Baby Monitors Get High Tech

baby monitor

(Disclosure: Motorola sent me their baby monitor to review but all thoughts are my own.)

At the ages of 4 and 5, my children are old enough to play on their own in our home but young enough that they still occasionally get into things they shouldn’t. We live in a small home and have a pretty open layout so I can sit in our living room on the first floor and hear them while they play in their room on the second floor. Normally they are playing with their toys but a few months back Lucas found a stray crayon and decided to color on the wall with it.

I can’t, and don’t want to, shadow my kids 24/7. They need a little freedom but I still want to know what they are doing so one solution we’ve found is to put a video baby monitor in their room. Anytime I hear things get quiet (which all parents know is the sign that your child is up to something) I can just turn the monitor on and peek in.

The Motorola MBP41 is a 2.8” video monitor that gives parents the ability to keep a close eye on their children. Some of the great features include:

  • • 2.4Ghz FHSS Wireless Technology
  • • 2.8” Color TFT LCD Screen
  • • Pair up to 4 Cameras
  • • Infrared Night Vision
  • • Remote Pan, Tilt and Zoom
  • • Visual Sound Level Indicator
  • • Two-way Communication
  • • Range Up to 590 Feet
  • • Out-of-Range Alert
  • • High Sensitivity Microphone
  • • Low Battery Alert
  • • Support Stand

Setup of the unit was quick and easy. Make sure to let the parent half of the monitor charge fully before you try to use it. The parent’s unit has a stand but is also small enough that it can fit in a pocket so it’s easy to carry around while doing laundry or cleaning.  This is so much nicer than the bulky monitor units that I used with my kids.

I love that the parent can speak to the child through the monitor and it reminds me of those room-to-room speakers some homes have. Being able to pair up to four cameras is a great feature as well to track multiple areas of the home at the same time.  The night vision mode is nice. My favorite feature has to be that the unit in the child’s room has a moving video camera which lets the parent see the whole room just by pushing some buttons on the parent’s monitor. Isn’t that awesome!?

Fits in the palm of your hand!

I wish they had monitors like this when my kids were babies! Do you use a video baby monitor like this? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

(Please note: A baby monitor does not replace adult supervision.)

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Tabeo e2 Kid’s Tablet From Toys“R”Us

tabeo e2

(Disclosure: I received a Tabeo e2 tablet from Toys”R”Us to review but all thoughts are my own.)

My two kids love their tech gadgets so I was excited to learn that Toys”R”Us has their own tablet. The all-new Android™ Jelly Bean 4.2 Tabeo e2 Wi-Fi tablet was created especially for kids. This unique 8-inch tablet features lightning fast performance to handle even the most action-packed games, sharper graphics, advanced parental controls, expanded storage and so much more.

This tablet comes complete with high-impact screen protection, dual-facing cameras, a tabeo App Store packed with thousands of free, kid-friendly applications, plus dozens of preloaded premium apps. With included fan-favorite kids’ apps like Need for Speed™ Most WantedBejeweled® 2The Game of LifeTemple Run 2Fruit NinjaCrayola DigiTools EffectsCartoon NetworkWWE and Playrific, children will enjoy hours of entertainment, fun and education. Available in a blue, pink or clear protective case, the Bluetooth™ enabled device also features an extensive ecosystem of products, including speakers, docking stations and licensed accessories. No batteries required. This tablet is geared towards ages 6 to 11 years but my 4 and 5 year olds have no trouble using it.

My thoughts:

Compared to our regular Android tablet, the Tabeo e2 is a lot more family friendly and has great parent controls. I loved that we could whitelist websites so we had better control over what sites they can go on. This tablet also allows parents to limit the time their kids can be on the tablets which is nice because I don’t even have to say anything when their turns are over.

Have a long car trip ahead? Gone are the days of bags full of things to keep the kids busy because this tablet can entertain them for hours. The Tabeo e2 comes with 30 pre-loaded apps and over a thousand more to download. This tablet is smaller and lighter than our other tablet which makes it great for little hands. It also features a headphone jack so parents don’t have to listen to the soundtracks of their kid’s favorite games again and again. If your child loves taking pictures this tablet is nice because it features two cameras, both rear and forward facing.

The only downfall of this tablet is that occasionally it seems to run kind of slow. I think that all the great features of the Tabeo e2 still make this the best choice for kids but it’s worth mentioning. This tablet can be purchased at Toys”R”Us in stores or online for $149.99 regular price. It’s currently on sale for $119.99!

 

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Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh With Glade® {Giveaway}

glade 1

With a child still in pullups it’s hard to keep my house smelling as fresh as I’d like it to. I often rely on air fresheners to keep the air smelling nice. I received a newly designed Glade® Sense & Spray® Automatic Freshener to try in my home and after a few days of using it I know that this is one product that is going on my must-have list.

I love that Glade’s new modern styles fit in with my home decor. With a 360 degree sensor they are perfect for every room in my home. The scent canister is hidden inside so nobody would guess it was an air freshener.

For those who like to explore different scents there are many to try with this new air freshener. I have Clean Linen in mine which smells like freshly washed laundry. Lavender & Vanilla, Pure Vanilla Joy, and Hawaiian Breeze sound delightful as well.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a new Glade® Sense & Spray® Automatic Freshener and refill

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which scent you’d try first

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @Glade on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

Giveaway ends October 27, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, 18 or older to enter.

(Disclosure: I received a free sample but thoughts are my own.)

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Easy Indian Food At Home

jaali 3

The first time I had Indian food I was in my 20s. I babysat for a family that made it on a regular basis and each time I watched the kids they’d offer it to me. My first taste sent me guzzling the closest drink I could find because I do not like spicy foods. The family showed me how adding yogurt to the food took some of the spice away and I discovered that I did enjoy this type of food.

I’d never made my own Indian food until I was sent some products from Jaali Bean to try. They sent me three meal kits: Creamy Coconut Lentil & Rice Kit, Savory & Spiced Lentil Soup Kit, and Cardamom and Currant Lentil & Brown Rice Kit. I liked that the packages showed the heat level so I knew to start with the mild flavored meals first.

I tried the Creamy Coconut meal first since it sounded delicious and sweet. The kit contained everything I’d need to make the meal. When I opened up the pouch it smelled heavenly.

I like that the meals don’t take more than 30 minutes to make which is perfect for busy parents. I also don’t need any extra ingredients other than cooking oil. Those on special diets will love that many are Gluten-Free and some are vegan and vegetarian as well. All kits contain all natural, non-GMO verified ingredients, too.

The rice tasted just as good as it smelled. I ate mine with some leftover beef kabobs but you can pair yours with any meat you’d like or eat it on it’s own. I am looking forward to trying the other two flavors that I have. Want to make your own Indian food at home? Find Jaali Bean products in specialty stores and high-end groceries throughout the US. Learn more at JaaliBean.com.

(Disclosure: I received meal kits to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Flashlight Friends Make The Dark Not So Spooky

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Jacob is afraid of the dark. Every night we have to have the hallway light on because his nightlight doesn’t give off nearly enough light. We received a flashlight friend for review and, while both boys are loving it, Jacob is especially fond of it because their new stuffed friend has a light in his belly so Jacob has a great light for the dark.

Flashlight Friends are available in four styles: dragon, penguin, puppy and unicorn. I love that the Flashlight Friend is soft and huggable because many of the other light up things we own are hard inside and not something that the kids can sleep with. To turn the light on all the kids have to do is tap the tummy light twice. Another great feature is that the light shuts off automatically 10 minutes later so I won’t find the light still on when I go upstairs to check on the kids before I go to bed.

Flashlight Friends can be purchased online here.

(Disclosure: As stated above, we received a Flashlight Friend for review. All thoughts are my own.)

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Healthier Drink Choices With V8 V-Fusion® Refreshers

v8 logo

(Disclosure: I received products and compensation but all thoughts are my own.)

My boys drink a lot of juice so I was happy to learn about the new V8 V-Fusion® Refreshers because these juice drinks are naturally sweetened and taste delicious which is something both kids and adults love! Made with both fruit and vegetable juices, V8 V-Fusion Refreshers also contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and are an excellent source of Vitamin C. While it’s not made of 100% juice, I think it’s a healthier choice than some of the other juice drinks my children want that are full of artificial flavors and colors.

The juice drinks come in four delicious – and unique – family pleasing flavors: Black Cherry Berry, Cranberry Grape, Tangerine Passionfruit and Peach Strawberry. My family received the Black Cherry Berry and the Tangerine Passionfruit to try.

We loved the Black Cherry Berry (in fact, I’m on my second cup of it as I write this post). It’s full of flavor and I can definitely taste the cherries but like that I taste multiple fruits at once. I also like that it has only 100 calories per serving. Sinisa said it was “delightful” and “refreshing”. The boys loved that it was really sweet and I know that they will be begging me for more soon. It’s great to find a juice drink that we all agree on!

What flavor would you try first?

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Ann Taylor’s New Fragrance

ann taylor

Ann Taylor introduces their first new fragrance since 2008, The Ann Taylor Signature Fragrance. I was sent a sample bottle of it to review.

Inspired by the kaleidoscope of colors and chic beauty of Ann Taylor’s fashion, the fragrance was formulated with special attention to ingredients such as plum, dewdrops, and magnolia. The heart of the fragrance is reminiscent of jasmine and sandalwood leaves a lingering scent of vanilla, musk and floral green. Personally, I really love this scent. To me it smells like a bouquet of flowers with a hint of one of my favorite scents, Vanilla, mixed in as well. It’s definitely a classic scent that I think has staying power.

The bottle was designed with a clean, and modern silhouette showcasing the new Ann Taylor brand mark with a simple but pretty ribbon tie-off. Available this October in stores as well as online, The Ann Taylor Signature Fragrance will retail for $25 for the roller ball, $45 for 1.7 oz and $65 for 3.4 oz.

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VTech Cordless Phones {Walmart Gift Card Giveaway}

vtech 3

(Disclosure: I received a phone and gift card but all thoughts are my own.)

VTech is well known for their innovative products and their newest cordless phone, model  CS6829, is no exception. With Quiet Mode, ECO Mode and DECT 6.0 for the best audio quality, this product offers consumers a dependable phone with loads of functionality at an economical price.

