Saturday, December 29, 2012

Avon Addicts Book Giveaway Winner

Winner!  Winner!
Penni's fam won't get dinner.
She'll be too busy reading new books!

Congrats Penni!  Be on the lookout for an email shortly.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blog Hop - Avon Addicts Unite (Giveaway)


I enjoy the written word.  It is something that can be absorbed at my own pace.  I can read quickly if I'm in a hurry and only need to get the gist of what I'm reading.  I can take my time and read slowly if I need to understand every single detail.  I can read for hours on end, or stop after a single sentence.  When I read I can imagine that the characters look like someone I know.  I can hear their voices in an accent or dialect that feels like home or takes me to a new place.   Reading is an escape.  It is an educational tool.  The ability to read gives you the ability to learn.  It is a gift that cannot be taken away.  Reading is freedom - to learn, to live, to take you anywhere you want to go!

One of my favorite books is The Double Helix by James Watson.  I've read it at least half a dozen times over my life, and each time I find myself amused by this simple story of the discovery DNA.  People laugh when I recommend it, but for me it provides insight into the reality of science.   It shows scientists as real people.  It makes you realize that the names Watson & Crick could easily have been replaced by Franklin or Pauling.  It is an escape into the world of science with the power to provide some education as well.

I know what you're thinking . . . You're probably wondering what I'm doing on an Avon Addicts blog hop.  Well, the reality is that I'm a science geek.  I'm a mystery reading mom.  I loved the Twilight and Hunger Games books.  I'm also an Avon Addict.   The joy of reading is that you can be all of the above and more.  You can read to learn, to relax, to escape, to lose yourself in any storyline you want.  With a library card or a couple of dollars you can find entertainment to last a lifetime once you know how to read.  

Would you like to win a random selection of books?  (Only some will be Avon books.)  Here's your chance!

Mandatory Entry:  What kind of books do you like to read?  Who is your favorite author?  Tell me about your reading preferences below for your chance to win a small box of books. 

Optional Extra Entries:

  1. Follow me on Twitter.  Post your username in the comments.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway using @rmgm.  Post a link to your tweet here.  This can be done once daily.  
  3. Follow me publicly on Google Friend Connect and post a comment with your username.
  4. Like me on Facebook.  Leave a comment with your Facebook name (or initials if you don't want to post your full name).
  5. Post about this giveaway publicly on Facebook.  Make sure you include a link back here and @MomOnTheEdge so that I can see that I was mentioned.  Post the link to your post here in the comments.  This can also be done once daily.
Details:
  • Only open to US residents
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Giveaway ends 11:59pm ET on December 27, 2012
  • Include your email address in your mandatory comment if it is not available on your profile page.
  • Winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
  • Prize will be sent directly from me.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged products.  
*Disclosure:  I was selected to be an Avon Addict.  I received books for several months to read and share with friends.  I did not receive any compensation for being an Avon Addict and am not receiving compensation for this post.  I just wanted to take a minute to share a bit about my love for reading as well as a few books with a fellow bookworm.  (Many thanks to Avon for choosing me to be a part of their group!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

MaryKay Winner

Congratulations to Margaret, the winner of the MaryKay Giveaway.  Thanks to MyBlogSpark and MaryKay for sponsoring this great giveaway!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Giveaway is Back!



Did you see my November post about the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Giveaway? 

Guess what???

It is BACK!!!

From Melissa & Doug:  
From now through December 19, 2012, we will be doing another round of DAILY GIVEAWAYS on the Melissa & Doug Facebook page! That’s another Terrific Twenty toy to a new fan EVERY DAY!
It is easy to win a great toy like the Suspend Game, the Butterfly Tea set, or even a Trunki!  Just go here to fill out the form, cross your fingers, and maybe you'll be a lucky winner!

Good luck!

*Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this post.  However, I am eligible to win a prize.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss (Review & Giveaway)

Are you a Mary Kay shopper?

Have you tried the new NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss?

I have never been a big Mary Kay shopper.  I don't know anyone that sells it, and I generally don't wear much makeup, so I've never had much reason to try it.

However, MyBlogSpark recently sent me Mary Kay's NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in five fun colors, so there was no reason for me to not try it.  While a couple of the colors were a little too flashy for me, I was actually surprised to discover that three of the colors looked quite nice.  They are subtle enough for everyday wear, but give my lips a bit of shine and sparkle that also works perfectly for a date night with Doc or even a holiday party!

The colors I received were:
Mango Tango
Rock ‘n’ Red
Café Au Lait
Cream & Sugar
Pink Parfait

My personal favorites were Cafe Au Lait, Cream & Sugar, and Pink Parfait.  Apparently my sister-in-law really liked the Cafe Au Lait as well, because she came over to visit one day and left with it in her purse!

Would you like to try some Mary Kay NouriShine Lip Gloss of your own?  Read a little bit about it, then enter for a chance to win the same five colors I received!
Kiss those dull lips goodbye—it’s time to shine! Mary Kay® is proving that moisture and shine can lock lips with Mary Kay® NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss. Its lip nourishing formula delivers an instant boost of hydration, with a Hollywood-ready polished, stay-put shine. Offered in 14 fashion-forward shades.
  • The Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss contains key ingredients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Aloe Leaf Extract and a Pomegranate Sterol to help strengthen skin, reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smooth lips and help soften and calm the skin
  • This gloss is perfect for women of all skin types/tones and those looking for a boost of moisture with gorgeous color or silky lips
  • With an ultra-glossy shine and the subtle hint of vanilla, Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss will help kiss away a flavorless pout
  • Suggested retail $14.00
Mandatory Entry:  Browse the Mary Kay website, especially the NouriShine Lip Section and find the color you are most interested in trying (other than the five I've listed).  Tell me which color looks most interesting and why.

Optional Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter.  Post your username in the comments.
  2. Follow Mary Kay on Twitter.  Post your username in the comments.
  3. Tweet about this giveaway using @rmgm, @MaryKay, and #myblogspark .  Post a link to your tweet here.  This can be done once daily.  
  4. Follow me publicly on Google Friend Connect and post a comment with your username.
  5. Like me on Facebook.  Leave a comment with your Facebook name (or initials if you don't want to post your full name).
  6. Post about this giveaway publicly on Facebook.  Make sure you include a link back here and @MomOnTheEdge so that I can see that I was mentioned.  Post the link to your post here in the comments.  This can also be done once daily.
Details:
  • Only open to US residents
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Giveaway ends 11:59pm ET on December 8, 2012
  • Include your email address in your mandatory comment if it is not available on your profile page.
  • Winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
  • Prize will be sent directly from the sponsor.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged products. 
*Disclosure: The information, products and additional Mary Kay gift pack was provided by Mary Kay® through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Carmex Orange Everyday Lip Conditioner - Review

Chapped lips, dry scaly skin, and a cold...

