#Sponsored: @BeechnutFoods Offers Better Baby Food Options

sample receivedDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Beechnut and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Beech-Nut logo

beech-nut baby food

As a mom, I am always looking for the best options when it comes to feeding my children – no matter what age they are. That’s why I am so excited about the new line of Beech-Nut baby food. Beech-Nut food for babies is made with only natural ingredients. That means I don’t have to worry about any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They leave out all the yucky stuff and only leave in the natural flavors and essential vitamins and nutrients my baby needs.

carly and beech-nutCarly is over a year old now, but she has had no desire to come off baby food. While she is starting to try more and more table foods, there’s nothing she likes more than a jar or two of her favorite fruits and/or veggies. And that’s why I’m so thankful for Beech-Nut food for babies. I don’t have to worry about what I’m feeding her. I know that when I give her carrots, she’s getting just carrots.

The other feature I love is Beech-Nut’s new just gentle cooking method that keeps fruits and vegetables fresh without adding water, also ensuring the food is never over-processed. This method of gentle cooking is a 5 step process that takes good, wholesome ingredients, puts them through a cold puree to keep as many of the vitamins and nutrients in there as possible, contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives of any kind, then gently cooking them to just the right amount of time, and is all followed up by putting that yummy food into the BPA-free glass jars. Thank you, Beech-Nut for going the extra mile for my baby!

While homemade babyfood is what we all strive for, sometimes (ok, most of the time!) it’s just not possible. But now, we can turn to Beech-Nut and know that we are serving our babies simply good baby food without all the unnecessary ingredients or junk they don’t need.

For this review, Beech-Nut sent us several of their new flavors for Carly to try. Oh my goodness, did they ever make her belly happy! Her favorite was the beets, pear, and pomegranate. She could not gobble that down fast enough. She also really enjoyed the spinach, zucchini, and peas. What an easy way to get her to eat her green veggies. :) We will definitely be adding in some of the new flavors to Carly’s regular diet. I can’t wait to see what other flavors they have to offer.

I know Beech-Nut makes Carly happy, and it makes ME happy too!

I encourage you to learn more about the new line of Beech-Nut food for babies by getting to know Beech-Nut through the following social media channels:

 

beechnut baby food

Now, tell me: What kinds of baby food is your baby eating right now? Have you tried the new line of Beech-Nut food for babies yet?

#Sponsored: Mr. Clean Does it Again! #MrCleanMorePower @SheSpeaksUp #Giveaway

sample receivedDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Mr. Clean and SheSpeaks.

mrclean muscles

As the mom of 7, my husband and I have to tackle some large messes in our home…. and in every room of our home! From the bathroom to the kitchen, and everywhere in between, we have to find products that can stand up to our crazy crew.

Recently, I was introduced to Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle, a liquid-gel concentrate multi-purpose cleaner. I was also sent a bucket and a sponge to see if I prefer using the cleaner from the bucket or directly on the sponge.

Before I show you some amazing before and after pictures, let me tell you what I love about Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle:

  • I love that it’s a liquid gel concentrate. With a texture more like a dish-soap, it’s great for tackling big or little messes anywhere I need to.
  • The special spout on the top of the bottle ensure you get the perfect amount of cleaning when pouring it into a bucket. One gallon of water + One squeeze of Liquid Muscle, and you’re good to go.
  • The scent (Meadows and Rain) is powered by Febreze and smells amazing! After thoroughly cleaning my kitchen with Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle, my entire house smelled fresh and clean. I love it!
  • It works fast, and it works well! I used the Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle on my microwave, my stovetop, my kitchen counters, and even my kitchen floor. In no time at all, my kitchen smelled so good and sparkled in the sunlight. There’s nothing I love more than a clean kitchen. Now I can’t wait to move on to the bathrooms and get them sparking just as much!

I have a pet peeve in my kitchen: the inside of my microwave MUST be clean at all times. My kids know that if they make a mess in the microwave, they have to clean it up. Well, with everything that’s been going on in our house lately, I’ve slacked in getting onto the kids about cleaning out their microwave messes. Guess what? The inside of the microwave was absolutely disgusting. So, I figured that would be the first job I would force Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle to tackle.

Take a look:

mrclean more power

It only took a few minutes to get from the top picture to the bottom picture. I was certainly impressed! Any cleaner that can work that good on such a tough mess is definitely the cleaner for me!

I would highly recommend Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle to anyone that asks. It works fast, it works well, and it leaves every room sparkling clean and smelling great!

You can find Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle at your local Walmart. Head on over and stock up today!

Also be sure to connect with Mr. Clean in the following ways:

Want to win a $25 Walmart Gift Card to stock up on Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle for yourself? Use the Rafflecopter Gadget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Giveaway ends 4/1 at 12:00am.