This phone features:

  • DECT 6.0 Digital technology
  • Digital answering system
  • Caller ID/Call Waiting
  • Full Duplex handset and base speakerphone
  • Backlit cordless handset keypad and display
  • Large backlit base display
  • Expandable system up to 5 handsets (uses CS6709 accessory handset)
  • ECO Mode power-conserving technology
  • Quiet Mode silences the ringers
  • 50 name and number phonebook directory
  • 50 name and number Caller ID history
  • Intercom between handset and base unit
  • Conference between an outside line and up to 2 cordless handsets
  • Voicemail Waiting Indicator
  • English/Spanish/French setup menu
  • Table- and wall-mountable
  • Up to 14 minutes of digital recording time
  • Call screening
  • Call intercept
  • Remote access
  • Message retrieval from handset
  • Message time and date stamp
  • Flash
  • Last 10 number redial
  • Mute
  • Volume control
  • Any key answer
  • Battery Type: 2.4V 300mAh Ni-MH

My favorite features:

  • It’s thin! This phone is smaller than my cable remote and really thin (check out the picture above).
  • It can store 50 names/numbers in the phone book. I love being able to see who is calling so I can decide if I want to pick it up or not.
  • The phone has an Energy Star label so I know that it is an energy efficient phone.
  • I can talk on the phone without having to worry that I will hear interference on the line.
  • There is a quiet mode so if I want to turn the ringer off it’s easy to do.
  • The Digital Answering System is a nice feature and I love how high-tech this phone is.

This phone can be purchased at Walmart.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a VTech cordless phone and a $100 Walmart gift card.

 HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite feature of this phone is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Follow VTech Phones on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my posts

6) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends October 25, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, 21 years or older to enter.

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Celebrating National Coffee Day With Gevalia {Giveaway}

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This post is brought to you by Gevalia Coffee from Kraft Foods and The Motherhood. I received a sample of Gevalia Coffee and I’ve been compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite made-up holidays..it’s National Coffee Day! To celebrate I used my Keurig to try Gevalia’s new Cafe-Style Beverages.

Keurig owners who enjoy authentic café-style beverages made from real milk can conveniently prepare them in their own homes with an existing Keurig K-Cup brewer; no special espresso machine or coffee shop needed. Gevalia has 3 different flavors: Mocha Latte, Caramel Macchiato, and Cappuccino. Mocha Latte is a creamy blend of cocoa and coffee topped with a velvety layer of froth. Caramel Macchiato is creamy and smooth with the indulgent flavor of caramel, made from real milk. The Cappuccino flavor is smooth, mildly sweet, with subtle roasted notes and made from real milk.

I had a hard time deciding between the mocha and caramel flavors but decided to try the Caramel Macchiato flavor first. The new Gevalia Cafe-Style Beverages come with two parts- a packet for the froth and a k-cup with the espresso.

To make the drinks you first empty the contents of the froth packet into the cup. This is what gives the drinks the froth at the top, just like you’d get on your coffee if you ordered it in a coffee shop.

The next step is to put the k-cup in your Keurig and brew it like you would any cup of coffee. The hot coffee activates the powder at the bottom of your mug and when it’s done you have a delicious coffee treat.

I’m generally an Iced Coffee drinker but this Caramel Macchiato was really good. It tastes just like my drink I’d get at the coffee shop only it’s much cheaper and I can make it from the comfort of my home.

To learn more about Gevalia Cafe-Style Beverages visit FoamAtHome.Gevalia.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a box of Mocha Latte 2-Step Beverage Packets/K-Cups

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me which flavor is your favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

4) Follow Gevalia on Twitter

5) Follow this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends October 25, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter.

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GeoSafari Jr. Animal Eye Viewers For Kids {Giveaway}

animal eyes

(Disclosure: I received a set of Animal Eye Viewers to review. All thoughts are my own.)

Have a child who is really into animals? Or maybe one who wants to know everything about everything? If so, they will love GeoSafari Jr.’s Animal Eye Viewers from Educational Insights!

These viewers let them see the world through an animal’s eyes. Three viewers come in the box: shark, insect, and a chameleon.

Did you know that sharks can see what’s behind them? Your child can get a 360 degree view with rear-view mirrors, central blind spot, and an ocean-blue tint! They will think they are swimming in the ocean.

Did you know that instects can detect movement faster than we can? Your child will see dozens of mini-images with this pixelated view of the world. For even more fun, have them run around “bzzzz”ing like a bee!

Did you know that chameleons can look in two different directions at once? Your child can look through the viewers that have two independently rotating eyeballs.

The shark was Jacob’s favorite animal eye viewer. He had a lot of fun walking around outside while looking through them and was looking at everything up close. He even wore them to the school bus to show his bus driver because he thought they were so cool!

Want to find more fun ways to use the viewers? Download free play-and-learn activities online.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a set of 3 Animal Eye Viewers courtesy of Educational Insights

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which animal you think your child/grandchild would like the most

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over to enter. Open to US and Canadian residents.

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Keurig® K75 Platinum Brewing System Review

Image courtesy of Keurig

My favorite drinks are flavored iced coffee drinks. I love going to the coffee shop but on rainy or cold days when I don’t feel like going out and days where my coffee craving comes once the kids are in bed I rely on my Keurig to get me through the day. I’ve written about Keurig before when I received my first one from the company and also when I discovered that I could make iced drinks. Keurig recently sent me their new K75 Platinum Brewing System to review along with some samples of K-cups and a super cute travel mug.

Image courtesy of Keurig

I immediately noticed many differences between my old brewer and this new system. The first was that the system came with a charcoal water filter. Since I use tap water and not bottled water to make my coffee I love this feature.

The other thing I noticed about the water container was the lid. It was really easy to fill because a portion of the lid flipped up so I could just pour water in to the container.

Making iced coffee was easy with this new brewer because I could change the temperature of the coffee coming out. Before the coffee would come out so hot that it would take a while to cool it off. By changing the temperature of the water I no longer have this issue. This brewer also had more cup size options than my old one (which only had three) and a removable drip tray to fit my larger cups.

I added a little milk and caramel creamer to my iced coffee and it was so delicious. Making iced coffee in my Keurig is a convenient way to save time and money on my coffee addiction.

If you prefer iced tea over iced coffee, I tried the new Snapple Tea K-Cups and loved the fruity flavors. It was also recently announced that Campbell’s soup will be sold in K-Cup form soon (disclosure: I am a Campbell’s Brand Ambassador). I can’t wait to be able to make soup with my Keurig!

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received this Keurig to review. All thoughts are my own.)

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Fun With PLAY-DOH’s Let’s Create Series

play-doh 2

We were supposed to go out to an amusement park today but it’s raining outside so we decided to stay home. By 10am the kids were already restless so I needed to find something to do to keep them busy. I remembered that PLAY-DOH had sent me two of their new “Let’s Create” products so I pulled them out for some late morning fun.

The two books are Let’s Create: Letters and Let’s Create: Shapes. Both books combine tactile, interactive play with learning to not only help children retain basic concepts taught at the preschool level but also make the learning experience fun.  Let’s Create:  Letters introduces youngsters to the letters of the alphabet, the first step in learning to read.  Kids follow Zany Zebra through different classroom settings to identify key object related to letters. Similarly, in Let’s Create: Shapes, kids take a trip through “town” and learn basic shape recognition – a key pre-school math skill.

Both books are fully illustrated by clay artists using colorful PLAY-DOH.  Hands-on education is priority number one with this new series, and children can make their own shapes and letters using the PLAY-DOH compound, letter and shape molds, and double-sided play mat that are enclosed with each book.

Both boys really enjoyed this activity and it kept them busy for a while. Lucas did the shape book and matched his PLAY-DOH shapes with the ones on the mat. Jacob did the letter one which is a little more advanced than the shape book. Jake had to find all the letter cookie cutters and then match the letters to the ones on the mat.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received these products for review. All thoughts are my own.)

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Hold On To Summer With SoftSoap’s Limited Edition Scents {Giveaway}

SoftSoap

Though it doesn’t feel like it here in Chicago, Summer is coming to an end. In a way I love Fall because that means my kids are in school, it’s football season, and I can enjoy Pumpkin Spice lattes. As much fun as all that is, Summer will always be my favorite season! I love playing in water, longer days, and sunshine. Thankfully, SoftSoap sent me some of their limited edition scented body washes so I can hold on to Summer for as long as I can while still being able to enjoy the perks of Fall. The two new scents are: Pacific Sunset and Maui. 

Softsoap® brand Pacific Sunset Refreshing Citrus

Capture the summer sunset in your shower with the new Softsoap® brand Pacific Sunset Refreshing Citrus Body Wash. The moisture-rich formula leaves skin feeling soft and smooth while the fresh scent of blended citrus fruits takes you on a mini-vacation to a beach in paradise.

Softsoap® brand Maui Coconut Splash

Escape to the beaches of Maui with the new Softsoap® brand Maui Coconut Splash Body Wash. The moisture-rich formula will leave skin feeling soft and smooth while the coconut scent provides a relaxing shower experience, transporting you straight to a lounge chair on the sand.

My favorite body wash is the Maui Coconut Splash scent. I love coconut scents and this one has a slight floral scent added in. It smells amazing! If I had to pick one scent to represent Summer it’s definitely coconut.

Want to try them yourself? Enter the giveaway below!

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win 2 bottles of body wash (1 of each scent)

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me which scent you’d try first

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY:

Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends September 3, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to win.

(Disclosure: I received products from SoftSoap but all thoughts are my own.)

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An Easy Way To Charge Your Phones On The Go

rayovac 2 hour power

I use my phone a lot. I check my personal and work emails, use it to navigate, take pictures and keep up with my friends on social media. When I’m out all day I often find that my phone battery is low by the early afternoon. If I wanted it to last all day I had to plug it in when I could find an outlet which is a huge pain.