Winter is definitely here!

With winter comes, Kleenex, cough drops, and Carmex.  If you were to look in my purse you'd find a couple of those cute travel packs of Kleenex, cough drops in every variety, and Carmex lotion and lip balm.  My favorite lip balm is the traditional jar balm, but I also enjoy many of the stick varieties.  Recently, the nice people at Carmex sent me their orange everyday lip conditioner to try.  I have to tell you that it smelled amazing.  I immediately put some on and had a flashback to those delicious orange Creamsicles that I used to eat as a child.  I was thrilled.  I thought I'd found a new favorite.  Unfortunately, it is whiter than many of the other varieties I've used in the past.  I have had a hard time finding the right amount to use.  (Which could definitely be operator error.)  It seems that I need too much to make my lips feel soft, so they also look a little white (like I got caught eating a cream filled doughnut).  While this is a bit of problem when I'm out in public, it isn't an issue at night.  So, I've reserved my orange lip conditioner for bedtime.

If you loved orange Creamsicles as a child, then you should definitely try the orange everyday lip conditioner from Carmex.  It does smell delicious and you might be better at applying than I was.

Though the orange everyday lip conditioner won't replace any of the other Carmex products in my stash, it may be just right for you!

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kylie Minogue "The Abbey Road Sessions" (Review)


When I think of Kylie Minogue, I think of fun pop songs like Can't Get You Out of My Head or Love At First Sight.  While I enjoy her music, she was never on my list of favorite artists.  It wasn't until I listened to "The Abbey Road Sessions" that I heard the depth of Kylie's voice.  Even though some of the songs are the same ones she is known for, the songs all sound a bit more mature.  The music is now suitable for an adult dinner party . . . no Locomotion required (but it is on the CD if you feel like doing it).

Check out this sampler from the album:



If you enjoy it as much as I did, then you can get your own copy of the album on itunes or Amazon.

*Disclaimer - I received a copy of the CD from One2One network in exchange for my honest review.  I did not receive any additional compensation, but am eligible for prizes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roads - Chris Mann (Review)


My music tastes vary pretty significantly depending on my mood.   Sometimes I'm in the mood for a nice relaxing style of music, and sometimes I just want to dance.  When I'm in an "at home" kind of mood, Chris Mann has recently become one of my favorites.  My favorite song from his new album, Roads, is actually the title track.  It is strong and emotional.  The message is one that I think we all can relate to.

I really love Chris Mann's voice.  Personally, I wish he had more original songs on this album and fewer covers, but overall I have definitely enjoyed listening to it.

You can get your own copy of this album on itunes or amazon.  

Disclosure: This is a review post from One2One Network. I was provided with a copy of the album and I am eligible for a prize drawing. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I Love Wednesday - Sisterly Love

Peanut and Pumpkin have been known to fight (daily).  However, when push comes to shove, I love that they look out for each other.  

Recently Peanut received an invitation to a party at the local pool.

Pumpkin:  Can I go too?
Me:  No.  Sorry, but the invitation was only for Peanut.
Peanut:  If Susie's mom says Pumpkin can come, can she?
Me:  Of course.  If she mentions it, then Pumpkin can go too.

Two days later I receive an email from Susie's mom telling me that Susie is looking forward to having Peanut at the party.  She also mentions that Pumpkin is more than welcome to attend to.  At first, I think nothing of it.  The girls are only 17 months apart in age, so parents often include both in invitations.  Then, it occurs to me that Peanut might have said something to Susie.

Me:  Did you said something to Susie about Pumpkin coming to the party?
Peanut:  Yes.  I asked her to ask her mom if Pumpkin could come too.
Me:  You can't just invite people to someone else's party.
Peanut:  Why not?  You said she could go if it was okay, and I want her to come too.
Me:  It just isn't polite.  

While it isn't polite, it was just so thoughtful that I had to smile.  Even now, every time I look over and see them playing together, it makes me happy.  My children aren't perfect, but they are kind.  They love each other - and that is something that I absolutely love!




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

The holidays are fast approaching, which means that it is time to start thinking about gifts for the little ones in your life.  Melissa & Doug have long been a favorite in our house.  We especially love our Melissa & Doug Easel and Make-a-Face Sticker Pad.  My girls are very crafty, so gifts like that are always a huge hit.

This year, I'm thinking of getting the girls Suspend.  It looks like a great game for family game night in our house.  Even though it says it is for ages 8+, the reviews sound promising for kids that are slightly younger as well.



If you have a child on your list, and you don't know where to start, I recommend that you check out the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List.  You will find a wonderful gift for any child from 1-8+.  Even better, head over to the Melissa & Doug Facebook page for a chance to win a gift from the list every day until November 20.




Would you like another chance to win a great Melissa & Doug product?  Of course you would!  Here's your chance.  I'm giving away a Suspend game to one of my readers.  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer:  I will receive a toy in exchange for my post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's for Dinner?

For us, the answer is usually one of a few recipes that I make that the entire family is willing to eat.  Most of our go-to meals are either Italian, Mexican, or anything I can throw in my slow cooker.  Do you enjoy Mexican food?

How about some Old El Paso?  

The people at Old El Paso sent me a link to a microsite to share with my readers.  If you register on the site, you can receive one of 24 free product coupons (by mail) or a downloadable coupon for $1.10 off two old El Paso Products.  The microsite also includes some new Old El Paso recipes for you to try.
From delicious dinner kits, to tasty enchilada sauce, zesty green chiles, refried beans and award winning flour tortillas – Old El Paso has a variety of products that make it simple to serve a Mexican Fiesta for your family tonight. 
According to a recent survey: 
Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) crave Mexican food more than once a month, but more than 60 percent of Americans said they don’t often prepare Mexican food at home because they don’t know how to make it.
Two-thirds of American crave Mexican food at least once a month, yet 37 percent don’t often prepare the cuisine at home.

Americans are most likely to eat Mexican food when it’s prepared at a restaurant (63%), as one-third say the biggest pitfall to making Mexican food at home is that the food doesn’t taste like it does in the restaurant.*

*According to a recent survey conducted by ORC International
Don't miss your chance!  Register now for your coupon and some inspiration for your next meal.



Disclaimer: Information and the Old El Paso microsite was provided to me by Old El Paso. I did not receive any compensation for this post. I just wanted to pass on some savings to my loyal readers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just a Note . . .

If you enter any of my giveaways, please make sure that you actually complete everything that you say you do.  I verify that my winners have shared, tweeted, etc. before awarding prizes.  Thanks so much for stopping by, reading, and entering.