#Sponsored: Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable {Movie #Review & #Giveaway}

sample received

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

unstoppable

 

As a mom, I’m very particular about what movies my children can and cannot see. When I heard about Unstoppable coming to theaters awhile back, I hoped and prayed the movie would find it’s way into our little town. Unfortunately, the closest showing was several hours away from us, so we didn’t make it. That’s why I am so excited to have the opportunity to review the movie on DVD.

In the Christian life, there’s one question that can make – or break – your faith. That question? “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

In Unstoppable, Kirk Cameron takes viewers on a visual journey to better understand that question, and he does so in a hope-filled, heart warming way.

The movie is inspired and centered around the death of Cameron’s close friend who passed away from cancer at the age of 15. Kirk takes us back to the beginning, literally back to Adam and Eve, to investigate the first acts of good and evil and how they affect our lives.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch Unstoppable, but I was surprised by what I saw. Instead of just sitting down to watch a movie and switching my brain off, I got an hour of topics that opened the doors to long, Christ centered conversations with my children. There are no words to express how much I loved being able to talk openly, and at length, with my kids about what Christ did for us.

There was one scene in the movie that really, really got to me. Kirk had gone to some Hollywood big-wigs to discuss making a movie about Noah. As Kirk explained the history of Noah and the Ark to these execs, they laughed and came up with ways to change the “story.” It was so sad, and so heartbreaking. I couldn’t imagine not knowing the truth of Noah, or wanting to change the outcome of what happened. My heart immediately became heavy for those in the world that just don’t understand the truth our Bible holds.

Overall, I was very impressed with the movie. I loved that it opened the doors of conversation with my children. I loved that it made me think about what Christ did for us and deepened my faith a little more. I only wish there had been more use of Scripture in the movie. While the truths were in there, to me, I like to have Scriptural references so that I can dig a little more into my Bible. I did thoroughly enjoy the movie, though, and I think every family should have this DVD available in the home library.

To learn more about Unstoppable and Provident Films, please check out the following links:

Would you like to win a copy of Unstoppable of your very own? Enter today using the Rafflecopter Gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Giveaway Ends February 14, 2014.)

#Sponsored: @LibbysTable Makes the Big Game GREAT! #LibbysBigGame #Giveaway

sample received

Disclaimer: I received a sample from Libby’s in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

libbys

I am not a football fan… but I do love a good party! Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to host and attend some really fantastic Super Bowl parties. There’s nothing quite like gathering with family and friends, and watching the big game… or, if you’re like me, the commercials. ;)

This year, Libby’s wants to make your Super Bowl party even more super. With their fruits and vegetables, you can quickly and easily create affordable – and downright delicious – recipes and snacks like Black Bean and Bacon Veggie Bites and Peachy BBQ Pork Sliders. You’ll score big points with creations like those, and you might even be voted MVP.

Those aren’t the only two recipes you can create with Libby’s fruits and veggies. In fact, the possibilities are endless! If you’re like me, and need a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen, be sure to check out the dozens of recipes available on the Libby’s Recipes tab on their website and on their Game Day Goodies Pinterest board.

I also want to make sure you are aware that TODAY at 2pm ET, you can join in Libby’s twitter party just by using the hashtag #LibbysBigGame.

For this review, Libby’s sent me an assortment of fruits and veggies as well as a beautiful antler platter from Pottery Barn. First of all, I have to say that I love Libby’s fruits and vegetables. Their Fruit Cocktail is to die for, and my whole family absolutely loves the Organic Sweet Corn. Their veggies are often the best part of our family dinners, and I love that their website and social media accounts have given me so many ways to use their fruits and veggies in my Game Day recipe and snack plans.

Make sure you get in on all the game-winning ideas and recipes from Libby’s by connecting with them in the following ways:

Now, Libby’s wants to give one lucky Blessed Beyond Words reader a chance to win a beautiful Pottery Barn platter of their very own. Just use the Rafflecopter Gadget below and enter for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends February 5 at 11:59pm ET.

#Sponsored: Redemption Creations – Christian Products that Fit Your Lifestyle

sample receivedDisclaimer: I received a sample from Redemption Creations in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

redemption creations

I recently had the opportunity to work with RedemptionCreations.com, and let me tell you – this has been one of my very favorite reviews so far. For this review, they sent me two items. The first item I received is pictured above: A Navy t-shirt with the word Blessed in pink. I love this shirt. Not just a little bit. I really, really love it. I’ve claimed “Blessed” as my word. :) I have it on everything, down to the coffee mug and Bible cover I got for Christmas. So this shirt was absolutely perfect for me. Because I wear it all the time, I’ve washed it quite a few times. The color has not faded at all, and it looks just as new as the day I pulled it out of the package.  That’s because it’s made from the finest materials, 100% combed ring spun cotton printed with eco-friendly discharge ink. It’s a longer length, (which is what I love most!), and it fits beautifully! This will be the first item I’ll be packing for our cruise next month. I can’t wait to show it off!

with God all things are possible

The second product they sent me is a fabulous “With God all things are Possible” poster. Their posters are screen printed with eco-friendly discharge in on French Poptones Series paper. I love the bright color of the poster. (Pink is always fabulous.) The ink is almost a “pearlized” effect, and is just beautiful. With the right frame, this is going to look beautiful hanging in my girls’ room.

