Archives for April 2012

Want 5 Extra Entries?

Now through May 4th, you can earn 5 extra entries into EVERY giveaway I have running, just by completing a simple task.

Simply click this picture to vote for Jace & Gage, and then go to each giveaway and on the rafflecopter form, let me know that you voted for them.

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You can only vote once, but I’m allowing your one vote to count as 5 extra entries in as many giveaways as you’d like to enter!

Be sure to leave your Facebook Name in the rafflecopter gadget so that I know you voted!

Thanks for your help!

Seeking Sponsors & Participants in a @DietBet Weight Loss Challenge

I am competitive by nature. Sometimes that’s a good thing… especially when it comes to weight loss. Earlier this year, I participated in a DietBet Challenge, and I lost a total of 17 pounds during the challenge. It was amazing. I felt great, and I saw a major change.

But then, I slacked off. Sure, I still ate right – for the most part -and I kept portions sizes much smaller than they had been. I still exercised – almost daily – but I just wasn’t feeling motivated to really work hard at reaching my goals. Actually, for awhile, I got into a major funk and just couldn’t bring myself to do anything.

I want to change that. I want to give myself another swift kick in the butt, and I want to see those results again. I’m down a total of 29 pounds since my first weigh in, so I KNOW I can do it. I just need some motivation to do it… and that why I’m coming to you!

I have set up a DietBet Challenge, and now I’m looking for Sponsors and Participants. Here’s what I’m thinking…

Sponsors: Money for so many is tight right now. While putting our own money into the “pot” would be a great motivator, many of us just can’t afford to put anything into the pot. That’s where you come in. I am looking for sponsors that are willing to donate prizes to the winner(s) of the challenge. The prizes can be anything: cash, gifts for moms, fitness products – I’ll let you decide that part. Each sponsor will receive top-sponsorship sidebar advertising on my blog for the duration of the contest. {That’s a $45 value.} You will also receive a post on my blog about your products/services as well as what you are offering for the challenge, and that will never be deleted. {2 SEO friendly links will be included at no cost to you.} At the end of the challenge, prizes will be divvied up among the winners. If you would like to donate a prize to the Blessed Beyond Words Weight Loss Challenge, please use the contact form to let me know. Please put DietBet – SPONSOR as the subject of your email.

Participants: If you are SERIOUS about losing weight, a DietBet Challenge is a great way to do just that. I would LOVE to have you join us. You will be required to weigh in twice: Once at the start of the challenge, and the second at the end of the challenge. I will need proof of these weigh ins – either video or a photo of the scale while you are standing on it. {It keeps us honest, and it holds us accountable.} If you want these photos private, I ask that you email them to me, and no one but me will ever lay eyes on them. You can also set up DietBet to keep any numbers you post completely private. There’s no reason for you to feel humiliated. Promise. I will tell you that I will post ALL numbers and videos to my blog. It’s a key motivation factor for me. But, that’s my choice, and mine alone. If you want to keep to yourself, I have zero problem with that. If you are interested in participating, please use the contact form to let me know. Please put DietBet – PARTICIPANT as the subject of your email.

I already have several people signed up to take the challenge. I’d like to get this all set up so we can have our first official weigh in soon and start the challenge.

Are you with me?

PhotoPad – Fun with Photos on Facebook

There is an app on Facebook that is quickly becoming my favorite way to “play” on Facebook. It’s called PhotoPad… and it’s so much fun!

With PhotoPad, you can create photobooks, {think digital scrapbooks that you can easily share with your friends and family on Facebook}, postcards, and instant photo sharing with those on your friends list.

The photobooks are my favorite feature. I’ve created several books, and I love the way they’ve turned out. Another awesome feature is that you can even allow friends and family to edit the photobooks – they can add in their own photos and text, and then you have a super special book that everyone can treasure.

Here’s a snapshot of the photobook I’m putting together to showcase our Easter pictures:

The postcards are also a lot of fun. You can create a personalized card and send post it right to your friend’s timeline. It’s quick and easy, and it’s way more fun than just putting a generic “happy birthday” or “happy anniversary” post on their wall.

You can also “level up” in PhotoPad and earn more entries into their monthly giveaway. The more you play with PhotoPad, the more points you earn. The more points you earn, the more entries you get. For every 1000 points you earn in a month, you will get the same number of entries as your level. So, if I earn 1,000 points and reach level 5, I will earn 5 entries into the monthly giveaway. This month, the giveaway is for a $50 Visa Giftcard – definitely something that can be put to good use.

I have really had a lot of fun with PhotoPad. My only complaint is that I can’t get access to ALL the photos in an album. It seems to grab the first 15 – 20 or so, and then I can’t access the rest. I take tons of pictures, so it’s really a bummer that I can’t get to all of them. But, that’s really the only drawback I’ve found in the program. I just want to be able to access all my pictures.

I hope you’ll take some time and play around with PhotoPad the next time you log in to Facebook. I would love to see some of the things you create with the app!

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Guest Post: Controversial Art by JAN Art Prints

A Note From Angie: Before I put up this post, I want to preface: This is not the typical type of post you will find here on Blessed Beyond Words. And it may stir up some controversy. However, the author of this post – and the artist behind the artwork seen in the post – is special to me, and I wanted to give him a platform to share his passion for his art. I hope that you will take a moment to read his thoughts about his piece entitled IOU. If you agree – or don’t agree – please keep your comments tasteful and respectful. I do not take kindly to mean, slanderous, or profanity-filled comments, and those will be deleted. I appreciate you taking the time to read about the piece this artist has created, and that you’ll check out his facebook page.