--MomOnTheEdge

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Holiday Cards

While I haven't picked out my holiday cards yet, I did browse around a few sites for some ideas.  Here are a some of my favorites from Minted.com. 


Inspiration Board by Melissa, see more Minted.com
Inspiration Board board by Melissa. See more Minted.com
I'm sharing my board for a chance to win a minted.com gift card. You should browse your favorites, create a board, and share it for your chance to win too!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I Love Wednesday

Date Night with Doc

This past weekend, Doc and I went to The Fillmore in Detroit to see Brandi Carlile in concert.  The Fillmore was gorgeous!  It had such character and charm.  Brandi Carlile was AMAZING.  Not only is her voice wonderful to listen to, but she and her band looked like they were having so much fun that I couldn't help but smile. All of that was made even better because I was sitting by the love of my life.  I'm one lucky girl!

If you've not heard many of her songs, here's one that may not be my favorite, but definitely makes me smile. FYI - Her music is generally very family friendly, but she does use the word he** in this one. 



*Sometimes you'll see a Wordless Wednesday post, sometimes you'll see a What I Love Wednesday post, and something you won't see any post at all.  :o) This past weekend was just so amazing that I was inspired to start a new theme of posts that wouldn't require much detail.  They will be quick posts where you learn a little more about me, without requiring me to take much time away from my family.  Please feel free to comment below with what you love as well.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Let's Go Krogering - Giveaway

I am a Kroger Shopper.  Even though I pass two other grocery stores on the way, I almost always make my weekly shopping trip at Kroger.  Locally, our Kroger has good customer service and very competitive pricing on the items I buy most often.  There are a few items that are priced a little high, so I just pick those up other places when I happen to be out and about.  Overall though, I'm generally very pleased with my experiences at Kroger. 

This week, I couldn't be happier with some of my Kroger purchases.  Right now, through October 24, you can receive a coupon for $5 off your next purchase when you buy 5 participating General Mills products.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to stock up on some of the girls' favorite "special treat" cereals.  Many of the cereals were on sale at my Kroger for $2.99.  When combined with coupons I found online at coupons.com, they only ended up costing me about $2.00.  To make it even better, most of the boxes have a promotion for a free movie ticket (up to a $12 value), when you buy two.  Then, as icing on the cake, I got a coupon for $5 off my next purchase when I checked out.  Does it get any better than that?

Actually, it does get better than that for one of my lucky readers.  MyBlogSpark sent me a $25 Kroger gift card for sharing this information with you, and they have another one for one of you.  So enter now and start planning your next shopping trip!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here are a few details about the promotion:
  • Attention Kroger shoppers! Grab a cart (or two!) and head to your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores for the Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 Event! From October 14th through October 24th purchase 5 participating General Mills products, and receive a coupon for $5 off your next shopping order (coupon printed at checkout)
  • Products must be purchased during one shopping visit. To view a list of participating products see your store for details. The $5 coupon offer off your next shopping trip offer expires 1 week from the print date, with the coupon prints ending October 24th. Any offers printed on October 24th will expire on October 31st.
  • Look for some of your favorite participating General Mills products like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Betty Crocker Cake and Brownie Mixes, Hamburger Helper, Totino’s Party Pizza, Yoplait and many more!
  • Promotion varies in different locations so please be sure to check your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores for specific deals and offers which include: Kroger, Ralphs, King Scoopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Fred Meyer, Pay Less Supermarkets and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy 
*Disclosure - Information and Gift Card were provided by Kroger and MyBlogSpark.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

UNJUNK with UNREAL this Halloween (and ever after)



I have to be honest.  

I was a bit of a skeptic.  

When I was told that there was a candy that had been unjunked, I wasn't quite sure I believed it.  How could it be unjunked?  It couldn't possibly taste good, could it?  So, let me be the first to admit . . . 

I was WRONG!

A box of UNREAL candy arrived at my door just about a day before I had scheduled a party with some of my nearest and dearest friends.  Peanut and Pumpkin were my guinea pigs.  I gave each of them one peanut butter cup from a package just to get their reactions.  Peanut was the first to walk in.  She looked at the package a little haltingly and asked where the paper wrapper was.  It didn't take too much convincing for her (my sweets lover) to take a bite.  She then smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and asked if she could have the other one.  When Pumpkin walked in, she was a bit more hesitant.  She asked if Peanut liked it or not, took a little bite after smelling it, then gobbled it up.  She didn't even want to share when I asked if I could have a bite.  It was definitely a hit with both of my girls.  Next up, Doc.

Doc is my candy aficionado.  He's been eating candy all his life.  I'm pretty sure he thinks it is one of the most important food groups.   While he doesn't love UNREAL candy as much as the girls and I do, he definitely likes it.  I don't think it would take him long to make a permanent switch to UNREAL.  His actual comment was, "I could get used to eating this instead."  

Armed with their opinions and some great facts about UNREAL candy, I was ready for my party.

So, here are some of the facts about UNREAL candy:
    • Made with Real Cane Sugar
    • No Corn Syrup
    • More Cacao
    • No Artificial Preservatives
    • No Hydrogenated Oils/Fats
    • No Artificial Colors/Flavors
    • More Protein and Fiber
    • Made with Real Milk from Grass Fed Cows (without artificial hormones and antibiotics)
    I don't know about you, but almost all of my friends have different opinions.  From food to politics, I think I have at least one friend that believes in just about everything.  I have one friend that is ultra health conscious.  I have a couple of friends that are junk food junkies.  Most of my friends are somewhere in between.  They try to be good most of the time, but don't feel too guilty if they are bad on occasion.  Because of the dynamics of our friendships,  I hosted this party a little differently.  We had a tailgate before the Friday night football game where the candy was available to try.  In addition, everyone was given a goodie bag with a couple of the UNREAL candy bars and the information sheets.  I asked everyone to read the information, try the candy, and let me know what they thought when we got together in a couple of days for our regularly scheduled girls' night in. 

    Real Reviews from my friends about UNREAL:

     "Surprisingly delicious!" 
    "Everyone in my family found something they loved!" 
    "I didn't even share with the kids!"
    "My husband claims he doesn't even like chocolate, but the candy disappeared overnight!" 
    "Two-thumbs up!" 
    "Got any more?" 

    Of all of my friends, only two had anything negative to say.  One friend didn't like the peanut butter cups.  She wasn't sure what was "wrong" with them, but they just didn't taste right to her.  Another friend said, "Even though it is a better choice, it still isn't a good choice."  (This was my very healthy friend.)  Overall though, I'd have to say that UNREAL candy was a real hit with my friends!