The products I received from RedemptionCreations.com are of the highest quality, and I am truly impressed with the speed of delivery, customer service, and the products themselves. I would recommend them and their products to any fellow believer.

There’s one more quality about RedemptionCreations.com that I love. With each month’s profits, RedemptionCreations.com donates 10% to a church outreach program, (e.g. food pantry, homeless shelter), in need of funding support, giving back to the Christian community just like Jesus did. The best part? You can have your favorite organization considered. Just fill out the form located here.

Lastly, I want to let you know about a Pinterest sweepstakes RedemptionCreations.com is hosting for the New Year. You get your chance to win any item from the RedemptionCreations.com catalog. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go here: http://woobox.com/pho4po 
  2. Pin any five images you’d like to help you focus on faith for the New Year (which you can do, right from the application)
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Specify the item you’d like to win
  5. Click enter!

That’s it! You’re entered to win! And as a special bonus, all entrants get a coupon code for 50% off one item at the end of the process. (That’s a great way to get that Blessed shirt shown above at a fantastic price!)

The contest ends January 31st, so hurry on over and enter today.

Also, be sure to connect with RedemptionCreations.com in the following Ways:

  1. Visit the RedemptionCreations.com website to see all the amazing products they have available. There’s something to meet every need – and every budget.
  2. Follow Redemption Creations on Pinterest.
  3. Become a fan of Redemption Creations on Facebook.
  4. Follow Redemption Creations on Twitter.

#Sponsored: @HodgsonMillinc #GRAINHoliday Recipe: Oatmeal Cherry Delights, Santa’s Favorite Cookie

Sponsored Post

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hodgson Mill. I received samples in order to create this recipe, and am being entered into a contest along with other bloggers. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Hodgson Mill Flour & Cookies

Anyone that knows me knows that I am by no means a chef. But, if there’s one thing I love to make, it’s cookies. Especially during the Christmas season. I love giving homemade cookies as gifts to teachers, neighbors, friends, and loved ones. And there’s nothing better than spending time with my kids in the kitchen.

I have recently made the switch to Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour for all of my cooking and baking. Why? Because it’s a better choice for myself and my family. Earlier this year, I made some big changes in our household, and that includes the way we eat. Now, whenever a recipe calls for flour, I pull out my bag of Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour. It works just like regular flour, tastes great, and it’s just better for everyone.

For this post, Hodgson Mill asked me to create an original recipe for a holiday cookie. Since that’s one thing I absolutely love to make, I jumped right on board!

Year ago, my grandmother gave me her oatmeal cookie recipe. (Which is my absolute favorite cookie in the world.) I decided to take Grandma’s recipe and change it up into what is now knows as “Oatmeal Cherry Delights” or “Santa’s Favorite Cookie.” And trust me, in this house, these ARE Santa’s favorite cookies. These cookies are perfect for cookie exchanges, giving as gifts, or leaving a few for Santa to enjoy on Christmas Eve.

Santa's favorite cookie

Oatmeal Cherry Delights

Materials Needed:

  • Medium to Large Mixing Bowl
  • Greased Cookie Sheets

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 cups Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 jar Maraschino Cherries, chopped (16 ounce jar)
  • Juice from the jar of Maraschino Cherries
  • 2 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars (4.4 ounce each), crushed

Directions:

  1. In a medium or large mixing bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla and juice from the jar of maraschino cherries.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, then stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Add in chopped cherries and crushed chocolate and mix well.
  3. Cover the bowl, and chill the dough for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies, but you can add sprinkles if desired.
  5. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes in preheated oven. Allow the cookies to cool on a baking sheet for approximately 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, you’re ready to enjoy them!

oatmeal cherry delights

My kids absolutely flipped over these cookies, and they’re our new favorite Holiday cookie. I have a feeling we’ll be making these every year from here on out, and it’s all thanks to Hodgson Mill.

oatmeal cherry delights

To get you into the baking spirit, Hodgson Mill has some great things going on right now. You won’t want to miss out on these!

First of all, CLICK HERE for a $1.00 off coupon on any 5LB bag of Hodgson Mill flour or cornmeal, which can be redeemed nationwide.

Next, be sure to enter the 25 Days of Grain Holiday Sweepstakes with a chance to win fantastic prizes from Hodgson Mill every day from now until Christmas!

And, lastly, use the Rafflecopter Gadget below to enter to win a prize pack of Hodgson Mill goodies – winner’s choice of gluten free products or a selection of whole wheat items ($25 value).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

oatmeal cherry delight cookies

Have a GRAIN holiday, everyone, and let’s get to baking! :)

#MC #Sponsored: Soundfreaq #SoundSpot Speakers Make Music Even Better #Review

Sample Received

Disclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Soundfreaq. I received a Soundfreaq Sound Spot to facilitate my review.