Every time I create a new picture I have some sort of ideal that inspired me. Sometimes it’s as simple as music or poetry, sometimes it’s other great artists, and sometimes it’s merely shock value. With “IOU” (also known as “I Own You”) it was a combination of the discontent of our country at the current time and politics in general as well as shock value. Like any artist, I want people to think when they look at a piece of my art. I would love to explain every picture I draw, but I’m not out to write a book, I want to both put my feelings on paper and encourage the free thinking of the public.

As soon as I had the idea of a Pop Art style picture of Uncle Sam and changing his typical “I Want You” moto to “I Own You,” I knew a lot of people were going to take offense to it. I put off doing the picture for a while, but I just couldn’t shake the idea. I even went as far as taking an unbiased poll on how the picture should be done, giving people three different ideas to choose from. Much to my surprise my original idea, the current picture, won by a landslide. That’s when I knew I had to get my message, and many other people’s feelings, out there for the public to see. Sadly, a strong political message turned into a strong showing of discontent and quick judgment by ignorant Americans.

Few know the history of Uncle Sam. Even fewer know the history of Brother Jonathan.
“As early as 1835 Brother Jonathan made a reference to Uncle Sam implying that they symbolized different things: Brother Jonathan was the country itself while Uncle Sam was the government and its power.”
(Morgan, Winifred (1988) An American icon: Brother Jonathan and American identity University of Delaware Press pg 81)

What I found really shocking though, was that no one mentioned the lack of our countries symbolic colors – red, white and blue – in “I Own You”.

“Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated: “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives…
“The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.””
http://www.usflag.org/colors.html

With that said, I would like to explain the artists’ interpretation of this picture, and I must warn you that if you dislike the picture you will most likely dislike the explanation. Now that we have viable sources to relate to, we know that Uncle Sam is more a symbol of the government and its power, not the country itself or the military. That has been a huge misconception with this piece. In my opinion, the government has been striving to prove their power over the American people. Controversial laws have been presented and some even passed (i.e.; NDAA, SOPA and PIPA). I was overwhelmed with joy when the American people stood up against SOPA and PIPA, but at the same time I tend to wonder if it wasn’t because Facebook, Google, Yahoo and other internet powerhouses pushed them to. I say that because I was saddened when the updated version of the NDAA was passed and no one seemed to notice or care. I even wonder how many people know what the NDAA is and what it implies. It is apparent to me that the government is slowly making its way to gaining as much power and control over the people of this great Nation. That sets up a perfect segue to the explanation of the colors used in “IOU.”

I don’t believe that most people would hesitate to admit that the purity of our country is fading. That’s why I used very little white in the picture. I was not as hesitant to use red, because there is plenty of valour shown everyday through those bold and brave enough to fight for our freedom. The original pictures of Uncle Sam show him parading a blue jacket. I chose to blacken the jacket as symbolism of a lack of vigilance, perseverance and justice in today’s society while leaving hints of blue in hope of regaining what we once had. Uncle Sam’s hat, as portrayed in this picture, is black and blue, with blue highlights as the shading, adorned with a single star rather than multiple stars. The purpose behind this was to make a clear statement that the Chief should never be placed above the “symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial” which to me means not only the religious and other freedoms our country was founded on, but also the Constitution. I feel like the “divine goal” is the Constitutional rights on which our country was based and is slowly being ignored or forgotten.

All I can ask as an artist is that people look at all art with an open mind. With “IOU” it is imperative for me that people understand the symbolism which I attempted to portray; our government is getting too big and too powerful. I consider this message even more important with this being an election year. My hopes are that people around the country will keep their future as well as the future of their children and grandchildren in mind and do their own research on the political scene and our constitutional rights, and base their electoral decisions on what they find and what they feel when casting their ballot this November; not just what they hear on the news. Big government is not the answer, our freedom from a “Big Brother” is.

John Adam Nichols
Artist
www.facebook.com/JANARTprints

An Answer to Prayer

For the past several weeks, my husband and I have been struggling to make ends meet. It seems like every day, we fall farther and farther behind. We are careful with our money – we don’t buy anything we don’t need, we clip coupons, and we go without… a lot. After much thought and prayer, it was decided that I needed a job.

I wanted a work at home job, but I couldn’t seem to find anything legitimate and/or stable. Then, I happened to notice a local physician looking for a receptionist. Since I was a receptionist/administrative assistant before I got married, I figured I could apply for the job and see what happens.

I spent some time on the phone with the doctor on Monday night, and it sounded great. While I don’t have any “medical” experience, I do have lots of computer experience, and previous administrative experience. I figured I could learn as I go.

That night, however, I tossed and turned, crying and praying that God would give me a clear answer. At 2am, I woke up my husband and told him that I can’t take on a full time job.

You see, my mom worked a full time job (and then some) and she was never home. I vowed I would never do that to my kids. If I took on a full time job, it would mean I would miss out on all summer with the kids, and I would be even more stressed out than I am right now. And the guilt would be horrific.

I decided that when the doctor called me back the next day, I would let her know that I couldn’t take on the full time job, but I appreciated her consideration.

The next day, the doctor called me… right on schedule. Before I could even get the words out of my mouth, she told me that she couldn’t hire me for a full time position, but she was going to create a special position just for me. I would work on marketing her new practice, and also have the ability to introduce the community to a fantastic new program she is starting. I could work from home, or if I needed to get out of the house, I could come work in her office.