    So, here's my only problem with UNREAL.  It was very difficult to find where I live.  I am generally a Kroger shopper.  I looked for several weeks at my local Kroger for UNREAL candy, but couldn't find it.  One week, I needed more mouthwash and happened upon UNREAL candy by the toothpaste.  Really?!  I contacted Kroger to ask them about it.  They are looking into it (but it is still by the toothpaste as of this afternoon).  So, if you want to give a company like this a chance, look for it in your local stores (even in the unlikely places).  If it isn't there, ask for it.  Even if you aren't interested in UNREAL candy, you may be interested in unjunking other food products.  If we can take the "junk" out of candy and make it taste good, then I think we can probably unjunk just about anything!

    Disclosure:  Products and compensation were provided by Global Influence.  All thoughts and opinions are my own (and those of my friends/family).



    Freschetta's The Strength of 1 Campaign



    It is October, which means that it is breast cancer awareness month.  Because of that, you will see pink just about everywhere you look.  From yogurt tops to cracker boxes and car ads, pink is the color of the month.  To be completely honest, the pinkness overwhelms me a bit.  I don't know which organizations are for profit and which are non-profit.  I have a hard time figuring out who is genuinely concerned with awareness, and who is trying to take advantage of people and their generosity.  So, I try to stick with supporting companies that I'm familiar with.   So, when I saw that Freschetta was sponsoring Bright Pink, I was interested to learn more.

    Now through the end of October, 2012, the makers of Freschetta® pizza are helping to promote breast cancer awareness through their new The Strength of 1™ campaign, which includes sponsoring Bright Pink, the only national non-profit organization focusing on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, while providing support to high-risk individuals. The mission of this The Strength of 1™ initiative is to inspire everyone to realize they can make a difference in some way in the fight against breast cancer.

    You can participate in the Freschetta and Bright Pink The Strength of 1 campaign.  All you have to do is  share a story about how someone has made a difference; take The Strength of 1™ pledge on Facebook; or help spread the word on Twitter.

    Disclosure:  I occasionally receive compensation in the form of products for posts. However, the opinions I share are solely my own.  Information was given to me by Freschetta through sheblogs.org.

     

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Fabulous Friday Finds - Mabel's Labels

    By a show of hands . . .

    How many of you have already had something lost or stolen at school?

    While I can't see your hands, I'd be willing to bet that within the first month or so of school, a good number of you would have your hands raised high.

    Some of the missing items are little things, but things that other kids want too.  So, it isn't a huge surprise when the coveted Smencil or rainbow highlighter disappears from your kid's desk and finds its way to another kid's.  Some of the items are just so small that they are hard to keep track of.  A pencil, a crayon, the standard pink eraser.   You even have the bigger items that just get left behind when kids are having too much fun.  It is so much better to swing than keep an eye on that lunchbox.   When kids are playing soccer, they get hot and toss the hat/sweatshirt/gloves they are wearing off into a pile to be picked up later.  Once an item gets separated from its child, the likelihood of ever finding its way back, is pretty low.

    Unless . . .

    You have labeled each and every one of your kid's items!

    Which is what I now do.  Each and every pencil (34 of them, in fact) has a cute little sticker with our name on it.  All 12 glue sticks, 48+24+24+24 crayons, lunchboxes, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, etc. are now labeled so that it is easy for anyone to match up a rogue item with one of my daughters.

    I used to write their names on everything.  I must say that it was a HUGE pain.  By the time I was done, I had writer's cramp and all the letters were starting to run together.  Now, I use Mabel's Labels.  They come in lots of sizes, patterns, and shapes.  They even have tiny labels that fit a pencil just perfectly.  Do you want to know my FAVORITE thing about Mabel's Labels?  I don't have to label anything anymore!!!  My kids can label their stuff all by themselves.  At 6 & 8, they have lots of experience with stickers.  They are more than capable of peeling and sticking the labels on all of their stuff.  Maybe they will be a little crooked or have the tiniest fold in some of them, but this (sometimes lazy) mom doesn't care!   Less work for me and less time and money spent on replacing lost items are both good things!


    *Disclaimer:  I was sent a pack of labels for each of my girls from Mabel's Labels and Global Influence for sharing this information with you.   All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Peanut got the tween labels (See the Alexandria image below) and Pumpkin got the standard labels (See the Jacob image).  We also had some previously purchased standard labels with our last name on them so that either one can use them . . . because I'm thrifty like that. 




    FYI - Yes, I do realize that it is not Friday.  However, my plan was to have this post up last Friday (or maybe the Friday before that).  Unfortunately, my plans and my "do"s are often not one in the same.  So, Friday or not,  Mabel's Labels are still a Fabulous Find!

    Wordless Wednesday - Wildlife





    Almost every night we have some wildlife visitors.  The other night we had several deer stop by.  They look a little creepy with their glowing eyes!

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Feeling Thrifty This Thursday?

    MyBlogSpark frequently sends me links to some great coupons.  I generally only share them if/when I'm posting about a particular product.  I thought I'd check and see if any of my readers are interested in me posting them as they arrive in my inbox.  If so, please leave me a comment letting me know.  Otherwise, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.  Here are some of the coupons they've recently sent me:

    $1.25 off one box of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal

    $1.25 off the purchase of 4 cans of Progresso® soup

    $.80 off one package of any variety of Cereal Muffin Mix

    Save 75¢ when you buy ONE PACKAGE any flavor 7 OZ. OR LARGER Pillsbury® Baguette Chips 

    SAVE 60¢ when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Mott's® Fruit Flavored Snacks 

    Enjoy!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Living Life Without Fear

    Did everyone see my Wordless Wednesday post from yesterday?  Well, those of you that know me, know I'm not really much of a "wordless" kind of girl.  So, I wanted to post a short follow-up.  :o)

    The picture you saw is a picture from our recent trip to Niagara Falls.  There is a tight rope walker, Jay Cochrane, that walks from the Skylon Tower to the Hilton Hotel every night, weather permitting.  Here are a few facts about him and his walk that I find especially interesting:
    • Jay Cochrane is 68 years old
    • He walks without a tether or net
    • He walks approximately 1300 feet
    • He is approximately 581 feet in the air
    • It takes him about 1/2 hour to make the walk
    Something that I find even more amazing is that in 1965, Jay fell approximately 90 feet onto a concrete floor when a tower collapsed during his walk.  He spent nearly four years in the hospital and was not expected to be able to walk again without the aid of canes.. 

    Even after that terrible fall, he does not seem to have any fear.  He continues to do what he loves.  He walks the tight rope and gives generously to children's charities. 

    His story makes me think . . .
    What would I be doing differently if I lived my life without fear?

    Do you live your life without fear?