Soundfreaq Speakers

It’s the holidays, and you know what that means: holiday dinners, parties, and gatherings. :) It’s my favorite time of year!

I love having people over, and I do as often as I can. And I always make sure I have some kind of background music playing for our guests to enjoy. Prior to this campaign, I would turn my tv onto a music channel and let it play. But, that isn’t always ideal. Sometimes, I don’t like the songs that the station plays, and then I’m stuck wishing the next song would hurry up and get there.

soundfreaq_01

But now that I’ve been introduced to Soundfreaq Sound Spot wireless speakers, that’s all changed! Now, I just connect  the speaker to my iPhone and I can play any – or all – of the songs I’ve got downloaded to my phone. It’s fantastic! I have even created several playlists to play while we have company over. I even have one with just Christmas music to get everyone in the Spirit of things.

SFQ-07 Black 290 QTRhigh iPhone

I can’t believe the amazing sound quality I get with these speakers. And I love that I can use two speakers at once and get sound in several different places in the house. (I usually have one speaker set up in the living room, and the other in the kitchen. These are the two rooms people spend the most time in, and this way everyone can enjoy the music.

Not only is the sound fantastic, but so is the look of the speakers. I’ve used other portable speakers before, but they definitely looked out of place with my decor. However, the Sound Spot speakers are sleek and modern and look great on my mantle, my night stand, or anywhere I want to put them.

There are more features of these convenient little speakers that I love:

  • The Sound Spot speakers stream via Bluetooth, so they work with my old iPhone, my husband’s new Samsung Galaxy, and my new Nokia Lumia phone. Anything we have that allows us to connect through Bluetooth works perfectly with these speakers. (That means I can listen to the music I want to in the living room on one speaker, and my daughter can listen to her music in her bedroom on another. I love it!
  • The Sound Spot speakers can be moved anywhere in the home you want it to go, and there are no wires to connect. In fact, the rechargeable battery lasts for up to 7 hours of musical enjoyment when fully charged.
  • Sound Spot speakers are easy to charge, just plug it into your computer or any powered USB port for quick and easy charging. And the best part? You can charge your phone with the Sound Spot, even when it’s running on batter power. Best. Idea. EVER. (I actually used the Sound Spot in my car the other day to charge my phone and listen to my favorite music. It was fantastic – and a lifesaver!)

The only thing I wish is that my TV would connect via Bluetooth. The sound from these speakers is SO much better than the sound from my tv. I’d love to be able to connect my TV to the Sound Spot speakers and enjoy surround-sound in my living room. I’m hoping they put a Bluetooth capable tv on the market soon, because I think it’d be great to use with the Sound Spot speakers.

I absolutely love my Sound Spot speakers, and I would highly recommend these as a must-give holiday gift this year! At just $69/speaker, and with so many color choices available, you need to run out and stock up on some great holiday gifts. (You’ll be everyone’s favorite Santa this year if you give them a Sound Spot speaker!)

Also be sure to connect with Soundfreaq in the following ways:

SFQ-07 White Wood 290 QTRhigh iPhone

Celebrate Firsts with @Pampers #DDDivas #SwaddlersFirsts #Sponsored #Giveaway

Sample Received

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

pampers swaddlers

As a mom, I have trusted Pampers Swaddlers diapers for all my babies and their little bums. They’re the softest, best diapers I’ve found for those tender little newborn behinds.

Now, Pampers Swaddlers are available up to size 5! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited about this. Having 2 little ones still in diapers, one in a size 5, and one in a size 3, I love that I can keep both of them in Swaddlers diapers now. And Carly, my youngest, will be able to stay in Swaddlers all the way through her years in diapers.

That means that Pampers Swaddlers can be there for all of her firsts… her first smile, her first tooth, her first step. With each new first Carly experiences, she can do them all in Pampers Swaddlers.

carly in pampers

To celebrate your baby’s firsts, and to celebrate the release of Swaddlers in sizes 4 & 5, Pampers has 30 days of incredible giveaways. There’s even a grand prize of FREE Swaddlers diapers & wipes for a year! You can join in the celebration on the Pampers Facebook Page – just visit the special app where you can win daily prize bundles and enter to win the fantastic grand prize!

Pampers Firsts Package

I also want you to make sure you to be sure and join the #SwaddlersFirsts Twitter Party. Here are all the details:

  • WHEN: Thursday, December 5 at 9pm EST
  • RSVP: http://twtvite.com/SwaddlersFirsts
  • WHO TO FOLLOW:  @Pampers, @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick
  • PRIZES INCLUDE:
    • 3 – Celebrating Firsts Gift Packs (ARV $250), which include:
      • Baby’s First Friend DouDou Bear Plush Doll
      • Baby’s First Tooth & First Curl Treasure Boxes
      • Baby’s First Words Book
      • Baby’s First Steps Plush Toy
      • $50 Shutterfly Gift Card to celebrate all the “firsts” moments
      • Baby’s First Bath Robe
      • Pampers Swaddlers
    • Grand Prize: A Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR Camera worth $450!

