards, alcohol swabs, digital thermometer, and an emergency information card. It is likely you will need each of these items at one time or another in caring for your infant. Keeping these items in a case all together helps you to always know where they are when the time comes that you need them.

First, I absolutely love the lime green and white color combination. The kit comes in a plastic case with a handle and the items are nicely organized. Once you remove each item from the plastic packaging inside the case, you will have room for even more baby health and grooming supplies if you wish to add them to this kit. The case itself is clear plastic and it has lime green slider locks that allow you to open and close the case.

I received one Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit from Summer Infant for the purpose of this review.

The Summer Infant Dr. Mom Health & Grooming Kit is available for purchase at your favorite baby stores, at Diapers.com, and at Amazon.com. It retails for about $14.99. For more information, check out www.summerinfant.com.

 

Benefits of Using Coupons to Save Money While Shopping Online

Coupon Chief DealsConvenience, cost savings, and time savings – these are three benefits you can enjoy when shopping online. Doing some of your shopping online allows you to compare products and prices across the entire country, and even other countries if you so desire. You can save yourself the time it would take to drive to one or more stores by simply shopping online for (almost) anything you need. Shopping online is also convenient, since you can do it in your pajamas if you like, during the day or even in the middle of the night when most brick-and-mortar stores are closed.

Yet another benefit of shopping online is the availability of online coupon codes, which help you to save money on your purchases or possibly even to score free shipping and other freebies. A savings site like CouponChief.com offers a wide array of online discounts and coupons to use when shopping online everywhere from Apple iTunes and Best Buy to Yves Saint Laurent Beauty and Zales, and everything in between. You can save money on special purchases as well as everyday items you need to buy anyway.

CouponChief.com organizes deals, discounts, and coupon codes by store and by category tags (such as Halloween, Christmas, or jewelry, for example) so shoppers can easily find the deals and promotions that will best benefit their current needs. The tags for the holidays, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, offer excellent deals for times of year when you are probably going to be spending money anyway. Be sure to save yourself some cash by always looking for coupon codes before you make your purchases online.

The site’s visitors are also rewarded for sharing deals they find, making CouponChief.com an even more extensive money-saving resource. Shoppers who share deals earn money whenever someone uses the deals they submitted.

Coupon Chief DealsCoupons on the Web and in local stores can save a boatload of money for families and individuals alike. You can almost always find some kind of deal or discount on your purchases, whether you are looking for fashion, beauty, electronics, gift ideas, pet products, toys, or something else entirely. What are your favorite money-saving tips, or the places you look for coupons and deals? Please share your tips and experiences in our comments below.

 

Hot Celebrity Halloween Costumes to Consider

Trick or TreatWhat better inspiration is there for Halloween costumes than Hollywood? Celebrity Halloween costumes are always present in parties. Perhaps the most popular of these are pop culture figures and newsmakers.

Lady Gaga Halloween

What’s Halloween without her little monsters following suit? Lady Gaga has inspired a slew of crazy outfits, and we’re pretty much loving them. The fame monster is perhaps one of those who should take credit for making Hollywood more interesting without the tabloid arrest warrants and mugshots. You can also dress up as Lady Gaga herself, creating a Lady Gaga Halloween costume complete with her crazy outfits and accessories.

Candy CornBaby, baby

A Justin Bieber Halloween costume might poke a little fun at the men out there. The hair, the bling, the blonde frills, the sneakers, and the jackets — they’re popular among pre-teen and teenage boys! If you have one at home, then this costume is perhaps the easiest one to create from scratch since all you need are probably in his closet. Now for the hair…

Katy Perry Halloween Costume

Katy Perry costumes are, next to Lady Gaga’s, one of the most recognizable ones in the current decade. You’ll recognize them from the music videos you see on television. Don’t forget to put on the push-up bras and the cones! If you look at images to help you create your Katy Perry costume, you will find dark hair, mega cleavage, and a retro / vintage style all her own.

Broadway Costumes

Moulin Rouge costumes and Chicago flapper dresses and trench coats are always fancy. Don’t limit yourself to these. There’s Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Cats, and the list goes on and on. You might not win the Tony, but you’ll be one of the more interesting costumes at the party.

Costumes from Movies and Series

Both the silver screen and the boob tube have recognizable characters. There’s the cast from Glee, That 70’s show, Grease, and Mary Poppins. Throw in some Kardashian sisters, Jersey Shore, or maybe the Osbournes while you’re at it.