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday - When the Cat's Away, The Mice Will Play


    I came home from vacation to find this perfectly lovely spider web in the doorway to our pantry.  Off to clean...

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Simplify Laundry with all mighty pacs

    If I had to make a list of my strengths and weaknesses, I can guarantee that laundry wouldn't be on the "strengths" side.  You would think that doing 6-8 loads of laundry each week for the past 8+ years would make me good at it.  It hasn't.  From shrinking clothes, to strange yellow stains on some of my whites, if something can go wrong, it will.

    With the somewhat recent introduction of an HE washing machine to my laundry room, I find that I get strange errors mid cycle.  While I'm certain I can blame some of these errors on random objects that find their way into the drain trap, I also suspect that some of this is due to using too much laundry detergent.  (I used to subscribe to the belief that if some is good, then more is better.  Unfortunately, while I know that isn't true, I still have a hard time limiting my use of detergent.)

    Problem:  Inability to appropriately measure and use laundry detergent.
    Solutions:  all mighty pacs



    I was sent a sample of all mighty pacs from all via MyBlogSpark to simplify my laundry routine.  So far, I've only used the original ones, but I just love them!  They completely eliminate the possibility for error in measuring out detergent.  I just throw my clothes in the washer, toss an all mighty pack on top, shut the door and press start.  What could be easier?  Now, if only someone could help me figure out how to get rid of those yellow stains . . .

    So, which one of my loyal readers wants to win an all mighty pac prize so you can try it yourself?

     a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Also, be sure to check out this site which includes information about all®mighty pacs, a shareable coupon for $1 off the new all®mighty pacs, and details about how you can enter
    for the chance to win a cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line with Nickelodeon
    activities and entertainment.  Hurry though, as the contest ends August 23rd!



    Disclosure:  Sample pack and information was provided to me by all through MyBlogSpark.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Tweet with Oregon Chai

    Every day it hits me harder and harder - Summer is almost over.  I have limited time to get all of my summer fun in.  Soon there won't be any more sleeping in.  It will be replaced by getting up early.  Instead of a lunchtime picnic in the park with my girls it will be a salad at my kitchen table by myself with a book.  Instead of morning walks with my neighbor, I'll be inside doing exercise videos on my own.  While some of the changes are good and some are not-so-good, others are simply changes.  For example, it is almost time to trade in my iced tea/coffee tumbler for a ceramic mug for hot tea/coffee.  Luckily, Oregon Chai makes delicious version of both hot and cold tea!

    Want to learn more about Oregon Chai and have a chance to win some fun prizes?  Be sure to stop by the Oregon Chai Twitter party TODAY, Wednesday, August 15, 2012 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.   (My time conversion skills aren't great, but I think that is 8-9pm ET.)  To make sure you don't miss out on the fun, be sure to follow @OregonChai on twitter and tweet with the hashtag #OregonChai.   Also, Oregon Chai has lots of fun stuff going on with their other pages too.  Chem them out on facebook for a chance to win some other great prizes including a backyard makeover or an Oregon Chai tumbler.  I personally love to check out their website for delicious recipes and more!

    Tweet your friends!  Tweet your family!  You don't want anyone to miss out on the fun tonight!  I hope to see you there!  

    Sample Tweet:  Summer Twitter party alert! Use #OregonChai & follow @OregonChai on 8.15, 5-6 pm PT for a chance to win chai and a Kindle Fire grand prize.



    *Disclosure:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this post other than the opportunity to win some great prizes from Oregon Chai.  Fingers crossed that I win, and so do you! 

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday - A Peaceful Walk


    With the summer quickly coming to a close, we went on a peaceful family walk through a local nature preserve last weekend. 

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Carmex + Pomegranate = AWESOME

    If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times . . . I LOVE Carmex!

    While I have used other lip balms over the years, I find that I always return to Carmex.  The smell, the texture, the tingle on my chapped lips that feels like home, is the one I get when I use Carmex.   While I am (and probably always will be) an original jar girl, I have to say that I love all the new options that Carmex now has. Each stick has a SPF of 15 to protect your lips from the effects of the summer sun.  In addition to the original stick, Lime, Cherry, Strawberry, Vanilla, and now Pomegranate varieties are available for people that like a little more flavor in their lip balm. . . like my girls.  Peanut and Pumpkin are flavor girls.  They like lip balm that tastes like candy.  I however, do not like them to have lip balm that tastes like candy.  Instead of applying it, leaving it alone, and allowing it to heal their chapped lips; they apply it, lick it off, make their chapped lips worse, and repeat.   These options from Carmex have a hint of flavor, enough to make my kids willing to use it, but not enough to make them want to eat it.   Awesome!

    Lime Twist and Pomegranate are the current favorites in our family!  Lime Twist tastes like a mix between a margarita and lime sherbet.  Pomegranate is a little bit sweet, a little bit tart, and unique enough to give it a bit of an edge over a more standard flavor like cherry.   If you aren't a fruity kind of girl (or guy), the Vanilla might be just right for you.  It reminds me a little bit of cookies, but not quite so sweet.  I'm hoping they come out with a coconut variety next summer.   I think that would be just perfect for a day at the beach. 



    So, which of my readers is suffering from too much sun?  Which one of you has chapped lips that need the healing help of Carmex?  If you do, and you want to try all six varieties, then now is your chance!  Enter for the chance to win a handy-dandy beach bag (in my favorite color), and some Carmex for your lips.  Good luck!

    *Disclosure:  I received the same fun prize pack from Carmex that my winner will receive in exchange for my honest opinions.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    August Already?!

    Not only is it already August, but it is already almost mid-August!   How did this happen?  How did an entire month pass me by without a single post?   I'll give you one guess . . .

    Yes, I am going to blame it on the kids.  :o)  The girls have been home from school and they have been keeping me crazy busy.  I don't think a single day has gone by where we haven't had something to do.  Whether it is something fun, like a trip to the beach or pool, or something not-so-fun like cleaning the house for guests (Remember, I live on the lake in a vacation town, so I get lots of summer guests!), we are ALWAYS busy. 

    To be fair though, I can't blame it entirely on the kids.  This summer has been a summer full of changes.  At the end of June I lost my grandpa.  It was a loss that I took much harder than I expected.  I won't elaborate on that much more, because it still makes me very emotional when I think about it.  In addition, we got a new roommate a couple of weeks ago.  Due to some (positive) changes in my SIL's life, she needed a place a stay, and we took her in.  I'm not sure how long she'll be with us, but having another person in the house definitely requires an adjustment period.   So, you'll probably be hearing the occasional story about Auntie Em.  She is adorable, sweet, hilarious, and just plain fun.  She definitely adds a new dimension to our family dynamic though!

    So, welcome back readers!  I have lots to tell you . . .


    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Fun with Fiber One Chewy Bars

    School is out for the summer!

    Just because the kids don't have to be in school doesn't mean that we spend much time at home.  From the pool, to the library, to the local amusement park, we are constantly on the go.  For us, being busy means that the girls are going to get hungry in the least convenient (aka most expensive) places.  To help keep hunger at bay so that we don't eat out too often during the summer, I always have snacks in my purse.  Some of my favorite packable snacks are nuts and granola bars.  They seem to do a good job of taking the edge off when hunger sets in without filling the girls up too much between meals.

    MyBlogSpark and General Mills sent me a Fiber One Chewy pack with:
    • (1) Box of Fiber One Chewy Chocolate Bars
    • (1) Box of the Fiber One Chewy Strawberry PB&J Bars
    • Drawstring Sack Pack
    • Water Bottle
    • Flexi Flyer
    • Soccer Ball
    • Sidewalk Chalk
    The girls have loved the Fiber One Oats and Chocolate granola bars for a while now, so we were very excited to try these new varieties.  The Fiber One Chewy Chocolate Bars were a big hit.  Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between the Oats and Chocolate bars we were used to and the new Chewy Chocolate bars we were sent.  The Fiber One Chewy Strawberry PB&J Bars were a different story.  These bars definitely seemed to have a unique flavor.  In our house, we either loved them or hated them.  Pumpkin, my more adventurous eater and PB&J lover, really liked them.  Peanut was not a fan.  Doc, who also loves PB&J (but prefers grape jelly), didn't really like them either.  He didn't hate them enough to not eat it, but it wasn't something he would choose if given an option.  I actually didn't get a chance to try them.  They just never sounded that appetizing to me, so when I finally decided that I should try them for the review, I found that they were all gone!

    So, don't be like me and miss your opportunity to try these Fiber One Chewy Granola Bars.  Enter for your chance to win the same prize pack I received!  If you win, not only will you have a fairly healthy snack for your kids this summer:
    • Fiber One Chewy bars contain 20% of the Daily Value of fiber and 10% of the Daily Value of calcium
    • These 100 or 110 calorie bars contain no high fructose corn syrup, and only 7 or 8 grams of sugar
    You'll also have some goodies to keep them outside and active!  Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

    Wordless Wednesday - Memories






    Only those of you that know me IRL will know why this picture is so special to me.  Any guesses from anyone else?

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Fun, Fresh, OceanStyles

    I am a wannabe decorator.  I can spend hours in furniture and design stores looking at sofas, beds, chairs, pictures, and other trinkets.  Once I find a piece that I really like, I will spend the next several months looking for more furniture and accessories that I think would look great with it.  In reality, I might not buy any of it.  However, I'm always thinking about how I might redecorate if I had all the money in the world and no other opinions to consider.

    Recently, I was browsing online and I ran across OceanStyles.com.  All I can say about this site, is that I could easily spend a paycheck or two there.   Living on the lake, I like light beachy looking decor.  When people come to visit, I want them to feel like they're on vacation.  In a dream world, I'd like to feel like I was on vacation every day too.  I can guarantee that if I walked outside everyday and saw this adorable Tiki Bar, I would feel like I was on vacation.   Even more so, if I was drinking out of these fun glasses!  In addition to furniture and glasses, I absolutely love their wooden and tin signs.  When I was browsing them, I had a really hard time picking just one. 

    While I haven't purchased anything from OceanStyles.com yet, I think I might have to try them out soon.  If you get anything from them, please let me know the quality and customer service.  I'll be sure to do the same if/when I order as well. 

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    75 Years with 750,000 Carmex Fans

    Carmex has a big goal! They want to reach 750,000 fans! They are encouraging you to become a fan by offering you the opportunity to win Carmex and Cash! It doesn't get any better than that. So, head on over to the Carmex Facebook page, like them, and enter to win. You can't win if you don't try!

    Good luck!

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday - Best Hubby EVER!

    The other day I came home to these gorgeous flowers from my amazing husband.  The reason:  To wish me an spectacular summer with our girls!  How did I get so lucky?  Thanks Doc!

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Cheerios - Good Stuff Made Better

    If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that we are a Cheerios family.  It is a rare event that you would look in our pantry and not find a box of one variety or another of Cheerios.   While we almost always have regular Cheerios, we also like to mix it up with some of the more flavorful varieties.  Peanut's current favorite is Frosted Cheerios while Pumpkin is sweet on Apple Cinnamon.   The kids don't know it (Shhhh!), but I love to mix the regular Cheerios with the more sugary varieties that they prefer to cut down on their empty calories and make those boxes last a little bit longer.

    With as many Cheerios as we go through, I am always looking for the best deal.  While I can often get them at a great price by combining a sale with a coupon, that isn't always the case.  When I can't find a great deal, I like to buy the big value boxes.  So, when MyBlogSpark and General Mills sent me 2 of the NEW 2-box value packs like the ones you can find in club stores like Sam's, in exchange for me sharing some information with you, I was thrilled.  Four big boxes of Cheerios will last our family quite a while!

    So, what's the big deal about these boxes?

    Watch this video to find out!



    Would you like to win 2, 2-box value packs of Cheerios?

    Enter Via the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure:  Cheerios® cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    alternaVites - An Alternative to Sugary Vitamins

    As a mom, I always want what is best for my kids.  Unfortunately, sometimes getting everything just perfect seems an impossibility and I'm forced to compromise.  Since the age of independence (about 3 in my house), nutrition has been one of those constant sources of frustration.  My girls both went through food jags when they were young where they would only eat one thing.  Whether it was only fruit, yogurt, cheese, or cereal, I knew that they weren't getting the nutrition they needed.  This is when I started periodically giving them vitamin supplements.  The problem I have with many vitamin supplements is that in addition to being loaded with the nutrients my kids need, they are also loaded with sugar they don't.  So, I was thrilled when I was offered an opportunity to try alternaVites.

    Here's a little information about alternavites:

    What is alternaVites for kids®?
    alternaVites for kids is the only full spectrum children’s multivitamin & mineral designed to be sprinkled on the tongue (think pixie stick!). Using a proprietary blend of ingredients, alternaVites for kids contains essential vitamins & minerals specially formulated for children ages 4 & up. 
    With alternaVites for kids, both parents and kids will be happy.  Parents can rest assured they’re giving their children a high quality, potent multi loaded with the nutrients they need and without the additives they don’t.  Kids will be thrilled not only with the delicious taste, but because it’s also really cool to take! alternaVites for kids turns taking vitamins from a chore to a treat!
    How is the product unique?
    Unlike typical children’s vitamins, alternaVites for kids:
    Melts in your mouth
    One-of-a-kind crystal powder delivery form
    Contains 0 grams of sugar
    Free of aspartame and high fructose corn syrup
    Does not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners.
    Is carefully formulated with ingredients that do not contain the major food allergens (egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish)
    Has no animal products or by products
    Certified kosher pareve
    Comes in convenient, pre-measured daily dose packets

    Key benefits
    Available in two awesome flavors: Strawberry Bubblegum & Raspberry Cotton Candy
    Tastes great and is cool to take
    Extremely versatile as it not only melts in mouth, but can also be mixed into yogurts, puddings, smoothies, and shakes
    Support for overall health and well-being
    Meets or exceeds the potencies of leading children’s multivitamin brands
    Patent pending formula

    What I liked:
    • No added sugar
    • You can take it by the packet or mixed in a food
    • The single serve packets are great for travel
    What I didn't like:
    • My kids didn't really like the taste.
    • Personally, we found that the tastes combined with other foods and limited the ability to mix.
    • There was more in the packet then we expected which made it hard for my kids to take it all.
    What I would change:
    • I might make it unflavored for easier mixing.
    • I might make more flavors to increase the variety.
    • I might make smaller packets that could be taken twice a day instead of just once.
    Would you like to win a one month sample to try it for yourself?
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Even if you don't win, you are still a winner in my book.  Alternavites is offering you 20% off if you use the code moms20 at their site - http://www.alternavites.com/ .

    Good luck!

    *Disclaimer:  I received a sample of alternaVites to facilitate this review.  No other compensation was received.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Information about alternaVites came directly from the sponsor. 

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday


    Peanut's first attempt at being the catcher . . . apparently we need to work on it a bit.  :)

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Perfectly Shaped Burgers - Easy as Pie

    Living on the lake, we get lots of visitors in the spring, summer and fall.  When people come to visit, they don't want to spend time inside preparing and eating meals if the weather is nice.  They would much rather be outside.  That is why we grill more often than not when the temperatures start to rise.

    We grill everything that we can.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, chicken, steak, potatoes, corn, pizza . . .  (If you have a good recipe for something grilled, then please share.  We'd love to try it!)  I do have to admit that my least favorite thing to grill is a hamburger.  The reason that I don't like to grill them is that they are too hard to form.  Too often my burgers are too fat in the middle.  That means that either the edges will be burnt or the middle won't be done enough for my liking.

    So, I promised the girls that we could grill tonight for dinner before softball practice.  Pumpkin wants a hot dog and Peanut wants a hamburger.  I've spent part of this afternoon preparing for dinner.  I chopped the lettuce for the salad, made some potato salad (thanks for the instructions Mom!), made iced tea for myself, and decided to form the burgers.

    While I was procrastinating, I decided to search how to make a hamburger.  I thought I'd run across some new combination of seasonings that would make an amazing burger that I'd have to try.  Instead, I came across another blogger who posted that she forms her burgers using lids.  LIDS!!!  Why didn't I think of that?  So, I grabbed my meat, plastic wrap, and lids of two different sizes and I formed burgers -  perfectly shaped, even in thickness, gorgeous burgers.   Now I can't wait for the kids to get home so we can grill them!  I'll let you know how they turn out. . .



    Question:  Did everyone already know about this?  If so, why didn't anyone tell me???

    Wordless Wednesday - Ready for Spring!

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    What I Won in the Mega Millions . . .

    People are always telling me how lucky I am.  I can't even count the number of times that I have been told that I should buy a lottery ticket.  However, I am not a gambler.  I refuse to pay money to win something.

    It isn't because I think that there is anything wrong with gambling.  I have lots of family and friends that play the lottery quite often.  My mother enjoys spending the occasional day at the local casino.  We used to live near the horse track and would go to the races for a day of family fun once or twice a year.  The reason that I don't gamble is that I think I have an addictive personality.   I can see myself buying a ticket, winning a small amount, then spending more and more trying to get that "high" that comes from a small (or large) windfall.

    For my birthday last week, one of my best friends bought me a lottery ticket for the much talked about Mega Millions lottery drawing.  She knows that I don't gamble, but was hoping that my luck combined with her purchase would  result in a rapid cash influx.  We spent the day joking about whether or not I'd share with her if I won as well as what we would do with all that money.

    Would I buy a new house?
    Nope.  I love my house.  I couldn't ask for a better location or better neighbors.  I would do a little remodeling, but nothing hugely different than what we're hoping to do in the next few years anyway.  I would just have it done now rather than having to wait.

    Would I buy a new car?
    Yes.  Again, this isn't too different than what we're planning for anyway.  One of our cars has 230,000 miles on it and the other has around 150,000.   They certainly aren't spring chickens anymore.  However, even if we won, I think we'd only replace the older one right now.  Our newer car doesn't really give us any problems and we like it it.  It is comfortable, reliable, and what I'm used to.

    What else would I spend my money on?
    Nothing that I can think of.  I am not a huge spender.  I like the security of having money in the bank more than I like most things I can buy with it.  I don't have any dream items I've been coveting.  While I love the look of the rooms in a furniture store catalog, I also love the comfort of my mismatched, lived-in rooms.   I like the little stains and the memories of where they've come from.  Don't get me wrong . . . there are days when I get frustrated with the lack of perfection . . . but more often than not, I'm happy with what I have.

    Would I share?
    Of course!  However, I wouldn't share with anyone that expected it or claimed that they deserved it.  I would share with my family and friends that  know how to appreciate all the little things in life.  

    So, what did I win with my ticket?
    $3 :o)
    The entertainment that came with the discussion of what I'd do with the winnings.
    The realization that I really am as lucky as everyone says, just in a different way.  I have an AMAZING family, IRREPLACEABLE friends, and everything I need to make me HAPPY.

    What more could a girl ask for!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    So, I'm a little late . . .

    That shouldn't surprise anyone that knows me.

    I guess I was having so much fun celebrating St. Patrick's Day that I just didn't get a chance to post about it until now.

    There actually isn't that much to share . . . EXCEPT these:


    Last year I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen after St. Patrick's Day and thought, "I need to remember this for next year!"  Surprisingly, this year I remembered.  When I searched a bit more I found almost the same recipe on Lemon-Sugar, but it made more frosting . . . and I LOVE frosting!  So, I used Erin's recipe and have to say that these may have been the best cupcakes I have ever made . . . maybe even eaten!   If you have a little extra time, Guiness, Jameson, and Bailey's, they are definitely worth the effort.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    SmartStyleGuide.com

    Do you ever feel like there just isn't enough time in the day?

