Give the Gift of Pur Green Pur Water Filtration System

Pur Water Filtration SystemThinking of ways to give green gifts this year for Christmas, here is another great idea from Summer.

Give a gift of Pur green by giving a water filtration system. There are several things I like about the Pur water filtration system []. I really like that you can purchase a standalone pitcher or a faucet attachment. I also like that Pur has an alliance with the Children’s Safe Drinking Water campaign, so you not only help our receiver with the gift of health through Pur water but you help the environment, and child around the world who need clean, safe drinking water.

To assist in cleaning up our (as a society’s) act you’ll need somewhere to store the water you create with Pur. For this, I would recommend accompanying your present with a Klean Kanteen. Both of these green gifts are a great idea of the person on your list whose New Year resolution is to lose weight or get healthier.

Here on Mom Start, we’ve worked with many different water filtration brands. Using plastic water bottles leaves a carbon footprint, even though they are recycled it uses resources to recycle them. Using plastic water bottles also takes up a lot of space and can be dangerous. If the water bottles are left in the car and they freeze or get too hot then the chemicals from the bottles are released into the water and you are then drinking those harmful chemicals. So reduce your carbon footprint or help a friend lose some of theirs by getting them a Pur Water Filtration System.


About Summer:

Summer is the President of our Local MOMS Club chapter, she is the mother of two adorable active boys, and is always thinking of ways to help others. She is a friend, a wife, and always busy as all mommies are. She is very active on Facebook, addicted to Geocaching and very interested in organic and green living.

A Love of Hallmark Ornaments

Happy Holidays Hallmark Photo OrnamentQuite simply put, I love Hallmark Christmas Ornaments. My husband and I drool over their Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments every Christmas. Me being the tightwad that I am have never been able to stomach the price of the Hallmark Holiday Ornaments, however, somehow having children makes the price, not quite as important.

One of the frames we just love, are the large array of Our Family Hallmark Photo Ornamentphoto ornaments. We have two we purchased last year, and two I received from Hallmark PR this year. The ones we have last year, one has a family picture and the other has a photo of the kids together. So this year, we did the same thing with the photo frames we received for review.

The Happy Holidays photo frame with the photo of Zoe and Miles playing on the couch plays the song, “Happy Holidays”. It was fun putting it on the tree because Miles man pushed the button about 10 times. Christmas makes me so happy! I adore everything about Christmas, the music, the food, the family time. I LOVE IT.

Jessie Hallmark OrnamentThis year when we were searching for the special ornaments for the kids (we get ornaments for the kids every year, it’s a tradition, it’s been a tradition for my husband and I since we were both kids and we wanted to do it for our own children) we waited a tad too long for one of them.

The kids are very much in Love with everything Toy Story. It doesn’t matter which story, 1, 2, or 3 Miles loves them all. Zoe, prefers the episodes with Jessie of course, which is why we Fisher Price Airplane Hallmark Ornamentpurchased the Jessie ornament for her. Which leads me to what we waited too long for. We wanted to get Miles the High-Flyin’ Friends. Apparently Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments are harder to find especially the Toy Story ornaments. We called every Hallmark Store in the area, and my husband decided to pick another ornament for Miles man. He picked out the Play Family Fun Jet. The Family Fun Jet was still a great big hit. Miles Loves it. He loves airplanes, he loves Our Christmas Tree 2010taking me on blogging trips because he knows that means he will get to see another airplane.

So this is our Christmas tree, it’s filled with lots of love, beautiful lights, and plenty of meaningful ornaments.