As she talked, tears streamed down my face. Every prayer was being answered before my very eyes. Not only do I get the opportunity to earn an income and help out my family, I get to work with a fantastic physician and gain major experience in a field that definitely intrigues me… and I can do it on my time and in my own way… without sacrificing my time with my kids. I met with the doctor today, and I can begin immediately. Words simply cannot express how excited I am at this amazing opportunity. God is so good.

It’s funny. I always worry and fret over how God is going to take care of things, and then He just does. Slowly but surely, He has laid out stepping stone after stepping stone, gently leading my path in the way He would have it go. I just have to take care not to “jump” ahead and end up swimming to the next stone.

I can’t wait to share more about my new endeavor with you all. I need a few weeks to learn the practice so I can properly tell you what it’s all about, but I am SO excited to get started.

How about you? Have you had an answer to prayer lately? I would love to hear it!

Emerson Lane Originals {Ends 5/12}

I love, love, love when my blog allows me the opportunity to work with fabulous business owners. My favorite type of business owner is the mom. I have always had a heart and a passion for moms that work from home, and sharing them with the world… or at least with my readers. I’m still working on that “world” part.

Today I want to introduce you to a fabulous little Etsy shop called Emerson Lane Originals. The owner, Jamie, is just as sweet as can be. When she asked me to take a look at her Etsy shop and her website, I instantly fell in love. Jamie has tons of really great designs that are perfect to use as iron-on transfers, labels, cupcake toppers, stickers… the possibilities are endless!

I love the fun designs she offers – and that she even has designs for us moms!

My favorite design she offers is the Monthly Baby Monograms. So cute! I wish I had done something like this on each of my babies…

At Emerson Lane Originals, you have so many options:

  • You can get the files emailed to you directly so that you can print them out on whatever type of paper you prefer.
  • You can get the files printed on transfer paper and mailed right to your doorstep.
  • You can have the files put on an item by Jamie and have that item shipped right to your door.

I want to encourage you to connect with Emerson Lane Originals in the following ways:

Jamie from Emerson Lane Originals has decided to host her monthly giveaway here on Blessed Beyond Words, and I couldn’t be more excited! AND, she’s not only offering one prize, but she’s offering up 3 prizes! Here’s what you could win:

  • ONE winner will receive a tote bag with their choice of design.
  • TWO winners will receive personalized files of their choice that can be used as iron on transfers, labels, stickers, cupcake toppers, etc.

To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. Emerson Lane Originals is sponsoring the giveaway. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own.

@SeeRockCity Family Trip {Ends 5/13} @visitlookoutmtn

When I was a little girl, my family would travel from Ohio to the North Georgia Mountains to visit my grandparents every year. No trip was complete without a visit to Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

lover's leap

Lover's Leap

I can still remember walking across the Swing-Along Bridge, or the time when my Dad tried to make my mom fit through The Needle’s Eye when she was quite pregnant with my little brother. The memories we made on each one of those trips to Rock City are memories that I will never forget. I will treasure them forever.

Rock City is a magical place full of wonders, gardens, events, and views that are unlike anything you have ever experienced before. Rock City is located atop Lookout Mountain, and is just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga, TN. It features massive ancient rock formations, beautiful gardens with over 400 plant species, and breathtaking panoramic views that allow visitors the chance to see 7 states! With attractions like the Enchanted Trail, Fairyland Caverns, and Mother Goose Village, there’s something for everyone to do and enjoy. Rock City is the perfect get-a-away spot year round, because with every season, you have a new reason to visit!

I encourage you to connect with Rock City and see what they’re all about. You can find them all around the net:

Now, Rock City wants to give one of my readers the same opportunity to create family memories of your own! One lucky reader will receive a family pass to Rock City Gardens. {The pass will be good throughout the summer.}

Swing-A-Long Bridge

Swing-A-Long Bridge

I can’t wait to share Rock City with my kids, and I know your family will enjoy it as well – no matter what your age!

Enter using the Rafflecopter Gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I will receive a family pass for my family to Rock City for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and are based on my own memories of my times at the Gardens. I have not been compensated in any other way for this post.

 

Results of the @MaxClarity Challenge

Last month, I posted that my daughter Ashley would be taking the MaxClarity Challenge and seeing if it made a difference in her acne. For almost a month now, Ashley has faithfully used the MaxClarity system as part of her morning and evening routine.

I am pleased to report that she is thrilled with the results…. and so am I.

I’m going to post her before and after pictures – but I’m going to post the after picture first. {That way, when this post shows up in the featured box at the top of the blog, my daughter won’t refuse to speak to me for a week again. 😉 }

As you can see, there’s hardly a zit anywhere to be found. She loves how well the MaxClarity program has worked for her. She feels more confident, and she loves the fact that she doesn’t have to worry about wearing a ton of makeup to feel better about herself.