When Rayovac emailed me and asked me if I wanted to review their 2-Hour Power mobile charging device it was a no brainer for me. An easy way to charge my phone on the go? Yes, please! The Rayovac 2-Hour Power comes ready-to-use and provides a mobile phone with two additional hours of talk time. The device has a 10 year shelf-life and is small enough to throw in a backpack, purse, or to keep in the car.

The charger was easy to use. Just plug it in to the bottom of your phone and you are ready to go. If you need more than 2 hours of charge you just replace the batteries. I loved being able to plug this into my phone, put my phone in my purse, and run my errands while my phone was charging in my bag. I recommend having one of these with you at all times because you never know when you are going to need your phone. It would be horrible to run out of battery and then get lost or stranded somewhere and have no way to get a hold of anyone. With this Rayovac 2-hour power device you can be sure that you will always have a way to charge your phone, even when you can’t find an outlet.

(Disclosure: I received a device to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Nike’s Back To School Clothing For Boys

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Nike is a well-known athletic brand that’s been around for as long as I can remember with their cool shoes. They also make quality clothing for adults and children. We were sent a couple outfits to review.

The first outfit was perfect for my new little basketball player. He loved that the words on the shirt were printed to match a basketball. I loved the beautiful blue color of the shirt and the fact that I know these pieces are going to hold up well to pass them down to Lucas. Normally he wears preppier clothing to school but he wore this comfortable Nike look to school today {after practicing his dribbling skills while waiting for the bus} because they were having gym class today and he wanted to wear gym shoes and sports clothing.

Look #2 was a skater look which I was surprised to see. Jacob thought the guy on the front of the shirt was silly looking and laughed when I pulled it out of the box. I loved the thickness in the shorts. Sometimes material on boys clothing is so thin but this was definitely not. The cargo pockets on the shorts were a nice feature, too. Jacob loves to carry around all his little treasures so I can see him filling the pockets with all that is special to him.

Which look is your favorite?

(Disclosure: I received Nike clothing for review but all thoughts are my own.) 

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More Than Shoes At Zappos.com

zappos

When I used to think of Zappos.com I always thought of shoes. I honestly didn’t know that they sold anything else so when I was offered a piece of jewelry to review I was quite surprised. Zappos.com sent me a beautiful necklace made by Dogeared Jewels.

I love “mom” themed jewelry. This necklace has a nice little message that comes along with it. I love the look of the gold dipping as well because it adds a shimmer to the necklace.

It is definitely on the small side (above is an image of it in my 5 year old’s hand) but I think it’s perfect for women who want something sentimental but aren’t big jewelry wearers.

Zappos.com has other jewelry available for all occasions and themes. There are state necklaces and necklaces that signify friendship, love, and faith. They also have bracelets, earrings and rings.

Checkout the great selection here! Which one is your favorite?

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FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer At Chicago Farmer’s Market Tomorrow

Freshness Chart

I am excited to announce that I am partnering with the FoodSaver brand to share about their NEW Vacuum Sealer. I will be at the Green City Farmers Market in Chicago with Alli of Couponing for 4 tomorrow, Saturday August 10th, helping people keep their fruits and vegetables fresher longer! Using the FoodSaver system, people can save money by purchasing food in bulk and preserve it for future use.

With a FoodSaver system, families can enjoy fresh, nutritious food throughout the year at a reasonable price. Check out the chart below to see how much longer your food can last!

This past week, I used the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer myself to keep some broccoli fresh.

I found the system so easy to use. You literally stick the food in the FoodSaver bag, put the edge of the bag in the system, and it gets all the air out of the bag. You then press a button and it is sealed. I really liked that there is a button to manually vacuum out the air so you don’t squish items like breads and soft berries. The system also has multiple pre-made sized bags and a roll of “make your own” size bags.

I look forward to using the FoodSaver system more tomorrow and will share more in depth about it and my experience at the Farmer’s Market in my next post. If you are local, I’d love to meet you there tomorrow.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time but all thoughts are my own.)

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Shrimp Alfredo {Recipe}

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(Disclosure: I was given a gift card to buy ingredients for this meal but all thoughts are my own.)

Palmolive reached out to me and challenged me to create a meal with the colors of their new line of dish soap. The colors were white, green, and pink. After thinking about it, Sinisa and I decided on shrimp alfredo with broccoli. Asparagus would also work well in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of broccoli. Below the recipe you will find my thoughts on Palmolive’s new line of soaps that I washed the dishes with.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fully cooked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of basil
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 pound of rotini pasta
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning

Directions to make Shrimp Alfredo:

  • Cook your pasta according to packaging directions, drain, and set aside
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until garlic is golden brown
  • Add shrimp and saute while stirring shrimp until shrimp is fully cooked
  • Stir in brocolli and saute for 3 minutes
  • Add seasonings, sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Let simmer for about 7 minutes
  • Add sauce mixture to pot of cooked pasta and stir well
I love Palmolive’s Fresh Sponge dish soaps so I was looking forward to trying their soft touch brand. They have three scents: coconut butter, Aloe, and Vitamin E. The coconut butter is my favorite scent so I used that to clean the dishes.
The dish soap made a lot of bubbles and using the soap with hot water made it possible to quickly wash my dishes {which, by the way, is my least favorite chore}. Less time doing dishes means Sinisa and I have more time to relax at the end of the day. The bonus is that my hands were still soft so he wanted to hold them while we sat on the couch together. Thank you Palmolive!

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Easy Cakes With The Holstein Pound Cake Maker {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received the pound cake maker to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Cake w/ strawberry topping

It gets so hot in the summer that turning the oven on is the last thing I want to do. Thankfully, I discovered the Holstein Pound Cake Maker which is a handy little portable machine that makes baking cakes quick and easy.

The maker comes with a booklet of recipes which I didn’t have much luck with but I learned that I could use box mixes which was easier to do and tasted better. I used a fun confetti mix left over from the 4th of July. The mix took only a few minutes to put together and just about 7 minutes in the pound cake maker. There is no timer on the maker so I used my microwave timer to time it. The boxed mix made 5 pound cake “loaves”.

Pound cake cooling off

Sinisa made a topping for the pound cake instead of using frosting. He mixed cool whip and strawberry syrup together to make it. We then added strawberries and blueberries for a fun summer treat.

Pound cake dessert

Overall I enjoyed using the pound cake maker and liked how easy it was to make cake. When not in use it can be tucked away in the cabinet which saves precious counter space in my kitchen. You can make any flavor cake you’d like. I think next time I am going to try carrot cake.

Giveaway:

One reader will win a Holstein Pound Cake Maker

Image courtesy of http://holsteinhousewares.com

How To Enter:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1)  Tell me what kind of cake you’d make

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @holsteinkitchen on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends August 5, 2013 at 11:59pm central time. Must be a US resident, 21 and older to enter.

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Schwan’s: Home Cooked Taste From Your Freezer

Pot Roast (image courtesy of schwans.com)

(Disclosure: I received products from the company to try but all thoughts are my own.)

My mom always had Schwan’s deliver food when I was younger. I remember loving the variety of food that was available. My favorite was the bow-tie pasta and vegetables mix. When I was visiting her as a teenager I’d make a quick dinner for myself by adding some butter and seasonings to it.

As an adult I had never ordered from Schwan’s so I was excited to get an opportunity to try some of the foods they offered. I got a few bags full and still haven’t tried everything that was delivered but I wanted to share about some of the items that I enjoyed.

Triple Berry, Apple, Rhubarb Pie with Vanilla Sauce- I do not like rhubarb pie but rhubarb paired with berries and apples turned out to be an amazing combination. The pie comes with a packet of vanilla sauce but it’s also delicious with their vanilla ice cream. I couldn’t get enough of this pie and I recommend baking it and bringing it over to a friend’s so you don’t eat it all yourself ;)

Pot Roast (image courtesy of schwans.com)

Fully Cooked Beef Pot Roast with Gravy- Sinisa loves pot roast but we don’t make it very often because it’s time consuming. This pot roast was ready to go into the oven and came out tender. We had plenty of leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.

Roasted Baby Bakers- Normally I slather my baked potatoes with butter, cheese, and sour cream but these potatoes don’t need anything else! They are perfectly seasoned and tiny potatoes so they cook quickly. We enjoyed these with the Pot Roast.

Cheese and Herb Biscuits- These look tiny when they come out of the bag but don’t be fooled because they plump up nicely. The amount of shredded cheese in them is generous and they remind me of the cheesy biscuits from my favorite restaurant.

Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel Poppers

Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel Poppers- I wasn’t sure if I’d like these but the combo of salty pretzel and sweet filling won me over. They made a great snack since they only took about a minute to cook in the microwave.

Sliced Ham- I love using my crockpot so I looked on the Schwan’s website to see if anyone had tried this method of cooking the ham. I read that some people said that their ham turned out kind of dry after they cooked it. I was worried but when my ham was done cooking I pulled it out and was pleasantly surprised to discover it was nice and juicy. Since the ham was already sliced, I had just put it in the crockpot and put a slice of pineapple between each slice and cooked it in the extra juice.

Want to try some of these items or any of the other ones from Schwan’s? New customers receive $5 off of $25 or $10 off of $50 when you place your first order online at http://www.schwans.com. Enter coupon code ‘CHIARA2′ at checkout to save instantly.

 

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Learning Self-Help Skills With LYSOL No-Touch Hand Soap

LYSOL

(Disclosure: I received LYSOL No-Touch Hand Soap to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Jacob’s messy hands!

Do you have children who look like this after eating? I do! I have two of them. Jacob has pretty much mastered washing his own hands but my youngest is still working on this skill.

Lucas has recently entered the stage of wanting to do everything by himself and washing his hands is no exception. He enjoys playing with his food and, as a result, creates some of the messiest little hands I’ve ever seen. Before, he would go to wash his hands and leave the soap dispenser full of his food covered finger prints.

I recently learned about LYSOL No-Touch Hand Soap which helps reduce the spread of sticky fingerprints {and germs!} and couldn’t wait to try one out. The unit was really easy to put together and gives children the chance to do things for themselves without making a huge mess of the bathroom because all they have to do is hold their hand under the dispenser to get the soap. There is no need to touch anything since the dispenser has a sensor and dispenses the right amount of soap when a hand is held under it!