Old Hollywood Costumes

Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Shirley Temple, Audrey Hepburn… These are celebrities of the golden era of Hollywood, and they’re iconic figures in history. The post-war era will need you to get all dolled up, the 1920’s will have you wearing flapper dresses, and the 60’s will make you don color blocks and sheaths. Every era in Tinseltown has a corresponding trend, so you might just find it fun to search through history and find what pleases you most.

There are plenty of costumes for you to try on this coming Halloween. Make sure to put on your best makeup with all the glitter, or even blood and gore, if you prefer!

 

Halloween Costume Ideas for Plus Size Women

Pumpkin PatchSome women might find Halloween costumes intimidating because it shows skin and, well, a whole lot of curves. But hey, what’s a little sexy without skin exposure, right? Nevertheless, there are many Halloween costume ideas for plus size women. You just need to know how to work it with a costume that accentuates your best features. Take the following ideas for flattering costumes for fuller figures.

Size Matters

Wanna go daring and do a Princess Leia in a bikini tip? Do not go for sizes that are too small for you, so you are on the safe side in avoiding wardrobe malfunctions and spill-overs. If you want to create an ample chest or cleavage, don’t get a smaller top. Get a push-up bra. Ill-fitting clothing is not just uncomfortable — it also makes you look like you’re trying too hard.

Only expose strategic places

Jack-O-LanternsYou may have cleavage to amp up your confidence, but go easy on the neckline. Make sure your chest is tastefully exposed. A few inches of cleavage is often the best way to do it. Likewise, fully covered costumes are just as sexy. Think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill or Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. Sexy without too much skin, right? In fact these are slimming Halloween costumes.

Think creative while considering your figure

Getting a Halloween costume does not necessarily mean looking fabulously sexy. There are costumes that will fit your figure perfectly. A va va voom ensemble may be as simple as a French maid or little Bo Peep. It’s how you’ll morph into character that will make your costume a lot more interesting than how it looks. Maybe that would be one reason for you to be a little more sociable, right?

Splurge on corsettes

Corsettes are specially made to create a desirable waist and an hourglass figure. You can go for costumes like those found in Moulin Rouge or Vegas themed parties. Make sure to wear stockings or leggings to make your thighs and legs shapelier!

A lady can look good for Halloween no matter what shape or size she is. This proves she has the confidence to strut her stuff without being overly tacky. A well-fitting costume not only enhances her curves, but it also makes her look and feel good — isn’t that what we all want?

 

Quickie Chicken Soup When You’re by Yourself or Anytime

Chicken Noodle SoupWhenever I get a cold, I make myself homemade chicken soup. I don’t know what it is about chicken soup, especially homemade chicken soup, but I really find myself feeling better after eating it for a few days. It is probably all in my head, but I say go with whatever works. Here is my recipe for quickie chicken noodle soup when you aren’t feeling well.

Before you get started, be sure you have the following ingredients at home:

-Chicken broth (5 or 6 cans or 2 to 3 big cartons)

-Carrots (I use about a half a bag of baby carrots)

-Celery (I use about 2-3 stalks)

-Small noodles like Ditalini (I use about 2 to 3 cups)

-Chicken breast (at least 2-3 chicken breasts)

-Olive oil (2 tablespoons or so)

-Salt and pepper

Soup potNow onto the fun part! I just kind of wing it for my recipe, so feel free to tweak my steps and amounts to do what works for you.

Follow these steps to make easy chicken noodle soup in about an hour at home:

1.Put some olive oil in a stirfry pan or skillet.

2.Cut up your chicken breast into cubes.

3.Once the oil has warmed up, toss in the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4.Stir the chicken until it is white all the way through.

a.Note: Cooking the chicken this way makes it retain its shape in the soup.

5.While the chicken is cooking, pour the chicken broth into a large pot with a lid and turn it on medium-low. I like to use three big cartons of chicken broth because I plan to eat the soup for days.

6.Dice up the carrots and celery and set aside.

7.When the chicken is done, toss it into the pot with the broth.

8.Sautee the veggies in the pan with the leftover oil or add a bit more if needed.

9.Add the veggies to the broth and chicken.

10.Put the uncooked noodles directly into the pot with the broth, reduce heat, and let the simmer for a while. Keep checking for doneness.

11.When noodles are cooked all the way through, it’s time to enjoy your soup!

This recipe makes a delicious chicken noodle soup every time. If you have other tips for a yummy chicken soup recipe to help you ditch that cold, pleas share your suggestions in our comments below.