We do have a few thoughts about the system that we wanted to share with you:

  • I tried using the MaxClarity products myself, but I had to stop after just a few days. I have SUPER sensitive skin, and my face broke out, peeled, and burned like it was on fire. Obviously, there’s something in there that just doesn’t work for me. And that’s ok. It worked really well on my daughter, and she absolutely loves her results. That makes me happy enough. 🙂 I’ll just continue to use makeup to cover up my blemishes and hope that someone out there will come up with a product for super-sensitive folks like me.
  • The bottle colors totally confused my daughter. Ashley is a blonde – all the way to her roots – and things need to be simple in order for her to “get” it. With the MaxClarity system, you use the light blue topped bottle {Deep Cleanser} morning and night. Simple. BUT, then you use the dark blue topped bottle {Advanced Acne Treatment} in the morning and the yellow topped bottle {Rejuvenating toner} at night. Most people associate yellow with the sun, and dark with the night, so there were more than a few times that Ashley used the system backwards. {Even though I posted the chart on the mirror in her bathroom. Sigh.} But, really – I wish MaxClarity would consider changing the colors to coordinate with day and night. Might help these teenagers out.
  • I should have contacted  the MaxClarity Difference Team about the MaxClarity Difference Promise as soon as I started having problems with the system. After all, that’s what they’re there for. I will probably still contact them after this post to see if they can figure out why it would have such an adverse affect on my skin.
  • I love that the system uses foam, and that such a little bit goes such a long way. Ash is about halfway through each bottle, which is great, since each one is supposed to last 2 months.
  • It started working right away on Ashley. It wasn’t 2 days before we noticed a BIG change. The acne she had was disappearing, and there were no new pimples forming. I couldn’t believe how quickly it did that for her.

Ashley will definitely continue to use the MaxClarity system. She’s already asked me if we can order more to have it on hand so she doesn’t run out. She loves the way her skin looks and feels, and I love how much it has boosted her confidence. She tells me all the time how much she loves MaxClarity and how everyone has noticed how much it’s helped her acne.

If you have a teenager, I would highly encourage you to have your teen take the MaxClarity Challenge and see how it works for them. It may be just the product they need to get rid of their acne problem and start feeling better about themselves.

Also, be sure to connect with MaxClarity by visiting their websitefollowing them on twitter, and becoming a fan on Facebook.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MaxClarity and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Pampers Limited Edition Team USA Diapers {Ends 5/9}

Pampers is up to all sorts of exciting things! As we all know, the London 2012 Olympic Games are right around the corner. Excitement is already building, and I know how much my family is looking forward to cheering on Team USA.

In 2010, Pampers sponsored the Vancouver Olympic Games, and they are continuing their commitment to the littlest of athletes…. babies!

Pampers has recently announced their partnership with two-time Olympic Games Gold Medalist {in Beach Volleyball} and Team USA Hopeful, Kerri Walsh, and have introduced Pampers Limited Edition “USA” diapers and wipes that will be hitting store shelves mid-April.

And if that isn’t enough, they’ve also launched a Facebook sweepstakes just for Pampers Facebook fans.

Beginning April 16th, and running through May 19th, parents can visit the “Team USA Sweeps” tab on the Pampers Facebook page and register for a chance to win the grand prize trip: One family of 4 will attend the London 2012 Olympic Games and attend the first ever Pampers Playground event alongside Team USA Hopeful, Kerri Walsh, and her husband and sons. {Grand Prize Winner will be drawn on or around May 21st.} They will also be randomly selecting weekly winners between now and August 12th to receive a prize pack consisting of a one month’s supply of Pampers Limited Edition Team USA diapers and wipes as well as a souvenir volleyball signed by Kerri Walsh.

Don’t wait another minute! Hurry on over to the Pampers Facebook Page and enter today!

In order to help build excitement for their new partnership, Pampers has asked me to give away a prize pack to one lucky Blessed Beyond Words reader. One winner will receive Pampers Limited Edition “USA” diapers (economy box MSRP $50; approx. 140+ diapers SIZE 3) and wipes (MSRP $3.99; approx. 72 wipes). Enter using the rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have received an economy box of Pampers Limited Edition Team USA diapers and a box of wipes from Pampers in exchange for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Big G Curvy Straws Review from #MyBlogSpark {Ends 5/6}

As a mom, it’s important to me that my kids get their daily dose of Calcium and Vitamin D. It drives me crazy when I give them a bowl of cereal, they eat every bite of cereal, and then leave the milk in the bowl. It’s wasteful and it keeps them from getting closer to reaching their daily needed amount of Calcium and Vitamin D.

Right now, General Mills is working to prevent that from happening by including Curvy Straws in specially marked boxes of their Big G cereals. My kids love using the curvy straws to build a HUGE straw and then proceed to drink every drop of their milk that’s left in their bowl. Add to that the fact that Big G cereals are made with more whole grain than any other ingredient, and my kids have a great start to their busy day.

Participating Big G cereals include Lucky Charms®, Reese’s Puffs®, Trix®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch®, Honey Nut Cheerios®, and Cocoa Puffs®. There are six different colorful straws that feature our favorite Big G cereal characters.

