Mommy Living the Life of Riley!

http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com

Mommy Living the Life of Riley is a family-friendly product review and giveaway mom blog that also offers plenty of parenting experiences, tips, humor and fun along the way!

Melissa is a winner of Top 25 Product Review Moms - 2012

What are your favorite products that you've seen this year that would make great stocking stuffers?

I'm a big fan of giving children high quality reading materials as stocking stuffers. Magazine subscriptions like SI Kids, Ranger Rick and Highlights will put a smile on their faces on Christmas Day as well as throughout the rest of the year.

Now that children have access to technology such as iPads, I also think premium educational apps make great stocking stuffers. My personal favorites are FarFaria, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Wildlife Count Along and Ranger Rick Junior Appventures App.

What's your favorite resource for discovering new products?

I subscribe to over 30 fellow product review blogs to find the latest and greatest family friendly items on the market. The one thing I love about product review blogs is that small companies' products get featured just as much as the large retailers' items do. Just because a company is small, doesn't mean their product doesn't rock and product review blogs are a great way to tap into this market.

Whats the best parenting product you've ever reviewed?

I've reviewed a slew of amazing parenting products so far, but my all time favorite would have to be the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Monitor. It's simply fantastic and a product that we rely on each and every day in our home.

http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/review-summer-infant-baby-touch-digital-color-video-monitor-the-absolute-best/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bq3H_OeBWBA

What is the best product you've reviewed that you think every mom should own? (please include a link to the review)

Melissa Cleaver

I've reviewed so many great family-friendly products, that it's hard to say for sure, but one thing that I personally use on a daily basis is the Activeion Ionator HOM. This cleaning system uses only tap water and no harmful chemicals, yet gets your home extremely clean. I've saved a ton of room in my pantry because now I don't need all of those harmful cleaning products anymore!
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What's a great present under $30 for a toddler (between 18 and 36 months)?

Melissa Cleaver

My daughter absolutely LOVES the Super Sorting Pie from Learning Resources! This 68-piece set is both educational and fun. Not a day goes by that she doesn't play with it and I love the versatility of the lessons that can be taught using this toy. Definitely a great investment for both boys and girls!
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How do you make shopping for your family's clothes affordable?

Melissa Cleaver

One of the best ways I keep my family in style for MUCH less is to shop off-season. I never buy sweaters or winter wear during the fall or the winter, when prices are at their highest. Just like I never buy swimsuits or shorts during the spring or summer. Shopping in the off-season allows you to stay trendy at prices that are 70%+ lower than what you'd pay in-season. Just think, you could get 7X the amount of clothes for the same price as one full-price item!
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What's your favorite song for kids that moms can download?

Melissa Cleaver

In my experience with children's songs so far, it's a rare thing to find one that BOTH parent and child will enjoy. Since kids LOVE listening to the same song over and over again, it definitely helps if it's a favorite of yours too. The song, "What I Am" by will.i.am and the cast of Sesame Street is a favorite in our household that we listen to any time of the day or night. The inspiring lyrics, upbeat tempo and catchy drum line always gets our toes to tapping! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyVzjoj96vs&feature=player_embedded http://clip.dj/sesame-street-will-i-am-s-song-what-i-am-download-mp3-mp4-cyVzjoj96vs#
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What are your tips for planning an affordable birthday party?

Melissa Cleaver

Use primary colors for the majority of your party's decorations. They're generally less expensive than themed decorations and you can reuse items like tablecloths and extra plates, forks and spoons next year or for another party. Sprinkle just a few choice themed decorations about to make each birthday party original and special.
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What item should moms splurge on?

Melissa Cleaver

Without a doubt, I would recommend splurging on NeriumAD Age-Defying Skin Care Treatment once per month. I consider myself quite the skin care maven and have tried every professional treatment and product on the market. I've spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on my skin and have never experienced the changes I've seen in just one month's time of using NeriumAD! The best thing is that it's a nature-based product, so you're not using any harsh chemicals on your skin...and it definitely WORKS!
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What are your best tips for easy DIY nursery decor? (If there's an image or post on your blog, please link to it.)