 

Fancy Dress Ideas for Halloween and Costume Parties

Jack-O-LanternWe’re halfway through October, and Halloween is less than two weeks away! Do you have any ideas what you’re going to wear to office Halloween parties or masquerades with your friends? Halloween parties, just like any other party, come in different levels of formality. Fancy dress ideas for Halloween and costume parties are popular choices for those who love to dress up, especially for parties with ultra formal dress codes such as masquerade balls or cocktail parties.

Period Costumes

One fancy dress idea for a costume is going for a specific period in history. Renaissance, Medieval, and Saloon clothing give you a variety to choose from. Bodices, corsets, full skirts, drop waists, and togas are some of the choices you have. Just think about which decade or era you’d most want to go back to, and start from there.

Jack-O-Lantern familyOscars

Some parties have a glamorous touch, and the most exquisite of all are patterned after the Oscars. Besides, who wouldn’t want to walk the red carpet, right? Remember Julia Roberts’ vintage Valentino, Halle Berry’s daring Ellie Saab, or Michelle Williams’ canary yellow Vera Wang gown? Can you imagine how beautiful those things would look if you were to wear them? If you aren’t bent on really getting into their shoes, you can come up with your own Oscar-worthy number — just make sure you’re as elegant as every other celebrity that graced the red carpet.

Wild West

Another idea for a fancy costume for women is to go back to the Wild West. Come in as a southern belle or a saloon gal and your partner can come in as a cowboy or better — Zorro. The basics you have to remember for a couple’s fancy dress costume in this theme is that you have to come in boots and a cowboy hat.

Fancy Couple Costumes

Fancy couple costumes can be fun to pull off. Pick a theme, say a popular movie or icon, and find ways to imitate them through your clothes. Famous ones are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Bonnie and Clyde, James Bond and a Bond Girl, Zeus and Hera, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, and Peter Pan and Wendy. Of course there’s the proverbial Disney princess and her prince charming — if your partner is willing to give into your childhood fantasy.

For The Men We Know and Love

Apart from ideas coming from the couple costumes, there are plenty more fancy outfits for men. A sexy number could be a Mafia costume. Think The Godfather series and you’re set. Tuxedos are always a elegant no matter what the occasion. You can say he’s pulling a James Bond or Pierce Brosnan.

There are a myriad of fancy dress ideas for both men and women this coming Hallow’s Eve. So, if you think you need a little more help choosing which one to wear for that formal party, think elegance.

 

Baby Bottle and Accessory Drying Racks Review

Boon Grass drying rackWhen our daughter was first born, I didn’t know what kind of drying rack to get for her bottles, pacifiers, breast pump parts, and other washable baby accessories. I did feel strongly that her items should have their own separate place to dry, and resting them on a paper towel just didn’t seem to cut it for me all the time. I invested in the Boon Grass countertop drying rack and the Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin. I like both for different reasons and have since narrowed down my use to just one of these racks.

The Grass countertop drying rack by Boon is as simple as it gets. The design is cool and clean with a basic green and white color scheme. The individual grass blades stick up, keeping all kinds of baby items elevated with sufficient air flow at all angles. This baby items drying rack is, of course, BPA-free, and also free from phthalates and PVC. I feel like the design of this rack is so simple and neutral that it will look great in any kitchen. It is a classy design that doesn’t add clutter or overwhelm your existing kitchen counter setup.

The flat surface and geometric shape make it easy to dry items of all sizes, including bottles, nipples, all the washable breast pump parts, and even baby toys and pacifiers, often at the same time. The drying rack is a 9.5” square with a 2.5” height. The water that drips off of the baby items conveniently collects in the white tray that is under the grass blades. Simply drain this tray after all of your items have dried. Both pieces come apart easily for washing, as the grass drying rack rests neatly inside the white tray.

Munchkin Sprout Drying RackThe Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack has a unique design with an expandable rack that collapses in size and a spinner tray to allow you to rotate the drying rack a full 360 degrees to easily access all the items you are drying. This baby item drying rack has a fun design that can hold a lot of pieces with a small footprint on your countertop space. The Sprout Drying Rack by Munchkin can hold up to 12 bottles of varying sizes, plus baby spoons or silverware, breast pump parts, pacifiers, toys, and more.

The Sprout Drying Rack is also green and white in color and has a fun nature-inspired design. The white spinner tray has cute leaf shapes that also help to keep the bottles and baby accessories elevated just enough to get a decent airflow to speed drying. The tray has slots so rings and disks can rest upright for quicker drying time. This drying rack also has numerous “sprout” appendages that allow you to place both plastic and glass baby bottles and other items higher up for maximum air flow. You can place the rings on the sprout posts first and then place the bottles to maximize space when drying. This rack also has a cup to place things like baby spoons, forks, and other small items. Like the Grass rack, the Munchkin alternative also has a built-in reservoir to catch dripping water for easy drainage.

The one thing I did not love about the Munchkin drying rack is simply that it doesn’t store as easily as the Grass rack when not in use. Once put together, the cup and sprout posts do not come apart. You can twist them to make a flatter shape, but I still found it easier to store my Grass drying rack in a cabinet when not using it. Also, I tend to leave my Boon Grass drying rack out on the counter when not in use, too, simply because it is very attractive without having a ‘cluttery’ look.

I bought both of these on Amazon when I was also getting a microwave steam sterilizer to clean and sterilize all of our daughter’s bottles and things. I found having both drying racks back then was very helpful and reduced the amount of time I had to spend on that chore. Now that we have cleaned everything, we only use bottles once in a while since I am still nursing. I feel I would be fine with just one drying rack. Of the two, I would keep the Grass drying rack due to its attractive design, its simplicity, and its easy storage when not in use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I actually came to prefer the Grass drying rack over time. It had fewer pieces to fuss with, accommodated any number of different items, and easily stashed away in the cabinet between washings and whenever guests were coming to the house. I would definitely see ourselves repurposing the Grass drying rack for other things as well, like small pieces of kitchen gadgets, cookie cutters, icing gun or cookie gun pieces, shot glasses, and more. This is a drying rack that anyone could enjoy, with or without kids and babies in the picture.

Memorial Day or Labor Day Weekend Wedding Ideas

Wedding CakePlanning your wedding on a holiday weekend definitely has its pros and cons, so be sure to give it some thought before you set your wedding date in stone. If you are interested in considering a Labor Day weekend wedding (or a Memorial Day weekend wedding, for that matter), be sure to keep these points in mind. If you decide to move forward with the wedding planning, here are some holiday weekend wedding ideas for you to consider.

In planning a Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend wedding, one thing to consider is that your guest attendance might be somewhat lacking due to folks being out of town or having other plans for the holiday. As long as you are comfortable in knowing this may impact the responses you get, you can keep moving forward with your wedding plans. The Memorial and Labor Day weekends also offer some benefits – such as guests being able to make it into a fun long weekend away and the flexibility you have to plan more events for your wedding during the extra weekend days. You can also plan your wedding on a Saturday or a Sunday since most people should have Monday off for the holiday.

Wedding CakeThe wide array of Memorial Day and Labor Day wedding ideas all comes back to whether you want to have a patriotic wedding or simply a wedding taking place over the long weekend. Here are some tips on planning both a long holiday weekend wedding and a patriotic wedding.

Top Ideas for a Memorial Day or Labor Day Weekend Wedding

A Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend wedding can be a lot of fun for so many reasons. Consider these ideas for a holiday weekend wedding as well as a patriotic themed wedding.

Memorial Day or Labor Day Weekend Wedding Tips

•Consider planning your wedding at a location where your guests may wish to make a long weekend stay out of it.

•Give some thought to having a brunch on the morning after the wedding and invite all of your guests who choose to stay overnight.

•Consider planning a few different events following your wedding and leave for your honeymoon on Tuesday or Wednesday instead.

•Put together a list of Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend activities for your guests who may be coming from out of town. They may like to have some options for things to do during the rest of the long weekend, if they choose to stay.

Patriotic Wedding Tips

•Coordinate your wedding flowers with the patriotic color scheme. Choose reds, whites, and blues in a variety of blossom shapes.

•Look at red or blue wedding shoes and a red or blue wedding garter to keep with the patriotic colors in your holiday weekend wedding.

•Consult with your baker to come up with a fun and patriotic wedding cake design, or choose a variety of creatively decorated wedding cupcakes.

•Choose table linens and other wedding decorations in a red, white, and blue color scheme.

•If you are feeling a bit funky, consider trying some Memorial Day or Labor Day beauty tips, like a bit of body glitter or a touch of blue mascara if you feel especially bold.

Another idea for a Labor Day or Memorial weekend wedding is to plan a destination wedding or a wedding out of town at a nice location you enjoy. Your family and friends can make a mini-vacation out of your wedding weekend. If you do choose a destination wedding, you can also get a jump start on your honeymoon.

Remember, many people plan vacations or other social events over the three-day weekends in the summertime. If possible, be sure to send out save-the-date cards to give your guests as much notice as possible so they will be more likely to attend your wedding.