The curvy straws are great for finishing off that last little bit of milk, or for encouraging kids to drink more milk in a cup. {Or a bowl – my kids always ask me to just pour more milk into their bowl and they slurp it up with their Curvy Straws.}

For this review, MyBlogSpark sent me a fantastic General Mills Big G Curvy Straws prize pack. It included the following items:

  • 1 box of a participating Big G cereal. {We got Cocoa Puffs… my favorite!!}
  • 1 Curvy Straw
  • 1 “Spilt Milk” bowl
  • 2 Glow Cups
  • 2 Tangle Toys
This was – hands down – one of the most fun prize packs we’ve received. The kids have gotten such a kick out of every single item in the box. They all love Cocoa Puffs… almost as much as I do… and they were so excited that they got the chance to have them for breakfast. The curvy straws were a hit with my older boys. They love connecting them together and making the straws into one huge straw. Parker loves the “Spilt Milk” bowl. He asks for it at every meal – no matter what’s on the table. Even I have to admit, it’s a very cool looking bowl, and even I like using it for my morning cereal. The glow cups are awesome. Everyone loves those. You can see in the picture I posted how the bottoms of the cups light up. They blink, flash, or stay solid, and they’re just plain fun to drink out of. And the tangle toys are a hit with all my kids, too. I’ve even caught my 14 year old playing with them. They’re quite fun!
This was such a great prize pack, and my kids have really enjoyed it. I’m grateful to General Mills for making breakfast even more fun and encouraging my kids to finish their milk with their curvy straws.
Be sure to try all the participating Big G cereals and collect all 6 straws. You can visit this link and download a printable coupon for $1.25 off the purchase of 2 boxes of participating Big G cereals. Also be sure to check out the Whole Grain Nation website for more information.

Want to win a Big G Curvy Straws Prize Pack of your own?
Enter below with the Rafflecopter gadget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: The prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. Opions expressed are 100% my own.

@BobbleBots Moshi Monsters {Ends 4/30}

My kids have been fans of moshimonsters.com for awhile now. The boys have each “adopted” their own monster, and they can’t get enough of the games. So, when I found out about Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters – a way to bring Moshi Monsters to life, I jumped at the chance to review them.

We were sent a Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters Starter Set for our review that included The Ice-Scream Set, Cobblestone Corner, and a Moshling. From the moment they arrived, the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on them. It was pure torture waiting long enough for me to get the packages opened. 🙂

Once they started playing, I heard sounds of pure delight. The kids were in heaven, and they were all playing together so nicely. They loved watching the monsters shake and move all around the set. They’d squeal every time the monsters would bump into each other, or into something else. It was hysterical.

I will say that the little Moshi Monster figures are quite noisy. Maybe it’s just because I had them in the dining room where there’s no carpet to pad the sound, but this is definitely not a toy to let the kids play with during the baby’s naptime… unless they’re downstairs in the basement.

I did end up sending the toy down to the basement, but that just made it even more fun for the kids. The basement floor is HUGE, so the kids would turn the Moshi Monsters on and just let them go. They would just laugh and laugh over the “antics” of the Bobble Bots.

Each Bobble Bots set/toy came with codes for MoshiMonsters.com – which made the boys VERY happy. They love using the codes for new stuff on MoshiMonsters.com, and I love how excited they get about playing on a site where they make education such a focus.

My kids would give Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters two very enthusiastic thumbs up. They love everything about the toys, and they can’t wait to expand their collection. I would also give the toys 2 thumbs up, I just need to get past the noise level of the toys. I do love that they’re not wind up toys, and they are so easy to use that even my 3 year old can turn them on and let them go. The batteries seem to last a really long time, too, because I swear the kids have played with these both in the house and outside for days on end, and they’re still going strong.

To learn more about Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters, connect with them in the following ways:

Want to win a Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters Starter Set of your very own? Enter using the Rafflecopter Gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters Set as part of a blog tour with MomSelect. Opinions expressed are 100% my own, and I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

Baby Won’t Take A Cup

Life as a parent is full of challenges. One day, your baby will only eat bananas. The next day, you go to feed him a banana, and he’ll look at you like you just tried to feed him garbage. It’s frustrating – to say the least.

One challenge we have had with Gage is that he refuses to drink from a cup. In fact, before we went to his one year well visit, I could only get him to drink formula from a bottle. After he passed the one year mark, I started weaning him off the formula and onto milk. We did it gradually, and in a few weeks, he was drinking milk from the bottle.

But when I tried to give him anything in a cup, he would refuse it. He’d push it away, scream, and turn his head. I tried every cup the sell at our local grocery store, too. Not a single one of them appealed to him.

A couple of weeks ago, he got the flu. I couldn’t get him to eat or drink anything – from a bottle or a cup. I was so afraid we were going to have to admit him for dehydration. The doctor put him on antibiotics, and I started pushing any kind of fluids I could get in him. Italian ice, popsicles, jello – whatever he would eat. Eventually, I was able to get him to drink Gatorade from a bottle –  but not from a cup.

At this point, I was incredibly frustrated. He’s over a year old, so I want to wean him from the bottle and get him on a cup. BUT, I actually needed to get him drinking from a cup.

Then, last night, I held my cup up to his mouth – no lid, nothing. He drank it like a pro. So, all this time, I should have been trying a cup with no lid! Not 20 minutes later, I caught him drinking from Lucy’s princess cup that has a straw.

It took him long enough – and me long enough to figure out why he wouldn’t drink from a cup. Apparently, he just wanted to do it like the big kids.

It’s a little messier having him drink from a regular cup or a cup with a straw, but if that’s what it takes to keep him from getting dehydrated, that’s what we’ll do.

If your baby won’t take a cup, try using a regular cup or a cup with a straw. It may take several days, but don’t give up. Keep trying!

Did you struggle with a baby that won’t take a cup? If so, what did you do to finally get him or her to stop drinking from a bottle and use a cup?

 

@RitaHazan Root Concealer Review

I have a new product that I just love, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Yes, it’s root concealer, but it is unlike any root concealer you’ve ever seen or used before.