Melissa Cleaver

For EASY DIY nursery decor, it doesn't get much better than wall decals! I did my daughter's entire room in them. Here's an example of one of her walls: http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/giveaway-wallpops-cutsie-blooms-wall-art-win-a-set-of-removable-vinyl-wall-decals-of-your-choice-arv-43/ Also, here's some great tips on how to decorate your baby's nursery the green, healthy way! http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/tips-techniques-how-to-advice/top-10-green-healthy-tips-for-decorating-your-nursery-or-babys-room/
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What's your family's favorite board game, and why? (Please mention the best ages for the game)

Melissa Cleaver

We can't get enough of Snug as a Bug in a Rug. It's perfect for the whole family to play together with toddler/preschool age children. What's great is that it is a cooperative game, so you don't have to worry about fights and bickering. The only thing you'll hear is cheering!
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What's your favorite stylish but practical beach- or pool-wear item for a mom? Please include a link to the product (cover-up, hat, sandals, etc.)

Melissa Cleaver

I love my Beachside Cover-Up in Black from Guria Beachwear! It's so sexy and stylish, yet totally covers everything so you're not looking too risque in front of the kids!
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We're looking for decorating inspiration! Please share a link to a photo of your child's room.

Melissa Cleaver

Here's a post that shows the magic of vinyl wall decals to instantly and easily jazz up your child's room. In this picture, I painted a large brown tree on the wall using a stencil, but then decorated that tree with flowers galore using vinyl wall decals!
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Can you recommend a great toy that costs less than $10? Please share a link to a photo.

Melissa Cleaver

This is one of the best "under $10" toys I've ever seen...it inspires creativity, is great to take along on trips and will keep your child entertained for HOURS! Can't beat that, right? http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/review-giveaway-peaceable-kingdom-press-zoo-sticker-pack/
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Can your recommend school shoes for girls that are both stylish and playground-ready? Please include a link!

Melissa Cleaver

I've reviewed so many adorable girls' shoes that would be perfect for back to school! Please take your pick of the following: http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/lelli-kelly-zoo-girls-beaded-canvas-shoes-school-fashions-wild-over/ http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/review-weboo-bubbles-pink-dog-character-slip-shoes-fun-feet/ http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/review-giveaway-uneaks-shoes-socks-customize-feet-neat-arv-45/ http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/giveaway-umi-shoes-june-bug-boots-win-pair-umi-childrens-shoes-arv-85/ http://www.mommylivingthelifeofriley.com/product-reviews/giveaway-stonz-wear-award-winning-weatherproof-booties-choice-arv-47/
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What's your family's favorite nostalgic, silly, or practical holiday tradition? (If there's an image that goes along with your tradition, please share a link.)

Melissa Cleaver

Without a doubt, one of my family's favorite holiday traditions surrounds my daughter's new elf, Sapphire. This little gal does all sorts of cool, helpful, silly or mischievous deeds at night and each and every morning begins with smiles and giggles as we search about the house to figure out what Sapphire has been up to! On Christmas Eve, Sapphire returns to the North Pole with Santa, but shows up occasionally throughout the year for more antics and fun.
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What are you most looking forward to as a mom in 2013? Please include a link to a picture if it's relevant.

Melissa Cleaver

2013 is the year of ME! This year, I'm going to do everything in my power to drop the compulsive behavior about work and external stresses and focus more on the things that matter most...my family, my health and my happiness. It took me a long time to learn it because I was so busy running myself ragged trying to give and give to everyone else, that I wasn't taking enough time to take care of me. Since putting this new behavior in practice, I'm happier and I can tell that my family is happier too. Each day is a gift, so throw the stress and grief that comes from trying to be perfect out the window and live life to the fullest!
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What helps you stay organized? Whether it's a special coupon binder, calendar app or color-coded closet, we want to know all the little tricks and products that help keep your life organized. Please share a photo if you have one.

Melissa Cleaver

Staying organized is definitely a never-ending battle! To truly be organized, you must be vigilant each day and stay on top of things or else it's easy to get behind. I've included a post below with some tips for getting (and staying) organized in the new year!
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What unhealthy eating habits or cravings have you developed since becoming a mom? Please include a picture if it's relevant.

Melissa Cleaver

I used to eat much more regularly before I became a mom. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at approximately the same times each day was an easy feat to accomplish. Now, I seem to eat very irregularly and often times skip entire meals due to the craziness of mommyhood. Oh well, hopefully I'll get back on track one of these days. :)
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What's a simple meal your kids like to make for a family dinner? Please include a link to a picture and recipe if you have one.

Melissa Cleaver

This one is a sure-fire winner! Easy and delicious!
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