    Between taking care of my family, the house, and volunteering, it is hard to find time to take care of myself.   Even when I can find the time, I have a hard time finding the best products and styles.  I am not a fashion guru.  I won't be starting any trends anytime soon, so I need all the help I can get to find colors, shapes, and styles that work for my face shape, skin color, and lifestyle. 

    Today I discovered SmartStyleGuide.com thanks to the people over at Sheblogs.org.  I've only been browsing for about 30 minutes, and have already bookmarked several articles that I want to go back to. 

    Do you know how to look like a model in any picture?  I certainly don't!  (Which is why you won't see very many pictures of me here on my blog, facebook page, twitter, etc.)   SmartStyleGuide.com gives you seven quick and easy tips to make sure your next photograph is one that you'll want to show off.   

    Are you looking for some new hair styling or removal products?  SmartStyleGuide.com has video reviews for several different Remington products from bloggers that I know and trust.   After Vera Sweeny's review, I might even be willing to try the Remington Smooth and Silky Epilator too! 

    Spring is upon us, and I'm ready for a new hairstyle.  SmartStyleGuide.com has articles to help me find a hairstyle based on my face shape, my busy lifestyle, and all the latest trends.  I'm hoping to get in to see my hair stylist next week, and after reading these articles I think I might just come out with a whole new look that I'll love.

    With simple and easy to understand articles, SmartStyleGuide.com is a great site for a busy mom like me.  It isn't overwhelming or filled with information and techniques that I won't be able to pull off.  Check out their site and their facebook page for some fun tips.  (You can also sign up for a chance to win a keratin therapy flat iron in the "Offers" section of the site.)  Have fun and go get FABULOUS!

    *Disclaimer:  I may (or may not) receive a gift card for this post.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    "Sweet" Easter Treats

    One thing my kids don't need . . . CANDY!
    Another . . . Toys (especially cheap junky ones).
    A third . . . Clothes!  (Grandma loves clothes shopping for my monkeys and spoils them like crazy.)

    So, what should I get them to put in their Easter baskets?  I've been scouring the web to find some new ideas and haven't come up with too much.  As of right now, I think their baskets will include:
    • Books - They also have TONS of books already, but at least they are at an age where they read them over and over.  Besides, I can't ignore the educational value.  :o)
    • Piggy Paint - My girls love having their nails painted, but I can't help but worry that they end up eating too much of the polish.  Since Piggy Paint is non toxic, it just makes me feel a little more comfortable with their painted nails.  Right now I can't decide between Little Chick, Beach Bum, and Sea Princess gift sets though.
    • Barbie Clothes - My girls have too many Barbies to count, but they do love them and play with them nearly every day.  Unfortunately, most of the clothes that came with the dolls are starting to tear or fall apart.  The clothes that are in good shape are not very appropriate (IMHO).   When I've looked in stores, I haven't really found much that I have thought was cute, appropriate, and would last.  However, I've recently seen Barbie clothes on etsy that are much more modest and absolutely adorable.  I haven't ordered yet, so I can't speak for the quality, but it has to be better than the mass produced products in stores.   There are lots of sellers on etsy, but I personally like the look of the dresses from TheDesigningRose the best.
    What are you including in your kids' Easter Baskets?

    *Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I am not affiliated with Piggy Paint or TheDesigningRose.  I did not receive any compensation for this post.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

    We love books!

    We love reading!

    We love Dr. Seuss!

    Every time I read a Dr. Seuss story, I am amazed at the way he was able to introduce important and relevant topics into a storybook for children. His silly words and wild rhymes almost always seem to hold a deeper meaning for both children and adults. In honor of Dr. Seuss and Read Across America, I decided to send my kids to school with Dr. Seuss themed lunches for the latter half of this week. Did I change the world or the minds of my kids by doing it? I doubt it, but we sure did have fun. Here are some of the goodies my girls found packed in their lunches.


    Hawaiian Punch Lemon and Berry Juice Drink has disguised itself as Pink Ink for my Yinks to drink. I was actually looking for Simply Raspberry Lemonade, but my store was out of it. I think the flatter surface of that bottle might be a little easier to work with.  The girls didn't seem to mind though.  They would ask for this to drink every day if I let them.  (Normally they only get 100% juice in their lunches.)


    Could it get any easier than this? Colorful Goldfish crackers are just perfect for One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!


    Lunch just isn't a lunch without fruit. So, my girls got some Cat in the Hat hats made by alternating strawberries and bananas on a toothpick.


    Blue Jell-O and a cute red Swedish Fish made a fun and tasty Fish in the Pot dessert for my girls. I thought about making my own Jello-O, but the pre-made stuff was even easier!


    I REALLY wanted to do something Green Eggs and Ham, but had a very difficult time coming up with something. My girls don't really like real eggs . . . or ham for that matter. So, the cute eggs and bacon treat turned green. (Two pretzel sticks, a white candy melt and a green m&m are all it takes!) Green Eggs and Ham / Green Eggs and Bacon - It is almost the same.



    I don't remember where I saw this one, but sometimes the easiest things are the most fun. My girls absolutely LOVED their Hop on Pop(corn).



    I have always appreciated the message in the Butter Battle Book, both from a global and individual perspective. Because of that, I had to do something with it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any amazing ideas to borrow and modify, and it was late at night so my creative juices weren't flowing. This was the best I could come up with, but at least the book and message made an appearance in their lunches.



    I couldn't leave out the Grinch! Any meat will do for this one, but my girls prefer sandwich pepperoni as their roast beast.


    One of the reasons that I love Dr. Seuss is that his words are so fun, free, and open to your own creativity. Schlopp could be just about anything (as long as there is a cherry on top!), so I chose granola (My girls love Bear Naked Vanilla Almond) with Yogurt and a Maraschino cherry on top. Peanut didn't end up eating hers because she didn't like the consistency of the granola. She said it was too mushy after sitting with yogurt on it all morning. Pumpkin ate all of hers though and actually requested it again the next day.



    Trying to mix up the fruits, I made a rainbow of fruit on toothpicks as Truffula Fruits.


    While Yertle the Turtle might not be the nicest turtle around, these adorable Yertle the Turtle breads were a huge hit! I got the recipe from Betty Crocker and modified it to make four smaller turtles rather than one large one. The turtles were still rather large for the girls to eat at lunch. Next time I think I'll try to make 8 instead. If you do make them smaller, be sure to decrease your cooking time. I didn't time mine. I just watched them and took them out when they looked golden brown.



    Did you do anything fun to celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America?  I'd love to see/hear all about it!


    *Disclaimer:  Ideas for these projects came from my own inspiration, various bloggers, friends, websites, etc.  I spent so much time thinking, searching, taking notes and modifying, that I no longer know who deserves the original credit.  If you know the originator of one of these ideas and would like me to mention them here, please send me a message and let me know.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.