Before I get to my review of the product, I want to show you my root problem before discovering Rita Hazan Root Concealer:

Can we say out of control? Yikes. My roots go on for what seems like miles… and you can even see a few *gasp* grey hairs in there as well.

I don’t have time – or the money – to get to the salon as often as I need to. If I’m being completely honest, the last time I even went to the salon was back in July of last year. It’s been awhile. And because I don’t get to the salon very often, I usually look in the mirror and quickly get frustrated at how much my roots have grown out – and how many new grey hairs I’m finding.

That’s all changed thanks to Rita Hazan Root Concealer. With this quick and easy spray on, I just style my hair, spray any exposed roots or grey hairs, and go. I love it! No one has to know that it’s been months since my last trip the salon. But, I feel better about the way I look, more confident, and ready to take on the day.

Take a look at how well it worked on my hair:

You can’t even tell I have roots anymore! Yay!!

There are several things I love about the Rita Hazan Root Concealer:

  • It’s SO easy to use. Just style your hair like you normally would, spray, and go.
  • It lasts all day – and night. It doesn’t come out {or off!} until you shampoo it out. And it doesn’t rub off on your pillowcase. It stays perfectly in place, doing its job, until I’m ready to wash it out.
  • I don’t have to use it every day if I don’t want to. As a stay at home mom, there are a lot of days that I don’t go anywhere at all. I don’t need to use the root concealer if I don’t want to, and it will last longer so that I can use it for the days I do go out.
  • It matches my hair color exactly. I know the pictures are dark, but my hair is a light brown. And even with highlights in my hair, the root concealer blends in perfectly.

While the concealer is a bit pricey {$24 for a 1 ounce can}, it lasts a really long time because you only use a little bit each time.

As a busy mom, I give this product 2 thumbs up. It’s easy to use, works great, and makes me feel better about myself. What more could a mom ask for?

Rita Hazan Root Concealer is available at your local Sephora store – and on the Sephora website. I encourage you to check it out and try it for yourself.

To learn more about Rita Hazan and all the products available, visit the Rita Hazan website. You can also find Rita Hazan on Facebook and follow Rita Hazan on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Rita Hazan and received a Rita Hazan Root Concealer product and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix {Ends 5/3}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.

EnG Product Shot.png

I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I need all the help I can get when it comes to gardening. Now that we have a beautiful new house, though, I’m determined to have beautiful gardens to make the outside of the home as beautiful as the inside.

And that’s why I am so thankful for Miracle-Gro®.

Miracle-Gro’s new Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix is specially formulated to give you up to 3 times the flowers and vegetables that you would get from native soil. Not only that, but it also improves your soil for years to come. When water is added to the concentrated planting mix, it expands up to 3 times. The all natural fibers in the soil hold up to 50% more water than your basic potting soils. It does all this – and it feeds your plants and vegetables for up to 6 months. That means less work for you and a better result!

Expand ‘n Gro™ can be purchased at local lawn and garden retailers in Texas, the Northeast, and in the Midwest, as well as on Amazon.com. For in-store availability, please visit expandngro.com.

Please take just a few minutes to watch this video and see just how easy it is to use Expand ‘n Gro™ in your garden:

I certainly can’t wait to try it in my own garden!

Want to try Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix for yourself? I’ve got a sample bag here to give away to one lucky winner.

This giveaway will run a little differently than my other giveaways, as there will just be one entry person. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post and tell me why you can’t wait to try Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix .

 

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Children’s Advil®: Don’t Let the Flu Get You Blue

There are times when I feel like every season is flu season in my house. When one kid gets sick, they all seem to get sick. It never fails.

Gage ended up being diagnosed with the flu a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t 2 days before I had 3 more children down with fevers. Luckily, Children’s Advil® had sent me a gift pack full of different flavors of their product. I have used Children’s Advil® for years – since Ashley was a baby – and I trust the product to help bring down fevers and help my children feel comfortable again quickly. What I didn’t realize was just how many flavors there are now – and that there’s even one that’s dye free.The kids enjoyed the new flavors, {only used as needed}, and I am thankful for a brand I can trust to help them feel better.

Fevers are scary – I know that. You worry, and you would do anything to bring their fever down and get them back to their old selves.

To help better prepare for fevers during cold and flu season, Dr. Alanna Levine and the makers of Children’s Advil® recommend the following tips to parents:

Fever Relief Tips

  • Stay Cool:  Remember that most fevers are in fact indicators that the body is fighting an underlying illness.
  • Be Prepared: Start the season by talking to a pediatrician about proper fever management.  Also, check the medicine cabinet to ensure that all medications have not expired or been recalled.
  • Watch for Serious Signs.  Generally, it’s time to call a pediatrician:
    • if your child is less than three months old and has a fever of 100 degrees or higher
    • if the fever is over 103 degrees, no matter what the child’s age
    • if the fever lasts more than three days
    • if your child has a fever and looks and acts very sick
    • if you are concerned regarding your child’s health.
  • Long Lasting Relief: When choosing a fever medication, be sure to consider how long the medication will last.  Children’s Advil®, which contains ibuprofen, provides up to 8-hours of relief with one dose.

I use and trust Children’s Advil® with my children, and will continue to do so. If you have any concerns about your child and cold/flu season, talk with your child’s doctor.

You can connect and learn more about Children’s Advil® in the following ways:

Disclaimer: Thank you to Children’s Advil® for providing free product samples, the survey information, and gift pack. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

Ubokia.com – Find What YOU Want

Ubokia.com is a fabulous new site where buyers are the rockstars.

Have you ever needed something… or wanted something… and you spent hours scouring the internet looking for that one perfect item? My husband is notorious for that… spending hours searching, and opening browser after browser to look at all the different options available and determine which one would be the best. It’s frustrating, time consuming, and frankly… it drives me crazy.

Ubokia is different. You post what you want and then the sellers come to YOU. What if you have an item to sell? That’s different too, but in a good way! You post the item you have for sale, and it instally scans all the Wants and matches you with buyers. You select the ones you want to talk to, and start making offers to the best buyers.

Think of Ubokia as a Craigslist alternative. It’s safer, more reliable, and works for YOU – not the other guy.

I’ve been using the site for a couple of days, and I’ve also had my husband test it out. There are lots of features that I love, and I can’t wait to share them with you:

  • It’s SUPER easy to use. Creating an account is really easy too, and you can even opt to log in through Facebook, which eliminates the need to enter a password every time you visit the site. It’s so easy that even my husband can use it… and he doesn’t drive me crazy with it, either.
  • The site works for you. No more searching for hours on end trying to find that perfect item. I can’t even begin to describe how much time this site will save you! It’s perfect for sellers too. If you post an item for sale, and there are no wants for that item already posted, Ubokia will send you an email notification if someone posts a want, or if someone wants to contact you. That means you don’t have to constantly log into your computer and check the site, because the site does it for you.
  • I also love the option to create ugroups. This is something I could really see myself utilizing. Since I belong to a local MOPS group, a private ugroup would be the perfect way for us to connect and buy, sell, or trade baby and children’s items, find babysitters, and create play-dates. It would all be safe and secure, and we wouldn’t have to worry about any unwanted guests, because only those of us in the group would know anything about it. I really think this is my favorite feature of the whole site, and I can’t wait to tell the MOPS moms about it.

I have to say, I am hooked on this site. I’m really going to have to talk it up in my local area and get more people from around here to join, so we have somewhere to go and easily buy and sell. The site will only get better the more people that join, so let me encourage you to create an account and get started buying and/or selling today. Then, encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by Ubokia.com and asked to do a website review. I was compensated for my time, however, opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

The Year in Pictures…. So far…

I know, I know… it’s only April. But, I wanted to share a special project that I’ve been working on for the past few months. My goal is to take a photo every day of 2012 and document it. So far, I’ve done really well. I’ve taken at least one photo every day, and I’ve uploaded it to an album on Facebook. It hasn’t been easy. And I don’t always use the same camera… sometimes I use my phone, sometimes I use my crappy little point and shoot, and other times I use my professional camera. {You can tell by the variance of the quality of the photos.}

Are you participating in a Project 365 {ummm, guess it would be Project 366} photo challenge? Are you keeping a record of all your photos for the year in one place? At the end of the year, I’d like to put together an album of all the pictures I took. I think it would be a great way to remember this year.

You can view all of my photos here:

Project 2012 – A Photo A Day

Here are a few of my favorites from the album {so far, anyway} :

If you’re participating in something similar, and you’re keeping your photos online, I hope you’ll take a minute and leave a link to your album here:

Fly Danny, Fly! {Book Review – Ends 4/27}

I love reading to – and with – my kids. Instilling a love for reading in each of my kids is so important to me. I don’t just want them to know how to read, I want them to love to read. So, when I come across books like “Fly Danny, Fly,” I get excited and want to share them with my kids.

In the few weeks we’ve had this book, we’ve probably read it a thousand times. I’ve read it to the younger kids, Jace and Zander have read it to themselves and out loud, and Parker has turned page after page, telling the story in his own way.

Fly Danny Fly is beautifully illustrated and tells a wonderful story about a boy that sees a flying pig named Danny. No one else can see this flying pig, and many other kids make fun of this boy, and really hurt him with their words. Then, he meets a wonderful old lady that encourages him to believe in everything he sees and be happy. Shortly after that, he meets Grace, and a special friendship is formed.

This is a sweet little book with a  powerful message that tells kids it’s ok to believe in their dreams!

Fly Danny, Fly has received the Moms Choice Awards Gold Award, and part of their proceeds go to The Danny Did Foundation.

I just adore this book, and I’m certain you and your kids will love it too. Please take a few moments and learn more about the book by visiting their website: Pig Up Station

Want to get your own copy of Fly Danny, Fly?

Buy it: You can grab a copy from the Pig Up Station website or on Amazon for just $15.99 with free shipping.

Win It: I have THREE autographed copies to give away to my readers. {Autographed by author Chip Gilbertson.} To enter, use the Rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book mentioned above from Pig Up Station in order to facilitate my review. Sponsor also sent over 3 additional copies of the book to give away to my readers. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way, and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Steven Curtis Chapman #1s – Volume 1 {Review – Ends 4/22}

I could sit and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman sing all day long. I’ve been a fan for quite some time. So, when I got the opportunity to review his new album – Steven Curtis Chapman #1s Volume 1 – I jumped at the chance. It was a given that there would be more than a few songs on the album that I would love. And guess what? I was exactly right!