That is one twitter party you don’t want to miss!

Also be sure to connect with Pampers in the following ways:

Now, Pampers and I want to help you celebrate your baby’s first milestones. Use the rafflecopter gadget below to enter to win a Pampers First Prize Pack that contains the following items:

  • Baby’s First Friend Doudou Bear Plush Doll
  • Baby’s First Tooth and First Curl Treasure Box
  • Baby’s First Words Book
  • Baby’s First Steps Plush Toy
  • Pampers Swaddlers

Good luck!! The giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 17th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Taylor Joelle Black & Bright Collection #Sponsored #Review

Sample Received

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Taylor Joelle. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

taylor joelle

Lucy and I are in love with the Black & Bright Collection from Taylor Joelle. This collection offers some of the cutest and most fun designs I have ever seen when it comes to little girls clothing.

My favorite part of the clothing line is how modest the entire collection is. The dress we received for review was the Acid Green Black and White Stripe Tutu Dress. It’s perfect for any season, and it’s perfect for her to wear to church. In fact, she has tried to wear the dress to church every time we’ve gone since she received the dress.

The materials and quality of the dress are second to none. I can’t get over how beautiful the dress is, or how well made it is. I love everything about it. It’s unique, fun, and Lucy’s face lights up every time she wears it.

Lucy’s favorite part of the dress is that the tutu skirt portion makes for a great twirly skirt!

taylor joelle

Right now, Taylor Joelle is having their Black Friday Sale, and WOW!! You can score the Black & Bright Collection at amazing prices! That dress Lucy is wearing? It’s on sale right now for just $24. Worth every single cent of that, and more!

Here are the details of their Black Friday sale. (Click on the picture to be taken directly to the Taylor Joelle website.)

taylor joelle black friday sale

Hurry on over and shop the amazing deals right now at Taylor Joelle Designs. Your little girls (and boys!!!) will be the best dressed kids around, and no one will ever have to know how much you saved!

I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to work with Taylor Joelle. I love their products, and now that I’ve experience the quality firsthand, I’ll be a regular customer. I’m already planning on stocking up on some items for Carly and Lucy this Christmas. I can’t wait to see the look on Lucy’s face when she opens up more items from the different Taylor Joelle collections on Christmas morning.

After you’re done shopping on the Taylor Joelle website, also be sure to connect with them in the following ways:

Minted Offers Gorgeous Holiday Cards #Review #Sponsored

Sample ReceivedDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. I received Custom Photo Christmas Cards in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Christmas Cards

Thanks to Minted and their fantastic Holiday Photo Cards, I am on a roll! My Christmas cards are ordered, and have already arrived! And we’re talking before Thanksgiving even got here, people! Do you understand how crazy that is? I’ve written this date down, because never have I been ahead when it comes to Christmas cards. I’m usually ordering them at the last minute… and there were several years when I had to send out “Happy New Year” cards because I just couldn’t get it together before Christmas. But not this year! No siree. They are already here, waiting to be addressed, and they’ll go out right after my Christmas tree goes up. (Which is always the day after Thanksgiving.) I can’t wait!

Want to join me in my excitement, and get your own household ready for the holiday season? Head on over to the Minted website and check out all of the fantastic holiday photo cards they have available. But, let me warn you, their website is highly addictive. I spent a good hour plugging my family portraits into different cards to see how they would look. And then I ended up loving them all.

I narrowed my choices down to 10. And then 5. And then 2. Finally, after polling my husband, and all seven of our children, I decided to go with the photo card you see above. But, I really liked my second choice too. You can see it here:

Christmas Cards

I love the simplicity of both card styles, and I love how easy it was to create a custom card for my family. Once I finally settled on the design, it took me less than 10 minutes to customize the card, add it to my cart, and place the order. I love when websites make ordering easy, and Minted absolutely does!

I had the option to have a proof shipped to me, but I opted not to. I had edited the photos myself, and triple checked spelling and the text on the cards, so I didn’t feel I needed a proof.

I placed my order on Saturday, November 16th, and the cards were delivered to me on Wednesday, November 20th. (And that was with FedEx Ground shipping, the slowest option for shipping.) I am REALLY impressed.

As soon as I got over the shock of receiving the cards so quickly, I opened the box to discover my cards beautifully and safely packaged. The cards were sealed in plastic wrap, and there was lots of bubble wrap in the box to keep them protected. Everything arrived in perfect condition, as if I had picked them up straight from the printing department myself.

The cards are a beautiful quality as well. I can’t wait to mail these out to all our friends and loved ones. The paper is thing, but not flimsy, the colors are beautiful, and everything looks perfect. I can’t express enough how much I love these cards. The envelopes are thick and perfect for sending out these cards. Overall, I am beyond impressed with the quality, the service, and my entire experience with Minted.