We received A Hallmark Sample Kit of assorted Hallmark items, including the two photo frames you see in the first pictures. I was in attendance at a party sponsored by Hallmark at Blogher 2010 and connected with their PR firm there. None of this affects the fact that I have and always will love Hallmark. They have excellent products all year round, Precious Moments were always a big tradition growing up, but now, it’s mainly a Christmas store, and of course, I can always find the perfect card in there too. Thank you Hallmark for the samples. Miles and Zoe also love the Recordable Story book Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Give Live Flowers or Herbs as Gifts

Bring in the green! With less or no open window time during the chilly winter months there is less fresh air flow through the house. Bring living plants inside the house for some fresh air. This is highly recommended in kids’ bedrooms too; just beware of the level of your plant, curiosity of your child and whether or not the plant is poisonous. This is a perfect time of year to start an herb garden for holiday cooking or giving a hostess gift of a new house plant. To make the gift more personal and not a “last minute drive-by gift” pot the plant for the receiver. I have a holiday party today in fact and will be bringing the hostess an orchid.


Again this is a great classroom or teacher gift that kids can get involved in! Your child can simply transfer a plant or you can have your child make a terrarium using several plants in an enclosed atmosphere. Both options offer children a great science lesson about plants if you’re willing to talk to them through it all, and a great social lesson on giving and gratitude if your plant happens to be a gift.


Find Directions on how to make a Terrarium For Kids at Storm The Castle.


This article was written by Summer as part of the Red and Green series on Mom Start. I love getting flowers as a gift, but when they just die, I feel like it was a waste, wouldn’t it be great to give everyone live flowers? I love the ideas she shared with us today, don’t you?

About Summer:

Summer is the President of our Local MOMS Club chapter, she is the mother of two adorable active boys, and is always thinking of ways to help others. She is a friend, a wife, and always busy as all mommies are. She is very active on Facebook, addicted to Geocaching and very interested in organic and green living.

Beauty Gift Basket Giveaway, Conair Infiniti You Style Curling Iron, Soft Lips, and Scrunci

I want to share with you the Conair Holiday gift guide. I have tried each of these three products, and I would have to say that the hair dryer, Infiniti Cord-Keeper By Conair, is my favorite because it has the retractable cord.

Start out by blow-drying hair with either the Infiniti Pro by Conair 1875-Watt Salon-Performance AC Motor Styling Tool that utilizes a powerful AC (alternating current) motor, making it easy to harness salon-quality power at home, or the Infiniti Cord-Keeper By Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Hair Styler that has a cord that retracts right back into the handle for easy storage! Each uses ionic technology that reduces static electricity and leaves hair silkier, shinier, and more manageable. (suggested retail price of $38.99 for the Infiniti Pro and $36.99 for the Cord-Keeper). I purchased the cord-keeper on my own and love it!!

Finish the look by adding soft, sexy curls with the Infiniti by Conair You Curl that has a unique, clamp-free design and a cone-shaped barrel that creates trendy, free-flowing spirals with no “clamp kinks.” (suggested retail price $49.99). The You Curl was not my favorite because I kept burning my fingers on it. But if you need a multipurpose tool, try the Infiniti by Conair You Style that can create both soft waves and sleek straight locks with the flip of the wrist! I do like the Infiniti by Conair You Style. I have one like it and  use it all the time. I also received one in exchange for this post, but it was used as a donation to the tweet drive in Seattle. (suggested retail price $41.99).

One product that I have not tried would be the Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Multisized Hot Rollers. The 20 multi-sized ceramic hot rollers instantly heat up, and the clips and rollers are both heated for extra hold.  (suggested retail price $41.99)

Conair products are available nationwide at mass market and drug store retailers as well as Visit for more information and to enter the Holiday Hair Haul Sweepstakes to win an assortment of hair tools and accessories along with a great beauty bag set!

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, I’m a scunci girl! No matter what length my hair is it’s almost always up in a scunci!

Looking to “do it up” for the holidays?  Look to scunci hair accessories!  The scunci UpZing double combs can create dozens of styles from polished ponies to glam up-dos, and new Evolution hair ties, headbands and claw clips utilize new stay-put technology to hold your style until you take it out!

scunci products are available nationwide at mass market and drug store retailers. For more information, visit or visit the scunci Facebook page at or to enter the Holiday Hair Haul sweepstakes.