This past weekend, Lucas was able to eat his Easter candy, walk to the bathroom with his chocolate coated hands, and wash his hands on his own after I had turned on the water for him. He was proud of himself and I am proud of how independent he is becoming!

***

LYSOL launched The Kid Who Touches Everything Contest and the grand prize is a trip to Disney! To enter share your best Messy Moments pictures with LYSOL. (No purchase necessary. Contest runs from 2/25/13- 5/25/13. Open to US residents ages 18+. Void where prohibited. Click here for official contest rules.

(Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of MomCentral Consulting for LYSOL®. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.)

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Oscar Mayer’s New Carving Board Pulled Pork {Review}

pulled pork

I love pulled pork. If I plan ahead and am on top of things around the house I’ll make it in the slow cooker. For this to happen though, I need to have my meat thawed and the ingredients ready so you can probably figure out that this doesn’t happen very often. Thankfully, I can get my pulled pork fix easily with Oscar Mayer’s new product.

Do you like how I made a little campfire with my food? :) I normally don’t eat such nicely displayed food but pulled pork on crackers is my favorite way to enjoy the meat. Oscar Mayer makes a few different varieties of the pulled pork but my favorite is the plain with no seasonings. I add some barbeque sauce and shredded cheese and I have a quick and easy lunch in minutes.

I really liked the convenience of this pulled pork. Making my own takes time and I’m normally busy working in the mornings and don’t think about food until my stomach growls in the afternoon and by then it’s too late to make it. I thought the Oscar Mayer meat was soft and, though this one didn’t have the extra seasonings, it was plenty flavorful. After getting some to review I have bought more at the store so you know that I’m definitely a fan of it.

(Disclosure: I received a sample from Oscar Mayer but all thoughts are my own.)

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Windows Phone 8X by HTC

windows phone

I recently got the new Windows Phone 8X by HTC and have enjoyed testing it out for the past week. I normally go for a plain colored phone but I like the bright blue color of this one. I also like how it runs Windows 8 like my computer does so I found the phone pretty easy to use.

Here are some of my favorite features of the phone so far:

  • It’s so thin! I think it’s the slimmest phone I’ve ever owned. I think this is a great plus for those who like to stick their phone in their pocket.
  • There’s a great variety of apps. I thought Windows wouldn’t have that many apps since the Windows store hasn’t been around as long as the iPhone and Android stores have but I found a lot of apps I love in the store. My new discovery is a Starbucks finder app that tells me where the closest Starbucks is and lets me pay via my phone. I am so excited to try it out.
  • Bright colors on the screen. The screen is so bright and the colors are so vivid. It’s nice to look at.
  • Family Room. I can easily share my calendar, photos, notes, and have a group chat all conveniently on my phone by setting up a “family room”. All I have to do is invite my family members or close friends. So easy to stay connected and I can see so many uses for this.
  • I like being able to “slide” from screen to screen easily with just a flick of my finger.
  • Easy to locate apps and information on the phone. I like the boxes on the main screen but there is also a list of apps for people who prefer that.
  • It’s fast! I’m impatient when it comes to technology and don’t like to wait when I push a button so I’m happy that this phone can keep up with me.

Overall it is a fantastic phone that’s easy to use and I look forward to discovering more features that make life easier and more enjoyable.

(Disclosure: I am a member of HTC’s Troop 8X and received this phone to review. All thoughts are my own.)

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Temporal Artery Thermometer Review & Giveaway

Lucas at the Doctor today. He has the flu :(

Lucas at the Doctor today. He has the flu :(

Lucas woke up today fussy, coughing, and warm to the touch. After we got him something to drink I went to take his temperature. This is something that I normally dread doing because he hates sitting there while I hold a little thermometer under his arm. It just makes him even more miserable than he is already feeling.

Luckily I had a new thermometer to test out. The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer is perfect for kids like Lucas because it only takes a few seconds to get an accurate temperature. I don’t have to lift up his shirt to stick something under his arm with this one which he really liked. This thermometer also makes taking temperatures of sleeping children easy!

The biggest plus for me as a mom was that it took the temperature in just three easy steps. All I had to do was press and hold a button while I moved the thermometer across his forehead. When I got to the end I just released the button and then I could read the temperature in the display window. I liked that the thermometer even beeped to let me know I was using it correctly.

When it comes to accuracy, I felt this thermometer was pretty right on the temperature. I also took it multiple times in a row to see if the temperature would change (like my old thermometer did) but the numbers were pretty consistent. The reading was a degree higher than what it was at the Doctor but he had medicine before we left so I think that was why. Reading more about the thermometer I saw that this thermometer was so accurate because it took 1,000 readings per second.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win an Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite feature of this thermometer is

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Leave a comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends January 25, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only

(Disclosure: I received a thermometer to review but all thoughts are my own.)

 

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The City Ruffle Shawl- A Perfect Gift For The On-The-Go Mom

City Ruffle Shawl - how to wear

Busy moms know that when you are on the go you want to be stylish and comfortable at the same time. I also like to wear layers so I can easily change what I’m wearing to work for the temperature in the room. The City Ruffle Shawl from AprilMarin is perfect for my every day life.

I love that there are so many ways to wear it. I can dress it up with some jewelry or dress it down with a tank top and some comfy boots. It can be worn several different ways which is fun. I received one in black and have been wearing it over my shoulders to keep warm while I work.

This accessory is one size fits all and comes in a variety of different colors. I love the one pictured above and think it would brighten a room with it’s pretty color. Another feature is that it’s machine washable which is great because that means washing it is not a hastle.

The City Ruffle Shawl retails for $89. You can find more images of the shawl and a link to purchase one here.

(Disclosure: I received a City Ruffle Shawl to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Five Green Gifts Under $25

green gift guide

Still looking for a gift for that Eco-conscious friend or family member? The Green Bride Guide, the nation’s leading resource for eco-friendly wedding ideas, product and services, offers five great green gift ideas for under $25.

1)    HAPPINESS WOODEN COASTER SET

Price: $24.95 for a set of four

Description: This set of four coasters is handmade from the branch of a fallen maple tree, making them a unique and eco-friendly gift or decor piece. The coasters are kept as natural as possible. The bark has been removed and each one has been sanded smooth on all sides. Each coaster is finished with 2 coats of water based polyurethane that is traditionally used to seal hardwood floors. You will receive the 4 coasters that will look very similar to the photo.

2)    Hand & Foot Care Gift Set: Refresh

Price: $20.00

Description: Want to give someone a special gift? Give them the gift of touch. What better way to give a memorable gift than by giving someone a neck and shoulder massage, a hand or foot massage, maybe a mani-pedi, or all the above. Incorporate a little aromatherapy and you have the perfect formula for putting them into a state of bliss. This little Hand & Foot Care aromatherapy gift set keeps hands and feet in tip-top shape and smelling great.

3)    BEACHWOOD BIRD KITCHEN UTENSILS

Price: $16

Description: Liven up your kitchen this holiday season with this gorgeous set of whimsical beechwood bird kitchen utensils. These sensational spoons are laser-engraved to ensure the images will not fade, they won’t scratch or damage non-stick cookware, and they do not impart any flavor.

4)    RECYCLED GLASS RING

Price: $25

Description: These amazing eco friendly rings are created from the antique glass reclaimed throughout the wooded habitats in the Pennsylvania Amish Country.   The glass from vintage mason jars are hand cut and fired, producing tons of beautiful seed bubbles in the glass, then and mounted on a sterling plated platinum ring. The silver back reflects the light through the pretty transparent glass giving the look of a constant glow. Band is fully adjustable to fit everyone with a comfortable fit.

5)    PEARLESCENT SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS

Price: $25

Description: Indonesian artistry is showcased in the opalescent mother of pearl with Pearlescent Salt and Pepper Shakers. These elegant serving accessories includes one of nature’s most beautiful offerings from a fully sustainable source.

***

I received one of the beachwood bird kitchen utensils to review. The detailing on the spoon is beautiful and I like that the image won’t fade. The quality of this wood is really nice and the spoon is very sturdy. I also really like that it won’t scratch my expensive pans.

(Disclosure: I received a product for review but all thoughts are my own.)

 

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Air Wick’s Color Changing Candles {Giveaway}

air wick candle

I love candlelight. There’s something about lighting a candle and turning off all the lights in the room that I just find so relaxing. Scented candles are even better because many scents bring back happy memories for me.

When I was introduced to Air Wick’s new color changing candles I was intrigued. These candles are scented but they also bathe the room in a colorful glow while they are burning. I sat down the other night with some coffee to work online and lit my new apple cinnamon scented color changing candle. I watched as the base of the candle turned from white to blue, then green, then yellow, then red, then purple, and back to blue again. Over and over again it went through this color changing cycle. It was seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen a candle do and I still can’t figure out how it changed colors like it did. If you go to Air Wick’s website you can see an example of the colors changing while the candle is burning.

I loved the apple cinnamon scent and thought it wasn’t too overpowering for a small space but still filled the room with just the right amount of scent. They have other scents available as well like Crackling Fire & Log Cabin , Fresh Snow & Sleigh Bells , Lavender & Chamomile , Vanilla Indulgence , Vanilla & Sugar Cookies , and Warm Apple Pie. I have never used a product that smelled like a crackling fire but I think that scent would be perfect for a cold night like tonight.

I used this candle while I was working and relaxing on my couch but I think it would be a great conversation started at a holiday get-together or party. Want to try Air Wick’s color changing candles for yourself? Read on…

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a color changing candle from Air Wick.

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what occasion you think this candle would be perfect for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Like Air Wick on Facebook

Giveaway ends January 2, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received a candle and gift card to compensate me for my time but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

 

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Carmex Lip Conditioner Review

carmex lip conditioner

Here’s a great idea for a stocking stuffer: Carmex Lip Conditioner. I love the flavored lip balms that Carmex has so I wanted to try the lip conditioner because it’s orange flavored. The flavor and scent reminds me of the orange and vanilla ice cream bars so it won points there. I found that the lip conditioner was creamier and not as sticky as their regular lip balm. This Carmex lip conditioner could be worn under lipstick or lip gloss or alone. I’ve been wearing it alone and like the shiny look of my lips and I feel like my lips are protected and stay moist when I’m outside in the cold weather. My lips still felt nice and smooth hours after the product had worn off.

Here are more details about the product from Carmex’s website:

Like your lip balm on the lighter side? Our Lip Conditioner absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, plus we blend a hint of natural orange flavor with 13 moisturizers to deliver extra-soothing results.

  • Your skin’s lipid bilayer is made up of two layers of fatty acids; its job is to help keep moisture in the skin. Our Lip Conditioner includes lanolin, which replicates the way the lipid bilayer in your skin retains moisture.
  • Our formula includes dimethicone to aid with moisturization and protect the tender skin on your lips.
  • Our Lip Conditioner uses allantoin to effectively aid with moisturization plus help healing.

(Disclosure: I received products from Carmex but all thoughts are my own.)

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Cluck ‘N’ Chuck Children’s Game Review

cluck n chuck box

Whenever we get the boys together with their two cousins it’s pure chaos. Good chaos but chaos nonetheless. I’ve found that having an activity for them to do gets them to sit still for a bit {instead of making sandwiches of each other which you may remember from my Thanksgiving post…}

This year I came armed to the party with a brand new game I had received called Cluck ‘N’ Chuck. Here’s a little about the game:

Cluck ‘N’ Chuck is a game that’s bursting with fun – and chickens! This game for two to four players will leave kids in hysterics as they try to contain runaway chickens. Roll the die to see which chickens you can chuck into the coop. But move quickly before the coop jumps up and they all fly out! It’s a race to see who can round up their chickens first in this rowdy cluck-cluck game! For ages 4 and up.

My nephew playing the game.

When it was time to play the game the kids all sat down in front of me and patiently waited for me to get all of the pieces out. I liked that there wasn’t much to do to get the game set up which was nice. To start the children all counted out chickens and lined them up in front of themselves. I pushed the coop down and they then took turns rolling the dice and putting the correct color chicken on top of the coop. During this game they practiced their colors and turn taking. Once the internal timer on the coop was up, the coop popped up and sent the chickens flying. It was so funny to see the children’s faces the first time it popped up and I loved listening to them giggle each time it happened.

This game retails for $16.99 and if you have preschoolers I think they will love this game.

{Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this game but all thoughts are my own.}

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Rainbow Monkey Hangers {Kickstarter Project}

hanging monkeys

I’m kind of a neat freak when it comes to my boys’ closet and it drives me nuts when they just pull things out and everything ends up piled around their room. I know there’s no magic wand to get them to be as O.C.D. as I am but I think these Rainbow Monkey hangers might at least get them interested in putting their clothes back in their closet. If cleaning up is made fun kids will do it happily and I don’t think anything could be more fun than animal shaped hangers. And they come in fun colors!

Moms of little girls get an extra organizational bonus of being able to clip bows and hair accessories on the monkeys. How much easier would that make your morning?

Another bonus? They make a cute room decoration when not in use. Check out the hanging monkeys:

Seriously these are adorable! Now for some bad news… these aren’t on the market! This cute product was created but now it’s up to you, the consumer, to help get them on the market. You can do so by taking part in the Kickstarter campaign. Find out more details here and help get these on the market!

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post but all thoughts are my own. Images are courtesy of Rainbow Monkey.)

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Dinner In 15 Minutes With Campbell’s Skillet Sauces

skillet1

This season has been so busy with work, Holiday prep, family commitments, and preparing for my Final I’m taking tomorrow morning in my college class. If I’m going to get dinner on my table this month it has to be easy to make. With two little boys it also has to be kid-friendly because I don’t have time to be making two separate meals.

I was recently introduced to Campbell’s Skillet Sauces. The sauces come in six different flavors:

  • Creamy Chipotle with Roasted Corn & Black Beans
  • Marsala with Mushrooms & Garlic
  • Thai Green Curry with Lemongrass & Basil
  • Toasted Sesame with Garlic & Ginger
  • Fire Roasted Tomato with Red Bell Peppers & Chiles
  • Scampi with White Wine & Garlic

All of the sauces can be found at the grocery store near the other marinades and sauces. With this product you can have a delicious dinner on the table in only 15 minutes with just three easy steps:

    1.  HEAT.  Heat oil in skillet over medium/high heat.
    2.  ADD.  Add your protein or vegetables and cook until browned.
    3.  STIR.  Stir in sauce and heat to boil. Reduce heat and cover for five minutes or until protein is cooked through and/or vegetables are tender.

On a busy night we decided that we were going to try one of these Campbell’s Skillet Sauces. Sinisa and I debated over which flavor we were going to try first and with which meat we were going to make it with. Sinisa wanted to make the Creamy Chipotle with Roasted Corn & Black Beans with Pork and I thought Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms & Garlic sounded good. Eventually we decided to make Chicken in the Toasted Sesame with Garlic & Ginger sauce. We thought about both pasta and rice as sides and decided rice sounded better with this Asian inspired meal.

Sure enough dinner was on the table in less than 20 minutes. The chicken was tender and the sauce it was in was thick and delicious! After eating we decided that the only thing we’d change would be to put vegetables in with the chicken and sauce. I can’t wait to try the other Campbell’s Skillet Sauces and create other new meals for our family to enjoy.

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Campbell supplied me with the product so I could post about my experience. All opinions are my own.)

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The Perfect Baby Shower Gift {Tower Of Time Review}

SAMSUNG

Child to Cherish features a broad selection of quality gift and keepsake items ideal for gift giving and receiving for any and every special occasion year round. Each item is set to to capture precious moments of a child’s life, and make lasting memories. Child to Cherish’s wide selection of baby gifts and keepsakes makes every baby shower, christening , baptism, birthday, or any occasion for that matter, all the more special.

I ordered the Handprints Tower Of Time from Amazon.com. There were three color choices, blue, pink, and multi. I chose the blue one because I have boys. It cost $24.69 which was a couple dollars less than the pink tower and the multi-colored tower. It took a little longer to receive it than things normally have when I have ordered online but I liked that the shipping was free since I added something else to my order so my cart’s total was over $25.

When I received the Tower Of Time the 5 tins were stacked on top of each other smallest to largest and wrapped in plastic. I opened it up and realized that the tins were not just stacked on top of each other but had rims on the top that would hold the tins in place. Each tin had a cute design and on the lid said “My hand when I was…1″, 2, 3 and so on up to 5.

I wish I had received this as a gift when my boys were younger. How fun would it be to have their handprints from birth through age five? So, since my children are 3 and 4 I had to figure out what I was going to do with them. I considered only using them for my youngest so he could get 3 years worth of use out of the product and I’d have his preschool year handprints. In the end though, I decided to make this a keepsake for back to school and had Lucas put his hand in the 3 year old tin and Jacob in the 4 year old one.

Each tin has a bagful of powder in it and an instruction sheet. The directions were pretty easy. All I had to do is measure out a certain amount of water, put it in a bowl {or cup} slowly while I mixed it, and then pour it into a tin. The directions said the plaster would be a toothpaste like consistency but for the first batch it seemed to be too runny. I figured, since I had used the right amount of water, that it was okay.

I wasn’t sure how my little wiggly 3 year old would do. I showed him a few times what I wanted him to do with his hand- open fingers, put your hand in carefully, pull it directly up. I took his hand and guided it into the tin full of plaster and he did what I thought he would do and moved his fingers around a bit. I think he thought it was fingerpaint! We tried about 10 times and, though I finally got him to put his hand in without moving it too much, it didn’t turn out anything like I’d imagined it would. As soon as he moved his hand the stuff in the tin would slowly creep into his handprint.

Next up was Jacob, Mister “I do it myself”. He did really good putting his hand in and pulling it right out. He got his handprint on the first try. The plaster seemed thicker when I was mixing it so it didn’t surprise me when Jacob’s handprint turned out really well.

You can see the difference between the two. Luke’s is on the left and you can barely see the handprint compared to Jake’s on the right.

Overall, I really liked this product. I think it would make a great gift for a new mom. I had a little trouble with the plaster but I think that could be fixed by starting off with less water. It’s easier to add water than to remove it.

Connect with Child To Cherish online:

Facebook & Twitter

(Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Pollinate Media Group and Child to Cherish, but all opinions are my own.)

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Lazoo Children’s Apparel Review

lazoo
Lazoo is a quality-conscious lifestyle children’s brand emphasizing award-winning design, creativity, and play.  It was founded by two New York City dads, with eight kids between them.  Inspired by an internationally best-selling series of Japanese children’s books, our unique products embody the same core mission: to foster a child’s creative process, encourage self-expression and empower the imagination. 
I had the chance to review a sweatshirt from Lazoo’s “Vintage” line. I loved the colors of the sweatshirt. The aqua blue goes well with the grey. The zipper on the sweatshirt was high quality and easy to zip up and down. The stitching was also nicely done. The sweatshirt had felt stars sewed on it as well which was a nice touch. I also liked that the inside of the hood was lined and had a ribbon of color along the edging of it.
And because he’s 4 years old he had to do a silly picture, too….
In addition to clothing, Lazoo also has a fun iPad app. Just released is Squiggles!, a revolutionary drawing iPad app for young children!  Squiggles! is based on their best-selling coloring and activity book and is FREE to download. 
***
(Disclosure: I received a sweatshirt to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Elefun Snackin’ Safari Game {Review & Giveaway}

Elefun Snackin' Safari

In Elefun Snackin’ Safari, Elefun sniffs out snacks with his bouncing trunk! Preschoolers will race around the room with their Elefun friends as they try to find the silliest snacks. Whoever snacks the most wins. For an additional way to play, search for Elefun’s favorite snack – the Golden Tutti Fruitti Cake. Be the first to sniff it out and instantly win the game. Elefun Snackin’ Safari from Elefun and friends.

I played this game with Jacob, my 4 year old. At first he had a hard time figuring out how the elephant trunk attached to the card with the suction cup and how to get the card off once it was on. After a couple tries he had it figured out and it was easy for him to play.

I liked that there were different ways we could play this one game. At first we looked for the color cards that matched our handle. Next, we played the game where whoever found the cake card first won. After mommy won 3 times, Jake finally won and was so excited. We didn’t play it as a matching game but there is also that option as well.

Overall, I thought it was a cute game and liked that there weren’t many instructions for my preschool aged children to follow. The game is for 1 to 2 players which works for me because I have two children but may not be ideal for families with more kids who all want to play a game together. Elefun Snackin’ Safari comes out in Fall 2012 at mass merchandise retailers nationwide and will retail for $14.99.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win an Elefun Snackin’ Safari game

HOW TO ENTER:

Tell me why you want to win

You get an extra entry if you share this giveaway {leave a separate comment}

Giveaway ends August 12, 2012. US only.

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this game to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Leapfrog Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar & Learning Bus Review

touch magic

Leapfrog sent me two new products, the Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar and the Touch Magic Learning Bus. We  had a Rock ‘n Learn party with our cousins so we could try the products out.

The first product all of them wanted to try was the Rockin’ Guitar.

The kids had a lot of fun with this guitar. They enjoyed the songs that were in the guitar and liked pressing the silly sounds button. I liked that it had a strap so they could wear it like a real guitar. It also had an easy on/off button on the front which was nice so the kids could learn how to turn it off themselves.

Nana and Maddie playing the guitar

After I opened the guitars I took the Learning Bus out.

I love toys that teach the alphabet while still being fun and the Learning Bus is definitely one of those types of toys. Along with learning the ABC’s there was also a musical feature to this toy. The toy has a keyboard and then the wheels are a cymbal and a drum. The animals in the windows of the bus tell a little about their instruments and then play music when touched.

Overall, I like the Touch Magic toys. Kids nowadays are used to playing games on touch screen smartphones so I liked that these had the touch play feature. The children {ages 3-5} preferred the Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar over the Learning Bus, but as a parent, I preferred the bus.

My only concern about these products is the durability of them. I am used to children’s toys being thicker and sturdier but these two toys seem a little flimsy. I am not sure how they will hold up but for about $25 each I think they are both still a wise investment.

(Disclosure: I received products from Leapfrog to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat {Review}

maxi-cosi

My boys have each gone through a couple car seats in their lives. The main reason we needed to buy new ones was because they outgrew their previous ones. When I heard there was a car seat that went from 4 pounds to 70 pounds I wanted to learn more. Maxi-Cosi sent me their Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat to try out with my three year old.

When I first took the car seat out of the box I looked it over. I liked how it wasn’t too wide which is great for families with multiple kids in the backseat. With this car seat and Jake’s there is enough room for someone to fit in the middle seat which wasn’t possible when Luke’s first car seat was there.

I liked that the car seat had an insert for babies. Since Lucas is 3 years old we didn’t need that so we had to remove it. In terms of difficulty this was probably the most complicated car seat we have owned. It took two of us about half an hour to figure out how to remove the tiny fit insert. I think this wouldn’t have been a problem if *someone* didn’t throw out the instructions w/ the box! Once we figured out how to remove this we had no problem figuring out how to use it and it was really easy to install in the car.

Lucas in his new Maxi-Cosi car seat

Lucas likes his new car seat. It gives him more leg room than his previous one did so he doesn’t feel squished. He also likes that it hugs his body. I like that the Pria 70 has safety features like side impact protection and also features a FlexTech™ system for multi-directional energy management if we ever were in an accident. I also like that it reclines which is nice if we are traveling during naptime. It even has an easy to adjust shoulder harness that can be moved with one hand so you don’t have to completely remove the car seat from the car which is a perk for any parent.

Lucas loves it!

Learn more about the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat {including where to purchase one} on their website.

Check back tonight for an infant car seat giveaway! :)

(Disclosure: I received a car seat from Maxi-Cosi to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Erin Condren Life Planner {Not-So-Wordless Wednesday}

I chose the "Favorite Things" design and they put my list of favorite things on the cover. I changed the color of the text for my name to pink since that's my favorite color. I also chose only one line of text (you can put two lines of text if you want)

I hadn’t heard of the Erin Condren life planners until a couple months ago when I asked on Facebook about what planners people liked because I needed a new one. After much research and balking at the price tag {$55} I decided to purchase one. I plan on doing a more in depth review with pictures of how I’m using it but many people have been asking me for pictures so I wanted to post these since I’m not sure when I’ll get around to doing my full review of it. Enjoy :)

I chose the “Favorite Things” design and they put my list of favorite things on the cover. I changed the color of the text for my name to pink since that’s my favorite color. I also chose only one line of text (you can put two lines of text if you want)

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My favorite feature of the Erin Condren Life Planner: A weekly view with a lot of space per day. The days are split into morning, day, and night.

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Along with the weekly calendar, the inside pages include quotes sprinkled throughout, a perpetual calendar for birthdays and anniversary, monthly calendars, lined pages, and blank pages.

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The first picture is of the photo stickers I ordered for my planner {$5 extra}. The planner includes colored stickers {blank and with words-extra can be ordered for an additional cost}, a pocket folder, and a clear pouch. In the clear pouch are little “extras” which can be seen in the last picture.

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The planner comes in a 12 month style or 18 month style and I chose the 18 month one. I like the planner and it was pretty expensive but when I thought about it and did the math it only costs me about 10 cents per day to have a planner that I love. I use it nonstop throughout the day so it was definitely worth it for me.

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See more reviews at the Erin Condren link up

(Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated review. I payed full price for this planner. I just wrote a post since people were wanting to see my planner.)

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Kiwi Crate Review {Subscription Based Project Boxes For Kids}

SAMSUNG

Kiwi Crate is a subscription based service that sends crates designed around fun themes and filled with all of the materials and inspiration for hands-on projects. The boxes vary each month but feature two projects that could be anything from an arts & crafts project to a science activity.

I liked that the box was addressed to the boys. Who doesn’t love to get special packages in the mail?

This crate’s theme was “wind power” and contained all of the materials needed to make a wind car and a wind sock. They provide everything, even the scissors so you don’t need to hunt around the house for anything. You can just sit down and spend some quality time with your child.

Step-by-step picture instructions were included. Jacob chose to make the wind sock first. We started by Jacob using the pictures to tell me each item we needed. He was so proud that he could do that part by himself. We then followed the directions and put the wind sock together.

When we were done making the wind sock, Jacob went outside and hung it on the tree.

The project wasn’t over once it was outside blowing in the wind which was probably the best part about the kiwi crate. This craft project turned into a science project where Jacob could look at the wind sock and tell us how windy it was outside and then document his findings.

Lucas made a wind sock, too {though mommy did most of the work for him} and he proudly displayed his wind sock next to his big brother’s.

Overall, I love the idea of the crates. The Kiwi Crate subscription costs $19.95 per month. I think that they would make great gifts for children. They are packaged nicely and lots of fun for the kids. The boys probably didn’t even realize that they were learning while they were coloring and playing!

{Disclosure: I received a Kiwi Crate to review but all opinions are my own.}

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grUVywear UV Protective Swimwear Review {And A Coupon Code}

grUVywear collage

My boys love to play outside in their kiddie pool so I was happy to have a chance to review grUVywear, UV protective swimwear. Most of the time they just wear swim-trunks and their skin is coated with sunscreen that is 50 or higher but having read so much about skin cancer recently I wanted to try this. From what I’ve heard, dermatologists say that the most effective way to protect skin is to wear sun protective clothing. grUVywear swimshirts block 97.5% of the sun’s harmful rays.

I chose the 18-24 month size for Lucas since the swimwear is supposed to be a little fitted. He just turned three but is really skinny {he still can fit into his 12 and 18 month shorts!} I thought the swimwear fit true to size. I liked the bright colors though I would have preferred the writing not be on the front of the shirt. The shirt and shorts seemed to be made of quality material and it was very stretchy which was nice. The thing I like about the shirt and shorts most is that they are protecting his skin when he wears them and that they provide a UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, of 50+ {compared to dry t-shirts which provide a UPF rating of about 7}.

Here are some facts that I found in the grUVywear informational brochure that I’d never heard before:

  • We get about 80% of our total lifetime sun exposure in our first 18 years of life.
  • Skin cancer is the fastest growing form of cancer in the US. One person dies every hour from skin cancer.
  • More that 90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, yet fewer than 30% of adults and children use sun protection.
  • Two early sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life.

That last fact really surprised me and reminded me how important our job as parents is to take care of our children’s skin and teach them the importance of proper skin care.

COUPON CODE:

Use code SAVE1503 for 15% off your grUVywear purchase

{Discount code valid until July 15, 2012}

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary outfit from GrUVywear in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Beamz Interactive Music System Review

He kept covering up the holes where the laser lights were coming from.

My family recently had a chance to review the Beamz Interactive Music System. According to the website, “The Beamz is an innovative recreational musical instrument and music entertainment product that enables people of all ages and skill levels to have fun creating and playing music. By breaking the path of each beam, this laser trigger-based instrument will unleash the musician in anyone.” I was excited to try it out.

When we got the box I was surprised at how large the system was. Excited to try it, we took it out of the box and went to work setting it up. I soon discovered that it was not going to be as easy as I had originally figured it would be. The software and the disc of music needed to be put in a cd-rom drive. The problem was that my computer did not have anywhere for me to put a disc in. I tried to think of other ways to go about getting things setup. I went online and found a download of the Beamz software. I quickly downloaded it and installed it on my computer. The music was not going to be so easy. I wasn’t able to get the 50 songs from the CD as a download. I did discover though, that if I joined the Beamz community, I received some free downloads. I found a link to the community at the top of the website next to the social media icons.

I joined the community, got my free songs, and called the kids downstairs to play our new music system. At first, I was completely confused at how in the world we were supposed to use the system. We spent about 30 minutes sticking our hands in and out of the player in front of the laser and listening to random sounds being made. I thought it was all a little boring and wondered how it got such great reviews all over the web. I found a YouTube video and watched someone actually playing the system and I realized that I had spent a whole lot of time playing the Beamz the wrong way. Once I figured out the correct way to play it, I thought it was fun and the music coming from it sounded a whole lot better. I was still no expert at playing it but at least it wasn’t just sounds, it actually could have been considered {bad} music!

This is what is on the computer screen while the Beamz player is being used.

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Finding and switching to a new song is easy.

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Sinisa immediately figured out how to use the Beamz player.

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He played a few songs by himself to get the hang of it.

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It was then time to teach Jake.

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Jacob enjoyed playing the Beamz system.

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Jake was mesmerized by the lasers.

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He kept covering up the holes where the laser lights were coming from.

Sinisa got the hang of the system right away and enjoyed pretending like he was playing the guitar. Jacob was mesmerized by the laser lights and enjoyed knowing that he could move his hands to make fun sounds. I think that the Beamz system would be great at family parties and gatherings with friends but don’t think it will get much consistent use at our home.

(Disclosure: This product has been provided as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions are my own.)

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Dale and Thomas Popcorn Father’s Day Giveaway

dale & thomas

I shared about a month ago how great I think Dale and Thomas Popcorn is so I was really excited to receive another sampler pack to try. This popcorn is delicious. Their sweet flavors were my favorite {see my review here} but I also found that I love their savory flavors as well. I was not sure if I’d like the White Cheddar & Black Peppercorn flavor but after I ran out of all the sweet popcorn I still wanted to eat more so I figured I’d try it. It was really good. While I wouldn’t have chosen this flavor over their Chocolate Chunk N’Caramel or Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Drizzlecorn {two of my favorites from the flavors I tried last month}, it is still something that I found myself craving.

The Father’s Day sampler includes four flavors: Dale’s Caramel, Cinnamon Sugar Swirl, Hall of Fame Kettle Corn, and White Cheddar & Black Peppercorn. The caramel popcorn was really sweet and tasted like candy. I found it was a little too sweet so I could only eat a little at a time {which is good sense eating a whole bag of popcorn isn’t good for the figure}. I also tried the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl popcorn for the first time. I thought it tasted exactly like the cinnamon sugar toast I enjoy eating for breakfast. It also reminded me of the Fall season for some reason.

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a Father’s Day sampler from Dale & Thomas Popcorn

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Tell me which you prefer: sweet or savory popcorn

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Dale and Thomas Popcorn on Facebook

4) Share this giveaway on the social network of your choice

5) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends June 16, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. Winner must live in the contiguous United States. No P.O boxes.

(Disclosure: I received popcorn from Dale and Thomas Popcorn but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated in any way with Facebook.)

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Wonderworld Toys Bakery Set Giveaway {Shake, Rattle and Roll Event}

wonderworld bakery set

Check out my giveaway below and then don’t forget to enter to win the Shake, Rattle, & Roll Grand Prize sponsored by Tommee Tippee! You will have the chance to win a Closer to Nature Audio Baby Monitor valued at $149.99! Visit Formula Mom to Enter the Shake, Rattle, & Roll Grand Prize Giveaway!!

MY GIVEAWAY:

‘My Bakery Set’ by Wonderworld Toys {$40 ARV}

This eco-friendly, wooden set is not only adorable but was a big hit with my boys. It kept them busy for over an hour, which is normally something only cars and trains can do. What I loved most about the set was that it wasn’t just a box of play food. The “food” actually came in multiple pieces with a set of picture directions of how to make the two recipes. I thought the strawberry and orange garnishes that were included were a nice touch. It amazed me to watch my little two and three year olds pretending to cook just like mommy and daddy do and it was cute to watch them pretend to read the directions and put the desserts together step by step as the recipe showed.

Look what my boys “baked” me for breakfast :)

I thought the quality of the bowl and the utensils were very good. The only thing that I would have changed would have been to make the container, box, and recipe sheet out of heavier paper or even laminated paper. While the paper items didn’t rip the first couple times this toy has been played with, I am afraid that it may soon. Other than that we absolutely love this set and would recommend it to any parent or grandparent who has a little baker of their own :)

Another cool thing that Wonderworld Toys does is that they plant two trees for every one tree that they use. They have planted over 60,000 trees so far!

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this bakery set for

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Wonderworld Toys on Facebook

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Follow @WonderworldToys on Twitter

6) Share this giveaway on a social network

7) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends June 5, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US only.

(Disclosure: I received a bakery set to review but all thoughts are my own.)

(Disclaimer: Formula Mom, Tales From the Nursery, and the Shake, Rattle, & Roll bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that fail to fulfill their prizes.)

Find more infant, toddler and child giveaways at the link below!

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Sleep Number m7 Memory Foam Bed Review

sleep number

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning from a night of sleep feeling worse than you did before you went to sleep. That’s how I felt every morning after I awoke from a less than comfortable night of sleep on my old mattress. So you can image how ecstatic I was when I received an email asking me if I wanted to review a Sleep Number m7 Memory Foam Bed. I obviously didn’t need to think for more than a second before replying YES!

Features:

  • Three inches of exclusive Sleep Number CoolFit™ foam with gel technology provide a cool, soothing sleeping surface.
  • CoolFit foam is naturally contouring and more breathable compared to the leading memory foam brand.
  • Exclusive Sleep Number DualAir™ technology lets sleepers adjust firmness on each side of the mattress for their ideal level of comfort.

When delivery day arrived I was interested to see how the bed was put together so I peeked in on the two men were setting it up. Never having a Sleep Number bed I was surprised to see that they didn’t bring a mattress in the door but they explained to me that the two mattress chambers were full of air so that’s why I didn’t see a big bulky mattress. Here are some pictures of the delivery and setup:

The memory foam

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The base of our bed

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The bed setup and ready for the inside air chambers

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The top layer of the bed

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Sleep Number Bed with my pretty new linens on it

I couldn’t wait to sleep in our bed the first night but first I had to “personalize” the bed. The Sleep Number Memory Foam Bed is unique because it has  DualAir™ technology that lets sleepers adjust firmness on each side of the mattress for their ideal level of comfort. I followed the directions and laid down on the mattress on my side of the bed so that I could find my “number”. This number determines the firmness of each side of the bed. I was told to start at the highest number {and firmest mattress} and go down in increments of 5 from there until the mattress was comfortable. I started at 100 and went down all the way to 35. I felt like I was laying on a cloud. The bed underneath me was so soft. I laid down and closed my eyes.

I had a hard time falling asleep that first night, and the next night after that. I was used to sleeping on a king size bed and this one was a queen size so it took some getting used to a smaller bed. I thought maybe I had chosen a number that was wrong for me but I remembered that I had been told to sleep on the bed for a few days before changing the number. With this in mind I slept on the bed again and was happy to find that it was a little easier to fall asleep and I felt better upon waking in the morning. This continued for a few days until I found myself getting comfortable the second my head hit the pillow.

And how do I feel when I wake up? AMAZING! It feels wonderful to wake up and not have a sore back. After sleeping on my Sleep Number m7 Memory Foam Bed I could not imagine ever sleeping on a regular old mattress again.

Want to get your own Sleep Number bed? Check out the Sleep Number website to learn about their line of mattresses. Find out how to get $50 off a new mattress here.

You can also connect with Sleep Number on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out their current contest!

(Disclosure: I was given a Sleep Number m7 Memory Foam Bed to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Ultimate Swim Diaper Board Shorts Giveaway {Summer Splash Giveaway Hop}

iplay swim shorts

WithOurBest Event Button

Welcome to Summer Splash hosted by Life With Two Boys, With Our Best, and Bella So Savvy! This event begins on May 14, 2012 at 12:01am EST and will end on May 27, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.

Over 100 blogs have come together to bring you some amazing prizes to help you kick off your summer… with a SPLASH! Each blog is giving away at least $25 worth of prizes, plus we have an awesome grand prize for one very lucky winner. Be sure to hop along to each of the participating blogs because the more giveaways you enter, the more chances you have at winning the Grand Prize!

So what’s this Grand Prize we’re talking about? Thanks to Kid’s Creations one very lucky winner is going to win a Two Ring Adventure Playset valued at $3,598! Made from the highest quality Redwood and loaded with fun activities, this swing set is sure to make this summer one to remember! (Please note that the grand prize is only open to residents of the Continental United States and does not include assembly/installation.)

Information about my sponsor and giveaway:

One of the boys’ favorite things to do in the summer is play in the water. They love their little pool in the backyard, the local splash pad with it’s huge sprinklers, and the community pools in the towns around us. I enjoy watching them have fun in the water as well but one thing I really dislike is all the preparation that goes into getting ready to go outside. One thing they always have to do is put a swim diaper on. {We tried regular pullups under their swimsuits one day and we will never make that mistake again- what a soggy mess!} Disposable swim diapers are easy enough to put on the boys but they add an extra step to our already busy days and are kind of expensive.

I was happy to get an i play® Ultimate Swim Diaper to use this summer. The swim diaper is so much more than a diaper since it is actually a swimsuit with the diaper inside of it. With the Ultimate Swim Diapers, no other diaper is necessary. What a great idea! {And I’m not the only one who thinks so…this year they won the viewer-voted Cribsie Award for Cutest Swim Diaper in the fashion category.}

The Ultimate Swim Diapers are snug-fitting around the legs and waist and feature a waterproof layer to prevent leakage, an extra absorbent layer to absorb wetness, and a wickaway liner to draw moisture away from baby’s skin, for ultimate protection and comfort. The liner inside the trunks we received was soft which was great since the boys don’t like material that is scratchy or itchy {as I am sure most children don’t}.

I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to play outside in the pool so I can try these board shorts out! Want to win a pair for a little boy you know? One lucky reader will!

GIVEAWAY

One pair of Ultimate Swim Diaper Block Board Shorts {ARV $22} & $3 Cash

HOW TO ENTER

{Do any or all of the following, leave a comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which color of shorts are your favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Like i play. on Facebook

5) Follow me on Twitter

6) Follow i play. on Twitter

7) Follow me on Pinterest

8) Subscribe to this blog via email or RSS

9) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

10) Enter the grand prize giveaway

Giveaway ends May 27, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. US only.

(Disclosure: I received a pair of the board shorts for review but all thoughts are my own.)

Enter more giveaways!

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Dale And Thomas Popcorn Gift Box Review & Giveaway {May Buffet Hop}

mothers day popcorn

Welcome to May Buffet coordinated by ShePromotes!