I hope that you will check out all of the holiday photo card options available on the Minted website. Whatever holiday you celebrate this year, I’m sure they have a card just for you. And, if you’re expecting a new bundle of joy, celebrating an engagement, planning a wedding, or have another special event coming up, Minted will have the perfect card just waiting for you to customize.

Please be sure to connect with Minted in the following ways:

Thank you, Minted, for helping me get my Christmas cards out early this year. I can’t wait to show them off!

#Sponsored: It’s a #FebrezeHoliday at our House Thanks to @Febreze_Fresh and @SheSpeaksUp #Review

Sample Received

Disclaimer: This post is part of a blog blast through SheSpeaks on behalf of Febreze. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

febreze_holiday

I love the holidays. Family and friends dropping by, great big meals with tons of yummy food, and snuggling by the fire listening to Christmas music. This is my favorite time of year, and I wish it could be like this all year long.

Are there certain scents that take you back to your childhood? For me, the scent that always brings the memories flooding back is the smell of Apple Cider. It’s like I’m a little girl again, visiting the pumpkin farm with my family, eating handmade donuts and drinking hot apple cider fresh from the orchard. Life was so wonderful then, and I didn’t have a care in the world. Now, all these years later, just a whiff of apple cider takes me back to those wonderful days from times gone by.

For this review, Febreze and SheSpeaks sent me a Febreze NOTICEables warmer with two special edition NOTICEables scents: Apple Cider and Cranberry frost, as well as a Cranberry Cider Set & Refresh.

I put the Cranberry Cider Set & Refresh in the kitchen. In the kitchen is where you’ll find lots of different smells: scents from cooking, and scents from the stinky trash can. I set the Set & Refresh on the island, just above the trash can, and WOW! What a difference it has made! Now, you walk into the kitchen and it smells like the holidays… NOT like a stinky trash can. I love walking by and getting a sniff of the Cranberry Cider scent. It gets me all pumped up for the holidays and ready to bake something wonderful.

I plugged the Febreze NOTICEables warmer in the living room. Just moments after I plugged it in, all of the kids were asking me, “What smells so good?” It does smell amazing, and I love that it alternates between the two scents. And every time I smell the apple cider scent, I’m taken right back to my childhood like I mentioned above, and can’t help but think about my Daddy and all the memories we made.

I’m excited to have folks over this holiday season, just so they can experience my Febreze scents for themselves. I’m certain these wonderful smells will bring back memories for every one of my visitors. If not, maybe it will help them create some new memories. :)

This year, if you want to make your holidays a little sweeter, be sure to grab some Febreze products in their Special Edition Holiday Scents. Your house will smell amazing, and you’ll be the talk of the family this holiday season.

With scents like Cranberry Cider, Falling Leaves, Winter Frost, Apple & Spice, and Glistening Pine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Head on over to the Febreze website and check out all their Holiday Collection today. Then, be sure to Follow Febreze on twitter, become a fan of Febreze on Facebook, and check out the Febreze YouTube Channel.

Ring in the Holidays with Oreo! #Recipe #Sponsored

Sample Received
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Oreo. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

peppermint oreos

The holidays are here, and with the holidays comes baking, making, and eating lots (and lots!) of yummy food and desserts.

I recently found out about the Limited Edition Peppermint Oreo, and I am hooked. (These are available exclusively at Food Lion, so make sure you stock up on your next trip!)

To jump-start my holiday baking, Oreo sent me a package of their cookies in Peppermint flavor, a recipe for Peppermint-Oreo Cookie Balls, and a Food Lion Gift card to help me purchase the items to make the cookie balls.

Let me just tell you, I *love* a no-bake recipe that looks like I’ve spent hours in the kitchen, when really, it took less than an hour and it wasn’t difficult to make at all.

Before I get to the recipe, let me show you just how delicious these Cookie Balls look:

peppermint oreo cookie balls

Don’t they look delicious?

While they may not be as pretty as the cookie balls on the Oreo website, I think they look pretty good… and the best part? They taste amazing! So rich and full of flavor, these will definitely be making an appearance on my holiday dessert table this year.

Want to know how to make these delicious Peppermint-Oreo Cookie Balls for yourself?

Here’s the recipe:

NO BAKE PEPPERMINT-OREO COOKIE BALLS

Ingredients

  • 1 Pkg. (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Pkg. (15.25 oz.) OREO Cookies with Peppermint Creme, finely crushed
  • 4 Pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
  • 8 starlight mints (or 4 candy canes), coarsly crushed

Directions

  • Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.
  • Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 minutes.
  • Dip balls into melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Sprinkle with candy.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
  • Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

How to Easily Dip Cookie Balls

  • To easily coat cookie balls with the melted chocolate, add balls, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll balls in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove balls with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place balls in prepared pan; let stand until chocolate coating is firm.

NOTE: If any melted chocolate remains after all balls are coated, store in tightly covered container at room temperature until ready to use for another recipe or project.