Soft Lips Lip GlossSoft Lips was also a supporter in the tweetdrive. They sent us 100 samples for the swag bags. So Soft Lips You rock. Lips need protection especially during the winter months, so protect them with Softlips lip conditioning balms. The new Softlips limited edition holiday flavors- Sugar & Spice, Winter Mint, Sugar Cookie, Sugar Plum Berry and Mint with a hint of Vanilla provide a tasty winter treat for your lips!  Each irresistibly delicious flavor  also features SPF 20.sun protection (suggested retail price for the Holidays 5-pack $9.99).  Softlips products are available in mass retail, supermarkets and drug stores nationwide along with Visit to learn more about the products or access the new Facebook page.


Enter to Win:

Infiniti by Conair You Style, a few scunci products, a few soft lips products, Certain Dri Anti-Perspirant, and ROHTO Cooling Eye Drops. So you win a really cool Beauty Gift Basket.

To Enter:

Leave me a comment telling me which product you are most excited to win.


Beauty Gift Basket #Giveaway including Conair, Scrunci, Soft Lips and More Enter Here

Enter The Commit A Minute Giveaway
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Leave a comment for every entry, This giveaway ends January 3. I received samples of each product to use as a donation in the TweetDrive. All rules can be found under giveaway rules.

Making Hot Apple Cider with a Keurig Coffee Brewer

GMCR_Ntrls_HAC_16My husband and I have been using and loving the Keurig Coffee Brewer for about 4 years now, which I think is about when they came out. My husband loves gadgets and we used to waste a ton of coffee. A TON! We originally purchased the Keurig coffee brewer when I was pregnant with Zoe, I certainly wasn’t going to get up and make my husband a cup of coffee being as big and uncomfortable as I was.

We make coffee all day long and it’s fresh and that’s what I love about Keurig. We can make a cup of pretty much anything when we are ready for it. We don’t have to drink the same flavor Apple Cideror at the same time. We also love to give Keurig Coffee Brewers away as Christmas presents. Last year we gave one away to my sister in law.

I love holiday beverages, and the kids just adore hot cocoa and Hot Apple Cider. After a long wait, Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters have debuted Apple Cider K-Cups, which will provide you with a a warm, comforting mug of cider with a hint of brown sugar and just a touch of cinnamon. The Apple Cider K-cups are delicious. I think they got the recipe just right, sometimes I find Apple Cider to be too much on the sour side. The Hot Apple Cider K-cups do have just the right amount of brown sugar keeping me from making a sour face as I drink it.



keurig mini plus

Enter to Win:

Keurig Mini Coffee Brewer and A box of Apple Cider K-cups

To Enter:

Visit Keurig and tell me which color of the Mini you would hope to win or visit Green Mountain Coffee and tell me what flavor of coffee you want to try.

Extra Entries:


Hot Apple Cider K-cups #Giveaway & A Keurig Mini Plus to Brew it in Enter Here

Enter The Commit A Minute Giveaway
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List this giveaway on any giveaway site, dig or stumble or use any of the share methods below facebook included (just leave a link to this post wherever you share it
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Leave a comment for every entry, This giveaway ends January 3. I received samples of Apple Cider K-cups to facilitate this review. All rules can be found under giveaway rules.

How to Use Hasbro Vintage Star Wars Action Figures to Make a Monopoly Game

Hasbro Sent us one Han Solo action figure this year to get me to advertise about their release of Vintage Star Wars Action Figures, well that brought up some very fond memories of what my husband gave me for Christmas years ago.


IMG_7272I love Han Solo, so my husband bought every single Han Solo action figure he could find to make me the Monopoly of my dreams. Oh, have I ever mentioned that I’m addicted to the game Monopoly and we have over 50 versions of the game, and yes, My Han Solo edition that my husband made is my favorite version of Monopoly!

This is basically what he did.

He used the movie, the actual movie to capture high quality graphics to create game board. I don’t have the game board anymore or I would show you a picture of it. The board didn’t survive moving and storage, but we do have the digital copies somewhere so my husband can recreate it for me sometime.

He spend hours hunting down the action figures about 7 years ago. It looks like Star Wars action figures are a lot easier to find right now verses 5 years ago. But anyhow, he  found about 10 different characters and half of them were all different versions of Han Solo.

He found some acrylic frames and used those as the boards for the action figures to stand on. He hot glued them down.

acrylic framesStar Wars Action Figures

He printed up chance, and community chest cards and called them Fate of the Galaxy and Pilot’s Maneuver.  He used beads as currency, and wooden pieces as houses and really cool carved pieces as the hotels. IMG_7273

He also put a great amount of detail into the Monopoly property cards.

Monopoly property cards

I can not tell you how much my husband and I love to play games together, it’s really sad to say that I spend way more time on the computer than with him. Which is why I’m such a strong supporter of creating a family game night in your family. Then you all force yourselves to stop everything that you are doing and be a family, make happy memories and just have a great time together.

If you have gifts to check off on your holiday shopping list or are in search for fun entertainment as your family gathers during the yuletide season, look no further than the game aisle. On December 5, the USA Weekend to had exclusive coupons offering $5 off a great selection of Hasbro games including brands that you know and love, such as Scrabble, Twister, Trivial Pursuit, Sorry!, Pictureka!, and more. And starting December 6, visit to access these coupons online. It’s not too late to get a few coupons!

I received two action figures in exchange for this post. I donated one to the Tweetdrive in Seattle and kept the other for my Han Solo edition Monopoly game.

Ralph Lauren Donation Ralph Lauren Baby Layette

I’m a Ralph Lauren Ambassador working with Mom Central and as part three of the campaign with both of them, Ralph Lauren sent me a beautiful baby layette. The Ralph Lauren Baby Layette was donated to Treehouse as part of the Seattle Tweet Drive I participated in.

Ralph Lauren Baby Layette

The Layette was absolutely gorgeous. The hat and mittens were so soft and looked like they would keep a baby so warm. I was very honored and humbled by the ability to donate these wonderful items to such a worthy charity as Treehouse. Treehouse is an orphanage, a charity set up to help orphans and families that adopt, or foster them. Children are able to go “shopping” as you will and pick out a Christmas present. I think it’s an amazing place helping so many kids in need. Last year they helped over 5,000 different children.

My son Miles helped me to take photos of all the products that Ralph Lauren sent us to donate.

Ralph Lauren Layette one piece


Cotton Cable Hat & Bootie Set

  • Adorable baby’s hat and bootie set knit in soft, hearty cabled cotton.
  • Cable-knit hat with ribbed foldover brim and seamed crown for a snug fit.
  • Cabled booties have a ribbed foldover ankle cuff with a delicate cord woven through and tied at the ankle and textured knit sole.
  • 100% cotton. Machine washable. Imported.
  • Price: $65.00


Snap-Front Footed Coverall

  • A long-sleeved footed coverall in soft cotton jersey is crafted in an easy snap-front design with essential fold-over cuffs.
  • Ribbed neckline and placket.
  • Full-snap front down to the footed hem for ultra-easy on and off.
  • Long raglan sleeves have turn-back cuffs that fold over your infant’s hands to prevent scratches.
  • Tonal embroidered pony accents the chest.
  • 100% cotton. Machine washable. Imported.
  • Price: $27.50


"I am a participant in a Mom Central Consulting campaign for Ralph Lauren and received a Ralph Lauren Baby Layette set to help facilitate my review."

Find Your Secret Santa, White Elephant, and Christmas Gift at TJMaxx and Marshalls

It is the season of giving and Holiday parties. There is something else to do at every turn, but you don’t have to break the bank to impress your co-workers or friends. You can find the perfect gift at TJMaxx and Marshalls and for a discounted price. I had the privilege of visiting with TJMaxx and Marshalls at the TJX headquarters in Boston almost two years ago. We went over their product lines and I was quite impressed to find that most of what they carried is name brand merchandise at a low low price, so low that most of the brands don’t want TJ Maxx to advertise that they carry them there. So it’s a secret, and a fun shopping experience. The hunt is on to find perfect gifts that anyone and everyone will love!

I was able to participate in a Secret Santa surprise with two other bloggers, one sent me a gift and I sent a different blogger a gift. I had a great time going into TJ Maxx and looking for something for my friend. I found something that I really thought would be a great gift, they were bunny slippers and they were adorable. They were such a good price that I thought, well, I’ll have to pick out three more things if everything is this good a deal, and guess what, I ended up putting the bunny slippers back and getting a total of four items. Two shirts, a scarf, and some of my favorite makeup, Clinique in hopes that she would like it as well.

But what I received was the perfect gift for me.

One I received a set of gloves


Two I received cute laptop bag.


I’ve been looking for a laptop bag that is cute like this one, I’m always using a backpack and feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. The gloves are cashmere and are so soft originally 60.00 marked down to 29.99. I’ve been using them since I received them and have to keep the dog at bay because she keeps trying to bit them. And I love them too much for her to turn them into shreds. Then the laptop bag was 19.99 and originally 45.00. So when your thinking of that perfect gift or getting a white elephant gift and you need to stay under a certain amount, look no further than TJ Maxx or Marshalls. 


Thank you to TJMaxx and Marshalls for including me in the Secret Santa exchange this year. They provided me with a gift card to purchase a gift for another blogger and paid for the shipping to send the gift to that blogger.

Be Close to Kids Even When You are Far Away Operation Record a Story

We recently received two copies of Twas the Night Before Christmas Record a Story from Publications International. Record a Story offers a unique and affordable solution for families to stay connected and “be together” at story time, even when distance keeps them apart.  Record A Story is available in 4 different titles for $19.99 at local Toys R Us, Walmart, Borders and Barnes & Noble nationwide, and at  The books also engage kids in reading in a whole new way, and it is highly appealing to kids because they can record their own voices reading the story.  This motivates kids to be enthusiastic about reading and encourages them at an early age to develop a life-long love of books. I know it’s true because Zoe and Miles both want to keep the book and I’m supposed to be giving one of the two books away as a giveaway here on Mom Start.

clip_image001I also thought you might be interested to learn about a new program called Operation Record a Story, which launched on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2010.  Publications International {PIL’s} Record a Story books are currently being recorded by servicemen and servicewomen at USO locations in the United States, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.  After the book captures the service member’s voice reading the story out loud, it will be sent, together with a video of the parent recording the story, to their kids in time for the holidays.

“We are extremely excited to introduce this creative and affordable product that is a heartwarming gift for young kids who love story time, and can now hear their favorite stories brought to life by parents or other loved ones,” said Mike Sieczkowski, Executive Vice President of Sales at PIL.  “In addition, Record a Story is highly appealing to kids because they can also record their own voices reading the story.  This motivates kids to be enthusiastic about reading and encourages them at an early age to develop a life-long love of books.  In this way, Record a Story is the perfect addition to the PIL family of products.”


So far, my kids are loving Record a Story. I recorded my own voice as the reader of the book, and Zoe likes to listen to a page and then repeat all of what she just heard. She’s always loved looking at books and now just by opening a page she can listen to mommy read it no matter what I’m doing and then read it aloud to herself. The only problem we’ve been having with these books as that sometimes you have to keep the page very still, and open just right for it to read the entire page. It likes to stop and start as kids squirm with the book in their hands.


Record a Story will launch with four titles:
· ’Twas the Night Before Christmas – The classic holiday story;
· Guess How Much I Miss You – An original story with a rhyming narrative about missing a loved one who is far away;
· Sesame Street: Together at Heart – A story from Elmo about special things that make loved ones feel close when they can’t be together; and
· Dora the Explorer – The popular Nickelodeon character and her friends reminisce about some of their favorite adventures.  This title is available exclusively at Toys“R”Us and

Each Record a Story consists of seven illustrated spreads on sturdy pages, as well as a deluxe padded cover with embossed and foiled details that truly elevate the product to keepsake status.  Perfect for lap-time, each landscape-format book is 10 inches by 8 inches. The storybook’s recording function operates on three AAA batteries (included with purchase) and will not be erased when the batteries are replaced. 

Enter to Win:

Twas the night before Christmas Record a Story.

To Enter:

Leave me a comment telling me who you would want to be the voice on the book

Extra Entries:

Enter The Commit A Minute Giveaway
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Leave a comment for every entry,

You’ll have to hold onto the book until next year because this giveaway ends December 27th. I received the samples mentioned above free to me in exchange for my unbiased opinion. All rules can be found under giveaway rules.

5.00 Gift Ideas, Stocking Stuffers, and Home Made Baked Goods

I tried to make a video for this post 3 times and after the fourth time of not saving and having the kids distracting me I gave up. The kids were just excited to have all of the ingredients out to make fudge again. Why are we making Fudge again, because it’s a great home made baked gift that is easy to make, about 5.00 to make, and everyone loves it!


imageWalmart asked me to check out their prices and see if I could find everything I needed for 5.00 or less.

I packed up Miles in the van and off to Walmart we went. I set out just to get some baking goods, but then found so many other items that we use for cheaper than at the grocery store we usually go to, so I stocked up on things like refried beans, taco shells, and other necessities and I still came out of the store for under 25.00. We decided to make Fantasy Fudge, and only because the sugar was not as cheap as I was expecting it did actually cost us a little more than 5.00 to make Fantasy Fudge.

imageFantasy Fudge:

1 jar of Kraft Marshmallow cream (1.00)
Evaporated Milk (.78) Name Brand Carnation was only (1.00)
3 cups Sugar (2.59 of course you have to factor into how many cups of sugar are in the bag so this number is actually lower)
box and a half of Semi-Sweet Chocolate (1.79 + 89)
Butter (.89)
Vanilla (2.50)

Total just over 5.00

So I decided to make a video after all!

I started thinking about the fact that some of the items cost more, but you are only going to be using a fraction of it in the ingredients. So Fantasy Fudge is closer to 5.00 to make than I first realized.

Walmart also has a lot of recipe ideas for other baked goods to give to your friends, family, and neighbors. Try out these different recipes for under 5.00.

Holiday Sugar Cookies
Butter Toffee Bars
Gingerbread Men Cookies
Old Fashioned Gingerbread


Walmart also sent me some 5.00 Stocking Ideas!

Oral-B Smile and Play Pack (includes tooth brush, tooth paste and kids floss; Licensed: Toy Story 3, Disney Princesses, Cars, Spiderman, Sponge Bob) – $5.00

Select DVD Movie Titles (Talladega Nights, Caddyshack, The Karate Kid and more) – $5.00

Old Spice Classic Collection Gift Set (includes 1 cologne and 1 deodorant) – $5.00

Faded Glory Winter Apparel (including hats, gloves and cotton tights) – $1.00 – $5.00

Bodycology (including body mist, body cream or hand sanitizer) – $1.00 each

Holiday Time Games and Activities (multipacks range from 3-12 items per pack) – $1.00

Candy Assortments include Bob’s Candy Canes, Baby Bottle Pop Candy, Dubble Bubble or Tootsie Roll Reusable Banks, Starburst Fruit Chews and more – $1.00

I would love to hear your ideas? How do you give a quality gift for 5.00 or less?



I was provided with a gift card from Walmart to facilitate this review.