Friday, September 30, 2011

Win a Hearts for Hearts Girls Doll

Hearts for Hearts Dolls are such a breath of fresh air to the toy community. The slogan for the dolls is "Changing the World One Heart at a Time" with each doll have a specific inspiring story. There are six dolls available in the collection: Consuelo from Mexico City, Lilian from Belarus, Dell from USA, Rahel from Ethiopia, Tipi from Laos, and Nahji from India. Each doll comes with a great story, an authentic outfit, and a cod that unlocks special features and games on the "myHeart" page. We have Cosuelo from Mexico City and I found myself captivated by her story and clothes. Consuelo provides aid to hungry and homeless children that live on the streets near her families bakery. My daughter fell in love with her immediately! She came with a flower headband, comb, and bracelet that my daughter can wear. I was overly surprised with the detail and how realistic the doll looked. We also received an additional outfit that my daughter loves which is also very authentic for each doll. I am very pleased with the message that the doll teaches because we need to teach our girls that they can make a difference and to embrace a variety of cultures. Want to win? One lucky person will win the following prize pack:

    *  One Hearts For Hearts Girl, accompanied by a friendship bracelet, story booklet, donation for girls in need through partner World Vision and a special product code your daughter can use to unlock a free membership to the Hearts For Hearts Girls website, which provides access to the “myHeart” page and an array of games and activities.
    * An outfit that is authentic to one of the Hearts for Hearts Girls’ culture, in which your daughter can also dress her doll

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Searching for National Insurance

So let me share you with one of the worst parts of being a home owner-switching insurance companies! Our last insurance company decided they needed an inspection and all these paper work updates. After jumping over all their obstacles we had our insurance rate increase because we had done some work to the property! I mean seriously I was not happy and decided it was time to move on to one of the larger only problem is I did not know where to begin. I started by searching all of the major companies that I could think of and hit a ton of rode blocks. Some of the companies changed names based on the state, some wanted you to call in (I am a big online do it yourselfer), and some of the legal jumbo made no sense. One company actually told me that my car insurance would be under one name and my house insurance under another but bundled on one policy. Does that not make any sense? Perhaps I was not following along since she was talking so fast like it was common knowledge but I was lost after a few minutes. So I thought if there are travel sites that compare prices and features there must be something to compare insurance. National Insurance Company offered so many different kinds of insurance-renters, life insurance, home insurance, auto insurance, and healthcare. Of course I just started searching to help me save time and money but also loved that I was saving time! How great is it that we can click a few times and have all the research on the best companies without the hours of phone calls. The process was very easy with a ton of helpful information. There is a section on common questions and you can focus on one type of insurance at a time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Win a gift card for Keratene Hair Products!

Looking for a great shampoo, conditioner, body wash that does not leave your hair or body dry? Purity by Hairclinics Organic Cosmetics offers a line of organic shampoos & conditioners for every hair type. The smell of the products is amazing-my personal favorite is lemons & oranges organic shampoo for normal hair. They offer a variety of scents including vanilla, flowers & oranges, apple delight, and delight on cactus. Each shampoo focuses on a different hair type-everything from normal hair to sensitive scalp skin. Not sure which product you would like? You can always request a sample to try out the product to make sure you have the right kind for your hair type.  Right now there is a special offer running when you buy 3 organic hair care products from Purity by hairclinics you receive a free organic shower gel. To redeem the offer use the code MYGIFT which is available until December 31st 2011.  This is a perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays!

Teach your child to save!

How many of you have actual cash in your wallet? I don't think that I have carried money in a while and it makes me think-what am I teaching my daughter? She will not know anything but you swipe the card and things are paid for or how to save up her money to buy something that she really wants. Since my husband & I are not the greatest examples and often do not carry money I looked for another source to show my daughter how to budget and give back since it is such a vital part of survival. The Money Savvy Pig is truly a piggy bank for 21st century-it is not only adorable put very practical. The piggy is divided into four areas-save, spend, donate, invest. Your child can then make the decision what to do with their hard earned money and watch their decisions build since most of the pigs are clear. The Money Savvy Pig is available in six colors and each area has a separate retrieval spot. For example if you child wants to take the money they are going to spend that money can easily come out of the bank without having to remove all of the other money-the retrieval holes are in the pigs feet which I find to be an adorable design! Money Savvy Pig has received many awards including the Parent's Choice Gold Award, NAPPA Gold, and Creative Toy Award. If you are looking for a great way to teach your child how to be responsible with spending once they are on their own I suggest starting early with the Money Savvy Pig-if only the bank had been around when I was little I may have learned how to save early on! Here is the bank (available in blue, red, pink, green, purple, platinum):

Monday, September 26, 2011

The weight loss adventure continues

Ok so I have the most exciting news ever-I will be working with Nutrisystem. As you all know I have been struggling with my weight and really just want to loose some weight before winter and be in really good shape before my wedding anniversary in July. Nutrisystem is a great weight loss program that allows you to choose the food you eat and comes pre packaged and ready to eat. Of course I was a little skeptical the first time I opened a package-I mean how can a chocolate brownie still be healthy and taste good! As I took the first bite I was sold it tasted better than some cake mix high fat brownies I have tasted.  I have now been on the program for 6 days and have lost 4 pounds! Each day you get to eat a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert that is pre packaged.  So far I have found the food to be very full of flavor (red beans and rice is spot on!) and I am looking forward to the next week. Stay tuned for a weekly update over the next four months and watch the pounds drop :)

Thank you Nutrisytem for providing the food and helping my weight loss dreams come true!

*all food is provided by Nutrisystem in exchange for my honest review of the products/program*

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cedar Point Amusement Park Hallo Weekends!

Last month my family had a great time visiting Cedar Point. If you are not familiar it is an amazing amusement park in the Midwest that offers something for everyone. When I say that there is something for everyone I really mean it! For children that are small and just starting out (as long as they can walk they can ride most of the rides) there are two areas of rides that are perfect. My daughter rode these cars that honk, a big boat in the water, and carousel over and over. The best part was she was able to ride alone and feel grown up and I did not have to climb into a cramped space so that she would have fun. For the older kids (and adults) there are so many roller coasters and rides to choose from that you are sure to find something. I am not a roller coaster fan so my husband tried all the roller coasters and I stuck to the old cars, racing horses, and spinning rides. The park also has a frontier themed area with a petting zoo and different frontier themed shops...we made our own candles! Snoopy and the characters walk around the park and have an indoor area where kids can climb on the foam toys and take a break from the heat. Of course it is now fall and the park is offering Hallo Weekends. There will be a ton of fall/Halloween themed events at the park along with the rides and activities offered during the summer months. Whether you want to go and take in a show or ride the thrill rides I highly suggest visiting cedar point for Hallo Weekends or put it on your schedule for a fun family get away for next summer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Halloween will be here soon-do you have your costume?

I have to admit that Halloween is my favorite holiday! Before I had kids I loved to decorate the house and pass out candy to everyone (even the "old" kids if they had a costume!). Since then I have had the thrill of shopping with my daughter and picking out the perfect costume. This year of course is all about princesses and she is determined to get a Little Mermaid Costume. Lucky for me I have found Wholesale Costume Club that offers all the princess costumes for a fraction of the price-it was more than half off the retail price! There is a huge selection of girls Disney costumes in a wide variety of sizes. Wholesale Costume Club has costumes for Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Tinker Belle, and many more. If your child is not into princesses there are many other options including a Smurf costume-this is the costume I tried to talk little miss into but she was set on Ariel....oh well maybe next year (or maybe I can talk my husband into us dressing up as Smurfs!). The site offers flat rate shipping and if you get your order in before 3pm EST it will ship same day! We received our Ariel costume very fast and the quality is equal to a high end costume shop not the cheap kind you find in major discount stores. The costume actually has great detail and fits my daughter perfectly-now on to making her a shell crown...or find one online since I am not the craftiest person! Here is our Ariel costume-I would love to hear what your little ones are going as this Halloween season.

Rafflecopter Round Up Event

RafflecopterRound Up Giveaway
Welcome to the Rafflecopter Round Up Event. Please enter below to win a Mother's Touch Thermometer. A big thanks to Simply Stacie and Makobi Scribe for hosting the event! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Win the new SKOY Cloth from Earth Crunchy Mama

As you have read I am trying my best to become as "green" as possible. Over the past year I have switched to a non toxic cleaner home (amazing what vinegar can do!) and have purchased a steam mop that uses no cleaner and the clothes can be washed over and over. If you have been following for some time you may remember my post on reusable wipes which have now become great for my daughter's sticky little hands and face. They one thing that has continued to bother me is how many paper towels my family uses on a day to day basis. We seriously use at least a roll every two days and not only is this expensive but it really piles on the garbage. We were using sponges for some of the messes but they fell apart so fast and once they were smelly they had to go to the trash with all the paper towels. While doing a little research I came across Earth Crunchy Mama that focuses on products that are reusable and can help reduce the amount of trash. I personally now own the reusable sponges and SKOY cloths and can say that we have dramatically cut our paper towel use in half if not more. The SKOY cloth is an absorbent, biodegradable cloth that has endless uses. SKOY clothes are available in sets of four so I have one in each bathroom, one designated for the kitchen, and one I use specifically on windows. Of course I only do this because I like things to stay consistent and it is easy to tell my daughter to grab a certain color for a certain task but you can use and wash SKOY cloths over and over and use anywhere that a sponge, wash cloth, or paper towel is used.  As I said I also have the sponges that are amazing! You can throw them in the wash when they get smelly (I have two and wash mine every couple days) and it is just like having a new sponge without building up so much trash.  I also love the color choices available... they seem to be able to fit into any color scheme and are bright and cheerful as opposed to a dirty old sponge or ratty cleaning rag. Here is a photo of the SKOY cloths that one lucky ready will win:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Great holiday gift idea-Crazy for Bargains-Sleepware for the whole family!

I have successfully stuck to my plan to not shop away from home for the holidays....although all the new toys they are putting out in stores making it a little hard to stick with the plan. Do you know what I have found when sending out my "what do your kids need list" several of my family members have requested pajamas for their kids. Now that I think about it I do not think anyone ever buys my daughter pajamas, socks, underwear...all the necessities that add up over time. I do want to make the holidays fun for the kids so I thought how about themed pajamas in all of their favorite colors and characters. When I searched for Dr. Seuss pjs I found Crazy for Bargains....of course I fell in love with the name and actually found that their pajamas were a great price and a great variety. My sister in law made the comment on how she would like footed pajamas in her size and Crazy for Bargains actually has adult footed pj's-her face on Christmas morning is going to be family always is amazed at how I find what they call the "impossible". I find the site very easy to navigate because it is broke down into very specific categories and you do not need to search pages of styles because there are so many categories. The site also offers a track order feature that I found very useful and they have a satisfaction guaranteed. Shipping is free on orders over $40 and flat rate shipping on orders less than $40. I have a pair of pajamas from Crazy for Bargains for myself and my daughter and they are both very well made and fit very true to size. My daughter loves her cat in the hat pj's (which we could not find anywhere in stores!). The site also offers slippers, robes, and boxers in sizes for the whole family!  Here is one of the great designed offered:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Win a Great Cereal Bar Prize Pack!

My daughter has given up eating cereal and milk in a bowl together-her exact words are they are "yucky". We have become very limited on finding breakfast cereals that she does indeed like until I was lucky enough to try Lucky Charm Cereal Bars. At first I was a little hesitant thinking it was just like eating candy for breakfast but then read the label that they contain less than 140 calories per bar-lucky charms flavor is only 100 calories! My daughter also likes the Golden Grahams flavor- I think it is the chocolate and marshmallows that makes her think she is winning the breakfast war. The snack bars are a perfect addition to the lunch box or just a great snack for kids anytime. I like that they are individually wrapped and I can throw one in my bag and have a snack that won't be flattened and broken into a million pieces if we need a snack on the go. Each bar also has box tops that can be turned into your school to help make the school a better place. Here is what the prize pack contains: One box of Lucky Charms® Cereal Treats Bar, One box of Golden Grahams® Cereal Treats Bars, Lunch bag, Locker whiteboard, Colored pencil set. 

"Disclosure: Cereal Treats Bars, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark."

A Mother's Touch Thermometer

Flu season and cold season are in full swing and one thing that makes me crazy is taking my little one temperature. I have two options using the under arm method with is never accurate and makes her cry because the "stick pokes" or trying the forehead thermometer which I can never get an accurate reading because I do not apply enough pressure or don't slide properly. Thank goodness an amazing person has solved the problem with A Mother's Touch Thermometer. You simply hold the thermometer up to the child's head for 6-8 seconds to get an accurate reading. It is just like touching your child to feel how warm they are to you and does not cause any stress. A Mother's Touch is currently available at Walgreens and online. I am very pleased with the overall product and it is so affordable compared to all the other thermometers on the market. Here is the amazing thermometer at work:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking for affordable promotional items?

I have been tossing around the idea of starting back up my home business which means I need to get my act together. So much has changed in the last few years and no longer can you just go to a trade show and hand out cute business cards. I started looking around for pens with my business name and logo and found Amsterdam Printing .  Although I only started out looking for a good deal on some pens to leave with my clients I have also found cute magnets and a million other great things. They have tote bags that you can put your business name on-what a great bonus to advertise while not trying to push my business on everyone! I even found cute little back pack style tote bags that would be great as baby shower gift or bridesmaid gifts. As you know I am patiently waiting on my sister in law to have a baby so I can put on one of the best parties ever! I am telling you Amsterdam has everything from clothes, cups, and even laptop bags. I am very big into personalized gifts this holiday season and with the price of ordering many items at one time I think I may get all the cousins a cute personalized lunch box filled with homemade cookies. Here is the tote that may be the center of my gift gifting this holiday season... in red of course!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall is almost here-do you have your fall clothes ready?

Last year my daughter was just itty bitty and terrified of leaves so I did not get to dress her in all the fall fashions and get the playing in leaves camera shots. I am very excited that she is excited for leaves and wanted to fill her closet with clothes in warm chocolate browns and purples. Since most of her life I have had her dressed in light pinks this is definitely a highlight! I found some great fall wear items at MommaFix including the perfect brown dress. My favorite thing about MommaFix is that they offer clothes that are not like every other outfit on store shelves. My daughter also has school pictures for the first time this year and I wanted her to be in something that would stand out yet be classic and stand the test of time-nothing worse than looking back on class pictures and wondering what in the world was I thinking dressing you like that! MommaFix also offers great toys and nursery decor including colorful crib bedding and unique mobiles. MommaFix also offers pouch slings, wrap slings, and nursing covers here if you are looking for a great one of a kind baby shower gift. Shipping is very fast and  the quality is exceptional. We have washed our dress many times and the colors have not bled or faded. I am so excited to pair the dress with a great pair of boots for our perfect fall photo and holiday card. Here is our adorable dress that one lucky winner will also receive:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blogorama Bonanza '11

Blogorama Bonanza Prize Pack:

Artsy Mommy Painting: Personalized Painting
BlenderBottle: BlenderBottle Set
Green Toys: Tool Box

Sponsor Highlight-BlenderBottle

Let's extend a huge thank you to our event sponsor BlenderBottle. What is a BlenderBottle you ask? Well this will become one of your favorite kitchen tools. The BlenderBottle is a new and improved spin on your traditional wire whisk. I personally use my blender bottle in the mornings to make my smoothie and to mix my daughter's eggs or pancakes depending on the day. It is super easy- just throw all the ingredients into the BlenderBottle and shake. With a few light shakes everything is mixed easily no matter how thick the me I thought I would be shaking the bottle like a crazy person but a few shakes and my smoothie was perfect. The BlenderBottle also offers a recipe book and slings to cover your bottle and keep the ingredients cool. Bottles are available in two sizes and are BPA free. I would also like to highlight how easy the bottle is to clean-the bottle is dishwasher safe but it is also easy to hand clean. I just fill the bottle with soap, shake with the blender ball inside and rinse. I can honestly say that the BlenderBottle has made my morning so much easier and clean up is a breeze! Here is a great video of the BlenderBottle in action.

Sponsor Highlight-Green Toys

Let's give a big thank you to our sponsor Green Toys. The toys are made in the USA and made from 100% recycled plastics. The toys contain no BPA's or Phthlates but most importantly they are super fun! My daughter is very big into being like dad these days and Green Toys had the perfect solution-a mini tool box that had similar tools that could actual tighten and she could pretend to be "miss fix it". Green Toys offers a very large variety of toys from play food to dump trucks. I am very pleased with the overall quality and realistic nature of the toys....of course the tool box is also available in pink for the girly girls out there :) My husband likes Green Toys because for once we do not have to watch to see if a toy will be recalled because of certain chemical or contaminants in the toy. Green Toys are available in seven different countries including the USA, Canada, and Australia. You can find Green Toys in the USA at a large variety of stores-for a complete list please click here.  Here are a few of the great toys available:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Holiday Season will be here before you know it!

Can you believe it is already September! I went to the grocery today and some stores were actually already putting out Christmas displays which always make me a little excited and a little frantic. This year I have a plan of attack for holiday shopping...I am one of those impulse buyers so I am not leaving my home. I plan to have everything ordered by October 1 with enough time to personalize and arrive without buying anything crazy because everyone else has one in their cart. For the grandma's this year I want to do a nice piece of jewelry without the high price tag. My mom will be easy because she is a pearl fanatic and I thought-easy done! Wrong I had no idea how to find the right quality necklace for the price. Lucky you (and me!) I stumbled across the Pearls of Joy site that teaches you How to Buy A Pearl Necklace. I had no idea there was actually different kinds of pearls I just thought they came in different colors! Now that I am armed with the proper information on types of pearls and sizing I was ready to shop :) I did not have to look very far since you can also buy pearls from The selection is amazing and I am now finding myself spending a large amount of time going over the selection and thinking that I may just have to get more than one....perhaps a gift from santa to me :) Customer service has also had a very quick response time to my questions and I think that my ultimate choice will be this beauty-priceless pearls at a fantastic price...would love to hear your favorite selection.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Win Lost Puppies Board Game from Peaceable Kingdom Press

Well it is raining like crazy here today which means that we are all trapped inside and since today is NOT a school day it makes for a long day. Now when I was little I loved rainy days home to do crafts and play games with my mom. Surprisingly I find it hard to find games now that teach my daughter much. The days all of lesson learning games seem to have given way to games filled up with characters and super hero's. I was so happy when I came across Peaceable Kingdom Press and the Lost Puppies Board Game. The object of the game is to bring all the lost puppies before night time. I love the idea of cooperative games because everyone can work together to work toward a common goal instead of being so competitive about who will win the game. I really do find that the game has taught my daughter how to work together with others instead of focusing on winning at all cost. The game is also super cute! We love making up our own games like "adopt a puppy" and my daughter uses her imagine to change the rules and make the game our own. Our game board has even become a puppy slide-although not recommended I was surprised that the game board did not split in half at the abuse of being a slide-talk about quality! I cannot wait for the holidays to find more great games from Peaceable Kingdom Press!

TGIF is giving one lucky reader a $25 Gift Card!

Indulgent Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Jack Daniel's Pulled Pork Sandwich, Balsamic Glazed Chicken Caesar, Black Angus Cheeseburger....are you hungry yet! TGIF has tons of great deals running including the new promotion Dinner and A Cold One for $10! (this offer is valid in Baltimore Sun-Thurs. and Indianapolis everyday. Don't live in Baltimore or Indianapolis? Another current promotion is the Pick 2 for $10-you choose an appetizer, an entree, or dessert (available in Chicago and West Palm Beach) With so many great specials the possibilities are endless. I see a girls night out in my future filled with spinach florentine flatbread and vanilla bean cheesecake-yum! Don't delay enter below for your chance to win a $25 gift card to TGIF-bring on the flavor and fun!

Want to win Rizzoli & Isles Season 1 on DVD?

Rizzoli & Isles is coming back for another season! These two women are returning with more adventure showcasing their intelligence and power. The show is based on the book series by author Tess Gerritsen who has created other popular works including The Surgeon, The Apprentice, and Vanish. The show aires on TNT on Monday at 10/9c and is sure to be jam packed with more crime solving adventures. The ladies will continue to work side by side trying to figure out "who done it" and how. Although the two are from very different backgrounds and the economic spectrum the two best friends continue to maintain their individual identities. I can't wait for another action packed season!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Win a Totino's Prize Pack!

Back to school means back to hungry kids after school. This is my first year of having to deal with the 3 o'clock snack crisis and I was not prepared. I though that I could just pass of the usual small snacks and all would be well but my daughter acted like she was starving when I picked her up from school. I have since switched over to serving a little "hot" snack or mini meal so she can last until dinner. We have both found that Totino's are easy and quick. I don't mind popping them in the microwave and having a happy little pizza smile minutes later. Not only are Totino's a great after school snack you can also support your school with the box tops provided on Totino's packages. This school year Totino's will be giving away one million Bonus Box Tops in the "Learn a Ton when School is Fun Sweepstakes". Four schools will win 250,000 Box Tops to help fund a fun project at their school. You can help your school today by collecting Box Tops from a wide variety of product including Totino's. Here is the great prize pack Totino's is offering one reader which will include One Totino’s "Learn a Ton when School is Fun" prize pack which includes a Brain Quest Smart! Game, Micro Rubik’s® Cube Key Holder and draw string backpack, and coupons for a free package of Totino’s Pizza Rolls Snacks, Totino’s Party Pizza and new Totino’s Pizza Stuffers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Heelys - a new adventure in exercise!

I am still on the weight loss trail.... sometimes it feels more like a mountain littered with candy and cookies and I am hanging on by a thread.  Since I am beginning to think it is easier to just stop all efforts and join my snacking kids- I knew it was a hopeless case unless I get everyone involved. My kids are not going to run a mile with me or workout to a dvd so I searched for something that we could all do together. Well I saw the neighbor kids using Heelys and I thought that could be the ticket-I could roller blade and the kids could use Heelys. Guess what while I online I discovered Heelys are also available in my size and they would be much more safe and stable for me... who am I kidding I don't think I could roller blade if my life depended on it! The shoes are available in a large variety of styles and we found a pair that each person liked and could wear on a day to day basis along with working out with me!  I am overall impressed with how safe the shoes feel and how easy it is to "heel". I was very worried at first but there is a video that will show you step by step how to heel properly. Right now Heelys is running a great labor day sale and my readers get free shipping using the code HeelysLovesBloggers. Put the code in the Discount Code box. (Please note that this code is only good with the promo from 12 AM (CDT) Friday, September 2, 2011, through 11:59 PM (CDT) Monday, September 5, 2011 online here.