I highly recommend that you RUN to your nearest Food Lion store, grab a bag of Peppermint OREOs, and the other items needed to make these cookie balls, and then get to making! Your family will thank you, and your dessert will be the talk of the family gathering.

oreo cookie balls

Retro Baby #Book #Review #Sponsored

Sample Received

Disclaimer: This post is part of a campaign through RoleMommy. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

retro baby
As a mom of 7, I get asked all the time, “How can you afford all those kids?” My response every time is, “Kids aren’t expensive. STUFF is expensive.” So, when I found out about the book “Retro Baby” by Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, that had the words, “Cut back on all the gear and boost your baby’s development with more than 100 time-tested activities,” I knew I would love it.

And I was right!

Dr. Zachry takes readers through a baby’s first year of life. She details what items are really necessary for baby to have, and she lets you know which ones you can do without. Throughout the entire book, there are pages and pages of age-appropriate activities you can do with your little one to get her developing right on track. The best part? Every activity requires items you already have on hand, or don’t require any extra “gear” at all. That means those 100+ activities are free. Did you hear that? It won’t cost you a penny to help your child develop. Awesome.

Another feature of the book that I really like is that at each stage: Birth to 3 months, 4 to 6 months, and so on, she lists all of the developmental milestones you can expect your baby to display during that growth period. They are really right on target at each phase.

I am super impressed with this book, and it is the one book I believe every new (and experienced!) mom should have on hand. This should be the first book a woman reads after she finds out she’s pregnant, and it should be the one book she continue to come back to month after month once her baby is born. It is easy to read, full of information, and incredibly detailed without boring you or overstimulating your grown-up mind. :)

My youngest child, Carly, is now 9 months old. I tried all of the activities in the Retro Baby book with her, and she definitely has her favorite activities. She loves the “If the Hat Fits…” activity where we put the hat on and off her head and my head. She just laughs when either she or I knocks the hat off. I just love this age. I also get the other kids involved in the activities. I’ve noticed Carly (and my other younger children) learn best when they are watching their older siblings. This is a great way to get them all interacting with each other and having fun together.

I have absolutely enjoyed this book, and this will now be my must-give Baby Shower gift for any new moms-to-be. I am so impressed with the book, and I believe it should be in ever household.

To purchase your copy of Retro Baby, head on over to Amazon.com, where you can find it for $13.22 for paperback, or $9.99 for the Kindle version. It’s an excellent value, and the book is worth every penny!

Also, be sure to follow Dr. Zachry on Facebook and Twitter.

Check Out the Fotor Shape Collage #Sponsored #Review

Sponsored PostDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Fotor. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

It’s hard to find someone who loves photos as much as I do. I won’t tell you how many boxes of photos I have (from before the digital age) or how many external hard drives I have that are full of photographs of family, clients, nature, and just about anything else you can think of. (All family friendly, of course.)

That’s why I was so excited to learn about Fotor. Fotor is a free, online photo editing website.

For this review, they asked if I would try their online shape collage.

Oh my goodness! It is SO much fun to use, and it is by far the easiest online photo editor I have ever used. It literally took me less than 2 minutes to have this image saved to my computer:

heart collage

And I had so much fun making that collage that I decided to create another photo collage with my favorite fall photos from this year:

photo collage

Isn’t that fantastic? I just love it! And it was so easy to create. Then, once I was done creating, I could decide if I wanted to save it to my computer or if I wanted to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media networks. I saved it to my computer, and then I decided to share it with all my Facebook friends. (You can see the Facebook post here: Sharing on Facebook.)

I am really impressed with the Fotor Photo Editor, and I cannot get over how quick and easy it is to use! In moments, I had exactly what I wanted saved to my computer. I just love it! Even uploading the photos only took a few minutes. I didn’t use huge files, but it still seemed to move super fast!

Another great feature of the photo editor is that you don’t have to be a graphic design artist to make it work. They have all the templates and layouts you need to create until the end of time! You’ll never run out of ways to share your photos!

The best part about Fotor? It’s completely free to use! LOVE that!

If you love sharing your photos with the world, and if you love being creative, I highly recommend you check out the Fotor website. Your friends and family will love seeing what you come up with.

Have you tried Fotor? Do you love it as much as I do?

#Sponsored Duracell Quantum Batteries Keep Us Going! #MC #Review

Sample ReceivedDisclaimer: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Duracell. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

duracell quantum

There are times when I feel like my entire life runs on batteries. With 7 kids, and enough toys for 7 kids, we have so many toys that require batteries. And then there are all the other items in the house: the smoke detectors, the flashlights, the tv and DVD remotes, (all 12 of them!), the back-up batteries for the alarm clocks, the wall clock… oh my goodness, the list just goes on and on and on.

just a few toys

I need a battery that I can depend on, and I’m so lucky to have found Duracell’s new Quantum batteries. I have yet to find an alkaline battery that lasts longer in all of our toys and electronics. Each Duracell Quantum battery has a Hi-Density Core that stores more power than ever, as well as a PowerCheck power indicator on the cell, so I know exactly when we’re getting close to time to change the batteries. (It’s also great at keeping me from changing the batteries too soon. I know exactly how much power is left, so absolutely nothing gets wasted.)