This event will take place from May 1st at 12:01am EST through May 15th at 11:59pm EST.

It’s May! And for many of us that means the start of grilling and cookout season. Good food is great all year round, but there is just something about the warm weather that says bring on the steaks! I am sure you like to check out recipes shared by your favorite bloggers, so we thought we’d share some yummy prizes with you! Each blog listed below on the linky has a prize valued at $25+ for each winner – ALL FOOD RELATED! This means goodies to eat and items to help you fix, mix, cook, and serve delicious dishes. So let the May Buffet begin!

Dale and Thomas Popcorn sent me a Mother’s Day Gift Box of popcorn to review. Embarrassingly, I received it this afternoon and I’ve already devoured a ton of it. This popcorn is delicious!! There were four flavors in the gift box- Chocolate Chunk N’Caramel, Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Drizzlecorn, Hall of Fame Kettle Corn, and White Cheddar & Black Peppercorn. I love sweet popcorn the most so the first one I opened was the Chocolate Chunk N’ Caramel. I liked that they didn’t skimp on the caramel or the chocolate like some brands I’ve had in the past do. Jacob really liked this flavor, too, because he said it tasted like his favorite candy bar. The second one I opened was the Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Drizzle. I wasn’t sure how I would like this one since I am not a huge fan of white chocolate and peanut butter together but after trying it I was hooked. This flavor was amazing! The two flavors went perfectly together and I was left wishing I had more than one bagful of it. I’m looking forward to trying the other two flavors tomorrow, especially the Kettle Corn since that’s the flavor I normally purchase when I buy popcorn. Another feature of this popcorn is that it is Gluten Free and also Kosher.

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win a Mother’s Day Gift Box from Dale and Thomas Popcorn

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Visit Dale and Thomas Popcorn’s website and tell me which flavor you want to try

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Dale and Thomas Popcorn on Facebook

4) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends May 15, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. Please note that they only ship to the contiguous United States and they can’t ship to P.O. Boxes. 

(Disclosure: I received popcorn from Dale and Thomas to review but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

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Find other giveaways by clicking on the image below:


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Eucerin Daily Protection Lotion Review

eucerin blog network

As part of the Eucerin Skin First Network I get to try all of the wonderful lotions that Eucerin has available. For the month of April I tried Eucerin’s Daily Protection Body Lotion and the Daily Protection Face Lotion.

Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Body Lotion Sunscreen SPF 15 (13.5 oz.) – Helps protect skin from daily sun exposure with a lotion specifically formulated to moisturize and protect. This light, fast-absorbing formula with SPF 15 sunscreen provides 24-hour moisture and helps defend against sunburn.

Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 (4 oz.) – This lightweight, gentle broad spectrum SPF 30 formula with UVA/UVB sunscreens including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide helps defend against long-term sun damage and also provides effective moisturization.

I like that the Daily Protection lotions have sunscreen in them. A lot of times I am hurrying to get out of the house and having a product that is “2 in 1″ and saves me a step in the morning is fantastic {especially since the step that tends to be skipped is the sunscreen!}. The lotion felt very lightweight on my skin and wasn’t greasy. I thought the face lotion felt even lighter and was a perfect foundation for my makeup to go on smoothly. The lotions say that they are fragrance free but it did have a faint sunscreen smell. I didn’t think it was that noticeable though and it actually reminded me of summer time so I didn’t mind the smell of them.

WONDERING WHICH LOTION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Eucerin just launched their new SkinDicator app that recommends a product based your SkinDicator quiz results.

GET FREE SAMPLES!

Eucerin wants to help refresh your skin and keep it looking healthy so they are offering free samples of their lotion. To get the free sample, all you have to do is “like” the Eucerin Facebook Page and follow the instructions on how to take the Eucerin Skin First Pledge.

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!!

Check back tomorrow night for a great giveaway that includes Eucerin lotion and a Visa gift card!!

(Disclosure: I received a gift package from Eucerin but all thoughts are my own.)

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“Top This” Pizza Challenge & A Giveaway {2 Winners}

final-contest-logo

Friday night is usually pizza night in our house. After we have a long discussion over which pizza toppings we want on our pizza we spend time driving to get it and spend about $20. Bays English Muffins has the solution! It’s easy, quick and affordable to make your own pizzas and using english muffins ensures that everyone is happy with the toppings on their pizzas!

To prove how easy it is to please picky eaters with these mini pizzas, Bays is challenging consumers to “Top This” for a chance to win a trip for two to Italy where they will take classes at a well-known cooking school. In addition, five finalists will receive a case of Bays English Muffins. This contest runs through May 31st. You can find more details on the contest here.

Here are the pizzas we made for dinner:

Here are the pizzas we made for dessert:

We probably won’t win any contests with those pizzas but they were so easy and quick to make which is perfect for our busy family! The dinner pizzas were ready in less than 15 minutes (and only about 2 minutes were used actually putting them together- the rest was cooking time). The dessert pizzas took even less time. We just toasted them and added marshmallow fluff, nutella, and sprinkles.

I normally only eat butter or peanut butter on my english muffins and have them for breakfast or a snack. This was my first time eating Bays English Muffins and I really enjoyed trying them out at dinner time. They were nice and crispy around the edges and really soft on the insides. Sinisa loved that they tasted like fresh baked bread, even though they had been in the fridge for a couple weeks. {Another plus is that they have a long shelf time. The “best by” dates on our packages were two months out.}

Want to try out Bays English Muffins for yourself? You are in luck!

GIVEAWAY:

TWO winners will each win THREE coupons for FREE Bays English Muffins

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me what kind of pizza you’d make

2) “Like” Bays English Muffins on Facebook

3) “Like” Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Share this giveaway on a social network

5) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends May 27, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received a case of Bays English Muffins for my family to try. All thoughts are my own.)

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Wuggle Pets Review

wuggle pets

For weeks Jacob would see the Wuggle Pets commercial on television and tell me he wanted one, so when I had the chance to review Wuggle Pets I knew he’d be excited. He wanted to get to work as soon as the box came but I made him wait until Daddy came home so they could make it together.

The first step was to put the fluff and the star confetti (or “sprinkles” as Jacob calls them) into the machine and put the red lid on top.

Next came the filling of the Wuggle Pet. This was a two person job. One person (Daddy) had to hold the Wuggle Pet on the fluff filler and the other (Jacob) had to crank the handle to push the fluff into the back of the Wuggle Pet. The machine worked well but once or twice we had to take the Wuggle Pet and push the fluff in with our fingers before putting it back on the machine and continuing to turn the crank.

After a few minutes we had filled the Wuggle Pet with all the fluff and we were able to zip up the back and break off the zipper so it couldn’t be opened by little hands. (This is a great feature because the boys love to unzip our couch cushions and take out the fluff in there so I can only imagine they’d try to do that with these if they could.)

Each box comes with two Wuggle Pets so we were able to make one for each of the kids. Luke, my two year old, had no interest in helping make his but Jake, my three year old, was more than happy to make another one. The Wuggle Pets come with clips so they can be clipped onto backpacks. The boys prefer to just play with them as opposed to clip them on to anything though.

Wuggle Pets can be bought through TV infomercials and also through their website. When I went to their website today I noticed that the price went down to $14.99 instead of $19.99 so you can save $5 buying them through the site!

(Disclosure: I received a Wuggle Pets kit to review but all thoughts are my own.)

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Cook’n Recipe Organizer Giveaway {Avoiding April Showers Event}

cook n' recipe features

Welcome to the Avoiding April Showers Giveaway Event. This event is hosted by Put A Little Umbrella In Your Drink, My Mommy’s World, Taking Time For Mommy and And The Little Ones Too. This event features giveaways with a value of $25 or more at each of the participating blogs! Be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win! This event will close on April 30th at 11:59 pm EST. Good Luck!

My giveaway is for a Cook’n Recipe Organizer. This is great software to make meal planning fun and easy!

The software was easy to download on my computer and I even got a free cook e-book just for registering my software. The software comes with one cookbook which I found some great recipes in. The recipes were all organized nicely and I liked the search feature where I could search for the recipe I was looking for. or a recipe I could make with the food that is in my fridge. The software connects with the internet and makes it really easy to save things you find online. My favorite feature is that it syncs with our phones so we can use our phones at the store to make sure we get the ingredients for the meals we are making and in the kitchen so we can look at the recipe as we are preparing the meal.

GIVEAWAY

Cook’n Recipe Organizer {$80 Value}

HOW TO ENTER

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what your favorite meal is to make

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Cook’n Recipe on Facebook

4) Share this giveaway on a social network

5) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends on April 30, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US only.

(Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Mom Blog Society. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

FIND MORE GIVEAWAYS IN THIS HOP HERE!

(Note from hop organizers: Please understand that Put A Little Umbrella In Your Drink, My Mommy’s World, Taking Time For Mommy, and And The Little Ones Too along with the other “Avoiding April Showers Event” bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. However, we are responsible for contacting our sponsors regarding the winner’s prize at the close of the giveaway. We expect that our sponsors will fulfill their prize agreement and ship them to the winners in a timely manner.)

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Tide’s “Take A Load Off” Facebook Sweepstakes

TIDE

In honor of Earth Day, you can “Take A Load Off” the energy grid, your wallet, and the environment by making a simple change – washing your clothes in cold water. Did you know that heating water while doing laundry can account for up to 80 percent of the energy used per wash load in the U.S.? It’s an easy change to make with Tide Coldwater, which is specially formulated to get clothes clean in cold water.

I have talked about Tide Coldwater detergent before on my blog and shared how my clothes were just as clean using this product and washing in cold water as they were when I washed with hot water. The bonus of this detergent is that, not only does it save energy, but it saves a lot of money which everyone is looking to do these days!

Make the Promise to switch to washing in cold water on the Future Friendly Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a High Efficiency Washer and Dryer and a one-year supply of Tide Coldwater! You can enter once a day to increase your chances of winning these awesome prizes. A new winner will be picked each week through May 13th so there are lots of chances to win. You can enter the sweepstakes here.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated by SheSpeaks, on behalf of Tide, as a featured blogger for this campaign but all thoughts are my own.)

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