Here are the songs included on the CD that released on April 3rd:

  • Lord of the Dance
  • Dive
  • More to this Life
  • The Great Adventure
  • Speechless
  • I Will be Here
  • Go There with You
  • God is God
  • Fingerprints of God
  • Be Still and Know
  • Magnificent Obsession
  • All Things New
  • Bonus Track: Cinderella

Love, love, love these songs! My absolute favorite song on the CD is “I Will Be Here” because it was part of my wedding day. Back in 2002, I was on a mission to find the perfect song for part of our wedding ceremony. When I happened across that song, I was knew that was it. During the ceremony, hubby and I gave Ashley a locket with her new initials on it and pictures of the three of us inside. Then, we prayed together as a family. While we did that, the song I Will Be Here played in the background. Now, every time I hear that song, I can’t help but smile and think about that moment when we officially became a family. Truth be told, it’s been 10 years, and I still up every time I hear the song. I just love it.

While that song is my favorite, that’s not to say that I don’t love every other song on the album – because I do! I’ve heard all of the songs on the radio over the years, but now it’s great to have so many of my favorites on one album that I can pop into my CD player and listen to whenever I want.

I uploaded all of the songs to my iPod so I can listen to them while I clean the house or work on the computer – in fact, as I type this post, I’ve got the album playing in the background. The CD itself is in my car so that the kids and I can listen to it whenever we go somewhere. This is quickly becoming my favorite new CD, and I’m finding it next to impossible to turn it off!

To celebrate the launch of Steven’s new CD that released earlier this week, I get to giveaway a bunch of goodies to my readers! There will be 5 winners! One winner will receive the CD and a special prize pack, and 4 more readers will win a copy of the new CD. I’ll have you all hooked in no time!

Before I get to the giveaway, I wanted to let you know that there are LOTS of ways you can connect with Steven Curtis Chapman. Here they are:

If you are fan of Steven Curtis Chapman, I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this album. Great songs, great message. Steven doesn’t disappoint.

By the way, you can get the album on Amazon right now for just $10.08 and it’s eligible for Prime shipping or Free Super Saver Shipping. That’s a steal for this album!

How’d you like to WIN a copy of Steven Curtis Chapman #1s – Volume 1?! To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the CD mentioned above from EMI Group Limited on behalf of Steven Curtis Chapman in order to facilitate my review. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way. Sponsor is furnishing the prizes for the giveaway.

ZeroWater Drinking Water Pitcher Review {Ends 4/10}

Many of you know, I quit drinking soda early this year. I have switched to absolutely nothing but water. Sometimes drinking water is great… and other times, {like when I’m eating out at a restaurant or visiting someone else’s home, or when I don’t have a way to filter my water}, it’s not so great.

I want my water to taste good… after all, it’s much easier to drink when it tastes good.

Recently, I heard about ZeroWater through MomCentral. I was so excited to find out I had been accepted into the campaign. I’ve used many, many different filtration systems for our home’s tap water, and I just hadn’t found one that I really loved.

I’ve been using the ZeroWater pitcher for a little over a week now. I must say, my water tastes better than it ever has. The biggest difference I noticed was the smell of the water. For some reason, when our water comes out of the tap, and you put it into a glass, it smells like dog. Now, we don’t even have a dog. We haven’t had a dog in over 5 years. Since I’ve started using the ZeroWater pitcher, I don’t smell that stench anymore, and I don’t have to resort to using straws to get past that smell.

If you head to the ZeroWater website, you can look up the current state of water for your area. After typing in my zipdcode, I discovered our TDS {Total Dissolved Solids} Reading is 127. Not great, but not really bad either. Water is drinkable straight from the tap, but I really prefer it after it’s been filtered – no matter where I am.

The ZeroWater pitcher came with a TDS meter that allows me to instantly see what the TDS reading of my water is. I love that feature. And I love that I can remove the meter and toss it into my purse. That allows me the ability to test the water wherever I go… just so I know if I really want to be drinking the water or if I should run and buy a bottle of water instead. {Although, even some bottled water has a higher TDS reading than one would hope!}

I am really impressed with the ZeroWater pitcher. I will say that it takes a LONG time to fill up, but that’s because the pitcher contains a patented 5-stage water filtration system. Once you taste the water, though, you quickly realize it’s worth every second it took to fill the pitcher. {By the way, ZeroWater’s filtration system is the only system certified to meet the FDA’s standards for Purified Bottled Water. It gives you peace of mind with every glass!} I also love that the pitcher gives you the option to pour from the top, or you can use the spout on the back and leave the pitcher in the fridge. Makes things so much easier, and the kids love refilling my cups all the time – and I don’t have to worry about spills! I do wish the pitcher held more though, because I empty this pitcher at least 5 times a day. Then it takes forever to fill back up each time, and it is really time consuming. But, it does make my water taste better than any other filtration systems I’ve  used.

I also wanted to mention that March 22nd was World Water Day. The United Nations established World Water Day to get people to look at current water issues around the world. Did you know that 11% of the world’s population don’t have safe water? Combine this with poor sanitation and this results in approximately 4,000 children dying every day. Something has to be done to change these statistics.

I hope you’ll take some time to learn more about ZeroWater – and check out what the TDS reading is in your area. You can connect with ZeroWater in the following ways:

If you’d like to purchase a ZeroWater 10 Cup Filtration Pitcher, Click here: ZeroWater 10 Cup Pitcher. Then, use discount code MC30 to get 30% off your purchase. It’s a great price for a great product!

I also get to give TWO lucky readers the chance to win a ZeroWater 10 Cup Pitcher of their very own! To enter, use the Rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of ZeroWater and received a water pitcher to facilitate my review, two pitchers to giveaway, and extra filters to thank me for taking the time to participate.