Another great feature is the Duracell DURALOCK Power Preserve technology. This amazing technology locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. Again, nothing wasted. I *love* that.

I have tested out the Quantum Batteries in both high-drain and low-drain devices, and it works great in either. I’m pretty sure these batteries will last almost forever in some of my low drain items. (Not really forever, but pretty close!)

I want to also make sure my readers know about the Duracell Quantum Heroes campaign. All across North America, First Responders use batteries in critical devices that can help save lives or keep us safe – in a life-saving breathing apparatus, flashlights and even location tracking devices. Many first responders also give out batteries to their communities as part of different safety programs.

If there’s anyone that deserves the best batteries available, it’s these first responders. Right now, Duracell is donating one million Duracell Quantum batteries to these first responders. They are putting Quantum Power in the hands of Quantum Heroes – the ones who go beyond just the call of duty.

To celebrate our nation’s first responders, Duracell is telling stories of sacrifice and heroism with a documentary-style videoseries called “Quantum Heroes.” You can view these videos at YouTube.com/Duracell. You can also join in with Duracell and share your own first responders on Twitter and Facebook. Just use the hashtag #MyQuantumHero.

The next time you go shopping for batteries, be sure to grab a pack of Duracell Quantum batteries. They’re the red batteries you’ll see on the shelf. Their fabulous red color symbolizes the power of the Hi-density core and sets them apart from all the other batteries.

And before you head out to do your shopping, be sure to connect with Duracell in the following ways:

I am super impressed with the quality and power of new Duracell Quantum batteries, and we’ve made the switch to them in our house. I am even more impressed, though, with the dedication and support Duracell is giving our first responders. These men and women deserve the very best, and I’m so glad Duracell is taking the steps to give it to them. I hope to see you all participating in the #MyQuantumHero campaign and share stories of your own heroes.

#ReadwithMeScout Makes Reading Fun! #Sponsored #Review

Sample ReceivedDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Leap Frog through Mom Select. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Read with Me Scout

“Scout” is a familiar name around the Vinez House. My friend purchased My Pal Scout for Parker when he was a baby. Parker slept with him every night until Gage was about 6 months old, and then Parker passed Scout down to him. Scout quickly became a part of Gage’s bedtime ritual. For 2 years, he couldn’t go to be without Scout in his crib next to him, and the bedtime music playing. A few weeks ago, we moved Gage out of his crib and into a toddler bed so that Carly could have the crib. I expected Gage to bring Scout with him into his new bed, but he didn’t. He wanted to leave Scout in the crib for Carly. And I’m pretty sure I know why…

Scout has been replaced… by Read with Me Scout. Gage doesn’t go anywhere without him. I think that Gage associates the other Scout with bedtime and being in the crib. But Read with Me Scout is different. He interacts with Gage, reads him stories, and Gage absolutely adores him.

Gage & Scout

Read with Me Scout comes with 5 illustrated books that make reading fun. He also asks more than 70 different comprehension questions, and it’s so neat to see Gage try to come up with the answers. In the few weeks we’ve had this toy, I’ve seen Gage grow and learn so much.

Another great feature of Read with Me Scout is the Sleepy Time feature. Gage can listen to a bedtime story and then 8 minutes of bedtime music. Again, Scout is a part of his bedtime routine, but in a different way than before.

We have had one issue with Read with Me Scout, and it’s that his buttons are really, really sensitive. There are times when Gage can’t listen to a story because Gage has him pressed up against himself, and Read with Me Scout keeps thinking that Gage is “kissing” his cheek. We hear “You’re so sweet” over and over again, and all Gage wants to do is read. When that happens, I move Read with Me Scout a few inches away from Gage, and let him finish the story that way. But, Gage doesn’t like him to be away from his side, so it usually takes us half an hour to get through one little book.

I do love that Gage is learning the process of reading through Read with Me Scout. Scout will ask Gage to pat his (Scout’s) head when he’s ready to turn the page. That’s teaching Gage how to turn pages and how reading works. And the colored books and matching buttons on Read with Me Scout’s collar always ensure that Gage understands which button to push to get Scout to read the book he wants.

Overall, I have found Read with Me Scout to be an excellent addition into our learning toys. Gage absolutely loves him, and I love that Gage often wants to sit down and have Scout read to him. It keeps the TV off and the learning ON! The sensitive buttons are a little annoying, but I will more than put up with it to see how happy it makes Gage to have a new little buddy.

I would recommend Read with Me Scout to any family with children between the ages of 2 and 5, especially if learning is important in your child’s playtime.

I also want to encourage you to interact with Leap Frog in the following ways: