Quick & Easy #Halloween Decoration (DIY Project)

I love Halloween.

Let me be more specific. I love certain aspects of Halloween.

I don’t love skeletons. Or zombies. Or blood. Or guts. Or demons. Or any such aspect of Halloween.

I do, however, love candy and pumpkins, caramel apples, and cutesy stuff.

So, when it comes to Halloween decor, I tend to go with a more “Fall” feel than Halloween per say.

There is this one exception, though…. and that’s Footprint Ghosts. I find them absolutely adorable, and I love watching how the kids’ feet grow from year to year.

Here was this year’s project:

11x14 sample footprint ghosts

Isn’t that adorable? Those are Gage, Carly, and Sawyer’s feet.

And here is Carly’s board from last year:

8x10 sample footprint ghosts

Want to make one yourself? It’s super easy, and you may already have everything on hand!

Here’s what you’ll need:

items needed for footprint ghosts

Supplies Needed:

  • 11×14 (or 8×10) canvas board painted black
  • White acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Orange puffy paint
  • Paint brushes (one for painting baby’s feet, one for smaller detail)
  • White ribbon (or lace – whatever your preference)
  • Glue (I use E600, because I hang mine on my front door and want it to be weatherproof. You can also use hot glue.)

Directions

  • Paint baby’s foot (or feet, depending on the size of your board and the size of your child’s foot) and make foot prints on the canvas board you’ve already painted black. Remember that the toes will be the bottom of the ghost, and place the footprints strategically on the board to make it look like the ghosts are “floating.” Allow to dry.
  • Using the small detail brush, paint circles for the ghosts’ eyes and mouth. (If you look closely, you’ll see that I even added eyelashes to Carly’s ghost in last year’s project.) Let dry.
  • Using the orange puffy paint, hand write the words “Trick or Treat” and “Smell my Feet.” Allow to dry.
  • Now, all that’s left is how you’ll hang it. For last year’s project, (the 8×10 canvas), I simply used a piece of white satin ribbon approximately 6 inches long. Just glue the ribbon to the back of the board, and allow to dry. For this year’s project, I wanted something more. I glued strips of lace on each side of the board, and then used a long strip of lace (approximately 12 inches) to hang it. For both projects, I used E6000 glue, but you can also use hot glue if these will be displayed inside.

Once everything is dry, simply hang to display and enjoy!

I did make sure to write each child’s name and age on the back of the boards so that I can immediately remember the details from that year’s pictures.

If you make one, I’d love for you to share it!

Happy Halloween!

#MC #Sponsored: #BabyMantra Makes Bath Time Better {@BabyMantra Review}

sampleDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Baby Mantra. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

baby mantra products

As you all know, I recently gave birth to a precious baby boy. With my last baby, I decided to switch to more natural products – more organic foods, “green” cleaning products, and pure and natural bath products.

When I heard about Baby Mantra products, I got excited, and definitely wanted to give them a try.

sawyer_babymantra

Sawyer does *not* like bath time. At all. As you can clearly see. Because of that, I have to make bath time as quick and easy as possible, so we can get to his favorite part – the lotion rub he gets after his bath.

carly_babymantra

Since I have to be so fast with bath time, it’s important to me that the products be all natural, and come off completely and easily. I don’t want the products to sting his eyes when I pour the cup of water over his head to rinse him off.

I am SO impressed with the Baby Mantra Newborn Shampoo + Body Wash with coconut and olive oil. This washes off better than most other products I’ve tried. I also use it as a shampoo for Carly, and I love how easily I can brush her little curls after her bath. She might not have much hair, but that puff of curls she has on the back of her head gets easily tangled and it can hurt her tender head when I comb through her hair. The coconut oil makes the comb glide through her hair.

I also received the following items for review, and want to share my thoughts on each product:

  • Baby Mantra 3-in-1 Bubble Bath, Shampoo, and Wash – I love, love, love everything about this product! I love the smell, I love that it makes tons and tons of bubbles with just a few drops, and I love the fact that it’s perfect for kids with sensitive skin. This is the only product I will use on Gage, and I can’t believe the difference in his skin. It’s not nearly as rough and bumpy as it has been, but it’s soft and smooth. I can’t think of one thing I would change about this product. It really is fantastic.
  • Baby Mantra Detangling Conditioner with Coconut and Lavender Oil – This conditioner works great on Lucy’s thick hair. I’ve had to use conditioner on her hair since she was very little, and finding an all natural conditioner that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg can be difficult. That’s why I love this conditioner so much. It’s gentle, but it works great at getting the tangles out.
  • Baby Mantra Calming Lotion with Shea Butter and Lavender Oil – This is Sawyer’s favorite part of the bath time routine… getting a gentle rub with a lotion that smell good. The lotion keeps Sawyer’s skin so soft from bath to bath. It smells so good, and I swear that it helps my husband sleep at night. ;) (Sawyer sleeps between us, and I think breathing the smell of that lotion makes him sleep better.)
  • Baby Mantra Calming Massage Oil with Apricot and Avocado Oil – This. Smells. AMAZING. Absolutely amazing. I’ve only used it a couple of times, mostly because I forget about it and remember after I’ve already put the lotion on him. But the few times I have used it, we absolutely love it. I can’t say that it helps him sleep, because he is not a good night time sleeper, but it does immediately calm him down after getting out of the water. And did I mention that it smells absolutely amazing?!

gage_babymantraThere’s quite a unique story behind Baby Mantra products. Baby Mantra was created by two sisters that wanted to provide safe and ecologically sound skincare with the world. All of their skincare products are certified natural, cruelty-free and gluten free. The brand offers products that are environmentally conscious from ingredients to their packaging, and are all inspired by all-natural home-based remedies. Each product is made in the US.

Please take a moment to learn more about the natural ingredients Baby Mantra uses in their skincare line. You can find full details about every ingredient in their product by clicking here: Baby Mantra Ingredients. It’s wonderful using products where I don’t have to worry about if my children with sensitive skin will have a reaction or if I’m using products with ingredients that contain products that could harm my child or our environment. Baby Mantra has taken the worry out of bath time.

Baby Mantra products are available at the following locations:

I also want to encourage you to interact with the Baby Mantra brand in the following ways:

 

I’m really impressed with Baby Mantra products, and will continue to use them on my children. I’m thankful that someone took the initiative to make great products that are safe for my babies and safe for our world.

#MC #Sponsored: It’s @Huggies Little Snugglers for My Squishy Newborn

sampleDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Huggies & Target. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

newborn baby

As some of you know, on September 9th, we welcomed our 8th little blessing into the world.

Sawyer came into the world like a champ after just a few hours of being on pitocin. He was healthy, with 10 tiny fingers, 10 tiny toes, and the sweetest little cheeks I’ve ever seen.

huggies little snugglers

A few weeks before Sawyer was born, hubby and I had to take a trip down to Atlanta with Gage. Of course, one of our first stops after Gage’s appointment had to be Target. I love any opportunity I have to go into Target, and I wanted to make sure we had stocked up on Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers for our impending bundle of joy.

We hadn’t been in this Target for quite some time, and I couldn’t remember exactly where the Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers were located in the store. Naturally, I headed to the baby department, but wouldn’t you know it? There wasn’t a single pack or box of diapers to be found in the entire baby department. I did, however, find lots of cute little items that I would have added to our Target Baby Registry – if we had had one this time around. Target has my favorite items for new babies from cribs to toys, and blankets to clothes. I could have spent all day shopping for our new little guy, but I was on a mission. I needed Huggies Little Snugglers diapers. We finally found the diapers in between the grocery side of the store and the retail side, near the pharmacy. It seemed like an odd place for diapers to me, but I guess it was their way of putting the diapers where people could get them if they were just coming in for groceries. I still think I’d put a smaller selection over in the baby department, though, just because that’s the first place most people think to go to get diapers. But, once we found them, we found exactly what we needed and we were able to score a fantastic supply of Huggies Little Snugglers for Sawyer.

And I’m so glad we did!

new baby in huggies

The day Sawyer was born, the nurses got him all cleaned up and handed him back to me. But, I noticed something was wrong. He wasn’t wearing a Huggies Little Snugglers diaper. I am incredibly picky about what newborn diapers I put on my baby, and I really prefer Huggies over anything else at this stage. There are several reasons why:

  • The umbilical cord cut-out that is on each diaper. No folding down diapers around those precious little belly buttons that still have the cord on them.
  • The new GentleAbsorb* liner adds a soft, cushiony layer of protection with hundreds of tiny absorbent pillows. It draws the mess and wetness away from delicate newborn skin.
  • These diapers are cottony-soft inside and out, so I know Sawyer is comfy day and night.
  • The wetness indicator helps me keep a fast eye on when he needs changed, and how often I need to change him… which is crucial those first few days.
  • The flexible, pocketed back waistband helps keep the mess contained in the diaper. No newborn blow-outs for us!
  • The unique, stretchy SnufFit* Waistband provides a gentle, secure fit, keeping Sawyer happy and making Mommy happy too!

I will have you know, I sent hubby home that afternoon and made him come back with a pack of Huggies Little Snugglers for our little guy to use while he was in the hospital.

New Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers are available in grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide. They are available in 5 sizes – Preemie (up to 6 pounds) through size 3 (16 – 28 pounds), and have a suggested retail price of $11.99 for a Jumbo Pack and $22.99 for a Big Pack. (Remember that diaper count varies based on diaper size.)

sawyer in huggies

I also want to make sure you’re aware of the Huggies Sweeps that gives you the chance to win free diapers for a year just by registering your Wish! What wish would you register for? Have a special family member that you wish could be present for the birth? Need a new crib? Maybe you want one last night on the town before the new baby makes his appearance? Personally, I want a nursery makeover. With 5 boys in one room, I could use some help getting things arranged and decorated in a way that spans the ages newborn to 11. (We’re thinking a pirate theme!)

Head on over to the Huggies website and register your wish. Then, head to your local Target store, start your baby registry, and be sure to add lots of Huggies Little Snugglers!

#Sponsored: The @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is HERE! Go Pre-Order Now!

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Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s here! It’s here! The big day has finally arrived! The LeapFrog LeapTV Gaming Console is finally available for pre-sale! I am so excited!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the LeapFrog website and order your LeapTV Gaming Console today!

Still have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, I’ve been giving you little teasers for the past couple of weeks. You can read them here and here.

Now, I want to leave you with one last video to encourage you to consider the LeapTV System for your family. It’s a chance to get your kids to move their minds and their bodies. Here, take a look:

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Looks like fun to me!! Head on over NOW and reserve your very own LeapFrog LeapTV System today!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Don’t Forget! @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is Almost Ready for PreOrder!

sponsored
Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

Remember last week when I mentioned that the LeapTV System is about to be released for Pre-Sale? I just want to remind you that the big day is almost here!

The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014.  On that day, you can head to the LeapFrog website, and order your very own LeapTV Gaming Console. It’s as easy as that! It’s created for kids ages 3 – 8 years, and it’s educational and downright FUN!

You saw the video last week. Now, here’s a new video to let you in on more information about the LeapTV system:


Direct Link to Video on YouTube

SO exciting! Your kids are going to love this! I certainly know mine will. It looks like such a fun, easy way to get my kids learning while playing. I’m all for that!

Remember, the big day is September 2nd. Be ready to order your own LeapTV Gaming Console then!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Get Ready for the New @LeapFrog #LeapTV System – Coming Soon!

sponsored
Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s no secret, I love LeapFrog products! I’ve been a fan of their educational items for years. In fact, if you’ve been here recently, you’ll note that I just recently had the opportunity to review the LeapPad3.

Now, LeapFrog has asked me to tell my wonderful readers about an amazing new product they will be releasing soon. It’s called the LeapTV Gaming Console, and friends, you *must* check this out! It’s educational, active video gaming. It doesn’t get more fun than this! Over the next couple of weeks, I will be giving you more information, release dates and all the need-to-know info. I will let you in on a little secret… The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014. That’s just around the corner, and this would make one amazing Christmas gift! Get ready to order yours soon!

For now, I want to generate a little excitement and share this video with you. Check out the LeapFrog “Child Executive Officer” and learn more about this fantastic video gaming system:

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

I am SO excited about the release of this product, and it sounds like something my kids will thoroughly enjoy. I’m all about the kids having fun, but when they are learning while playing, it makes playtime even better.

Thank you, LeapFrog for continually making toys and games better for my kids!

Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: #TGIBTS with @FruitoftheLoom #Walmart #Giveaway

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Fruit of the Loom. They provided me with a $75 Walmart Gift Card to help with my Back to School Shopping, and will also provide a gift card to one randomly chosen winner. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own, and have not been influenced in any way.

backtoschool

Thank Goodness it’s BACK TO SCHOOL!

If you’re like me, you are ready to send your kids back to school. Of course, my kids started really, really early this year, (August FIRST!), so I wasn’t quite as ready as I thought I would be. I had 5 that are in school this year, so that meant purchasing enough supplies to make lots (and lots!) of teachers happy.

fruit of the loomSending 5 kids back to school has its ups and downs. My oldest is starting her Junior year of high school this year, and I’ve also got one in the middle school, (6th grade), one in the elementary school, (4th grade), and two in the primary school (2nd grade and kindergarten). My kindergartener has been SO excited all summer long that he has asked every single day, “How many more days until school starts?” Now that we’re over 2 weeks into the school year, he still comes home every single day beaming and anxious to tell me all about everything he did that day. I wish all my kids were as eager and excited as he is about school things!

This year for our back to school shopping, I opted not to take all of the kids shopping with me. Last year was exhausting and stressful. And, this year, since I’m pregnant and ready to pop, I just couldn’t handle the thought of all 7 kids in Walmart picking out school supplies. :) So, this year, I just took the two oldest girls. They are my shoppers, and I knew that the three of us could get everything we need and be done in record time.

Aside from the normal school supplies like paper, pencils, markers, and the like, the kids also desperately needed other items that help them feel confident and powerful… things like new socks and underwear! With 7 kids, I need a good value, and I need to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. That’s why I love the deals I score with the Fruit of the Loom bonus packs.

bonus packsThe Fruit of the Loom bonus packs offer 3 extra items in each package, and they are available in boys and girls sizes, as well as mens and womens sizes for the teens, (like my daughter), who have outgrown the children’s sizes. The best part? All of the bonus packs are available at your local Walmart.

One thing I love is that Walmart makes it SO easy to find the bonus packs. Yes, of course you can find the bonus packs in the aisles with all of the other socks and underwear. But, you can also find some displays set up throughout the store to make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. I love when I can instantly find exactly what I want without walking all over the store. And when those items are on rollback, or even cheaper than I expected, it makes my entire trip even better.

Thank you, Fruit of the Loom, for making our Back to School shopping a pleasure again this year! My kids are thrilled with all of their new underwear, socks, and all of the school supplies they were able to get again this year – thanks to you!

To my readers, I hope that you’ll take a moment to connect with Fruit of the Loom in the following ways:

Fruit of the Loom wants to help you with your own Back to School Shopping again this year. Use the rafflecopter gadget below to enter to win a $75 Walmart Gift card and make your shopping even more fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Sponsored: Check Out the New #LeapFrog #LeapPad3

sampleDisclaimer: I received a LeapPad3 from LeapFrog in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

leappad3

I have been a fan of LeapFrog for as long as I can remember. The wide range of educational products they offer for children makes this mama very happy. But, not only that, it makes my kids happy too! They love playing games and reading books, all the while, they’re learning and expanding their little minds.

About the LeapPad3

The LeapPad3 is packed with learning, and bursting with fun. It offers personalized learning for each child. Games and books adjust automatically to the level of learning your child needs as they progress, offering just the right challenge.

The LeapPad is Kid Safe *and* Kid Tough. Boasting kid-safe web content, created by LeapFrog learning experts, and offering a kid-tough design, products don’t get much better than this for kids.

Parental Controls allow you to decide exactly what your children can (and cannot!) access.

Includes the following: 5″ screen, 4GB of Memory, Rechargeable Battery, Parental Controls, Two Cameras and Video Recorders.

Our Review of the LeapPad3

Where do I even start with this product? I absolutely love everything about it. Let me tell you why…leappad3_2

First, I LOVE the age range of kids that can use this product. I can set it up for my 3 year old, my almost 6 year old, and my almost 8 year old. They all love playing it, and it adapts the right games and apps to whatever child is signed in. Everyone is happy, and they’re all more than willing to sit and watch each other take their turn.

I love that it offers 4GB of memory. That’s plenty of space to make sure each of the kids have several apps and/or books available to them.

The 5″ screen is perfect for little hands, but is still easy to read, see, and use no matter which child is playing.

The rechargeable battery means I’m not buying batteries and replacing them every day. I just plug it in and the battery offers several hours of intense play and learning.

My kids love the camera and video recorders. You would not believe how many pictures and videos we have stored on our LeapPad3. Some of them are downright hysterical. But I do love being able to see the world through the eyes of a 3 year old. The things that are important to him now make me smile. :)

I also love that it works with both cartridges and downloadable apps. And it works with many of the cartridges we already have on hand. The kids can still read their favorite books and play their favorite games.

At around $100, it’s very reasonably priced for a birthday or Christmas gift for your child.

Overall, I am *very* impressed with the LeapPad3, and it has made the perfect addition to our LeapFrog learning toys. My kids love “playing” with it, and I love how much they learn every time they get on it.

Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Tips and Tricks to Make Breastfeeding Easier

sampleDisclaimer: I received a breastpump from Evenflo in order to facilitate my review and in return for sharing these tips and tricks with you. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

breast pump

As you may know, I am just a few weeks away from giving birth to baby #8. Breastfeeding is an important topic to me, and while I don’t talk about it too often, I always look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you on the subject.

Recently, I was asked if I would share some Breastfeeding Tips, Tricks, and Myths from renowned lactation consultant and Registered Nurse Shari Criso.

I hope these will help encourage you in your breastfeeding journey. I’ve breastfed 6 of my 7 kids, and plan to breastfeed #8 for as long as I can. As always, if I can ever be of any help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Shari Criso’s Top 3 Breastfeeding Tips

  • Tip #1: Become as knowledgeable and educated as possible about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. Trying to wing it after the baby comes or rely on the staff at the hospital to teach you could be a disaster and the reason why breastfeeding was not successful.
  • Tip #2: Purchase what you will need to makebreastfeeding more comfortable and easier especially in the first few weeks when you are first adjusting and it is usually the most difficult time.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this, but assume that you WILL be successful and get what you need. You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost, since your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep.  I like the Evenflo® Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: $99.99-$159.99
  • Tip #3:  Make sure you are surrounded with support. One of the biggest challenges and reasons for moms not having the success that they want with breastfeeding is not getting the support from the people around them.  Get your partner on board with education and information. A supportive partner is one of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding success. Find friends and other breastfeeding moms who were successful to speak to and line up a lactation consultant before you deliver so you can reach out for help as soon as you need it.

Next, Shari tackles some of the top breastfeeding myths…

Shari Criso’s Top Breastfeeding Myths:

  • Myth #1: A large percentage of our population just can’t make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
    Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a “perceived” low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
  • Myth #2: That if your mom or sister couldn’t breastfeed, that you won’t be able to breastfeed as well.
    Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on…were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies ability to make enough milk.
  • Myth #3:  That you have to have the perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
    Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc. were major factors in your body’s ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good “quality” milk.  A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most extreme cases.
  • Myth #4:  Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
    Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit.  Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.

I also want to give you a few of Shari’s favorite items to help encourage breastfeeding and maybe even make it a little easier on you.

Shari Criso’s Must-Have Products to Make Breastfeeding Easier

  • Bravado Designs Ultra Comfort Nursing Camisole: $34.99
    www.babiesrus.com
    Easy to wear while pregnant or nursing your new baby. Wire-free, seam-free, and has a long silhouette.

I hope some of these tips, tricks, busted myths, and products help you. I know the thought of breastfeeding for the first time (or the 7th time!), can be stressful, but it every second of doubt or worry you might have now will be gone the moment your baby is in your arms, snuggled up to your chest.

My Review of the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump

While I can’t really review the pump yet… I have been doing my research on breast pumps, and the Evenflo pump had become the clear winner even before I received it for review. I honestly cannot wait to start using this pump. I’m praying it will help me build up a great stash in the freezer so that family and friends can help with feeding.

Since I can’t review it yet, I want to give you some of the features of this pump and why it made the top of my list:

  • 32 settings for optimal control.That is a LOT of settings! That means you’re much more likely to get the suction you need at any given time.
  • 3 assorted flange sizes for different sized moms. None of those “one size fits all” that don’t really fit all. Ensures a comfortable fit no matter what your cup size.
  • Hygienic, closed pumping system. This prevents milk from backing up into the system and tainting the milk or ruining the pump.
  • Plug in or battery powered. Makes it great for on the go or pumping at home or at work.
  • Converts to single pump use easily. For those times when you might need to pump on one side while feeding on the other, or to prevent engorgement
  • PerfectPosition designed for slouch free pumping. Great for when comfort is of the utmost importance.
  • Includes drawstring wet parts bag and access to “Simply Breastfeeding” and “Breast Pumps & Briefcases” educational programs. I haven’t found any other pump that includes such fabulous breastfeeding material to encourage breastfeeding mothers. I love it! And the bag is great for taking it on the go.

Just a few more weeks, and I’ll finally be able to put this pump to good use! I can’t wait! So many fabulous features, and I’m looking forward to putting it to the test.

What Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks have helped YOU most?

#Sponsored: Does Your Sunscreen Make the Grade? @CoppertoneUSA

sampleDisclaimer: I received samples from Coppertone in order to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

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It’s summertime. And that means lots and lots of fun in the sun.

But does your sunscreen make the grade? For the second year in a row, Coppertone has launched their Making the Sunscreen Grade program, This unique program provides parents with the tools and resources they need to protect their children from the sun.

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For this review, Coppertone sent me samples of two of their children’s sunscreen products:

  • Coppertone WaterBABIES Pure & Simple Lotion.
  • Coppertone Kids Tear-Free Lotion.

coppertone_04The Coppertone WaterBABIES Pure & Simple SPF 50 Lotion is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand. It’s Hypoallergenic and gentle with a tear-free zinc oxide formula. I also love that it is oil, fragrance, and dye free and perfect for Carly’s ultra-sensitive skin. Its moisturizing formula created with aloe helps prevent dryness and keeps Carly’s skin soft and smooth. And since we finally got Carly interested in the water, I love that it’s water resistant for 80 minutes and provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It’s perfect for tossing in the diaper bag and heading to the beach, the park, or anywhere else the fun takes you this summer.

The Coppertone Kids Tear-Free SPF 50 Lotion is perfect for the bigger kids – and even for Mom & Dad! Much like the WaterBABIES formula, this ultra gentle formula won’t sting or irritate eyes. It provides UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection in a gentle oil, fragrance, and dye free formula. It’s also water resistant for 80 minutes, so the kids don’t have to come out of the water every 20 minutes to get another layer of sunscreen protection put on.

We took the lotions to our favorite summer hangout: our local lake. We spent all day in and out of the water. The time before this when we went, I was really good about putting sunscreen on the kids. None of them got burned at all. But, not once, did I think about applying it to myself. I ended up with the worst sunburn I have had in a very long time. This time, however, I applied the sunscreen to each of the kids, and then I used the Coppertone Kids Tear-Free Lotion on myself. Every time the kids got an application, I did too. Guess what? I didn’t get sunburned at all, and it actually helped to moisturize the places where I was peeling from my last time in the sun.

I love that the lotion goes on so easily. It’s not greasy and rubs right in. I even noticed that it didn’t make the kids’ hair greasy when I rubbed it all over their scalp. There were no tears, no fussing, and no fighting each time I applied the sunscreen to all 6 of the younger kids. I am seriously impressed at how well it worked at keeping the kids safe from the sun, and it was wonderful to come home with no one being sunburned.

Check out the entire Coppertone line of products and stock up for all your family adventures this summer.

Then, also be sure to connect with Coppertone in the following ways:

So, where will YOU take your Coppertone this summer?

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#Sponsored: It’s a #TelefloraGiveaway to Celebrate a Birthday or Anniversary

sponsored
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post thanks to Teleflora.

teleflora giveaway

Some of you may, or may not know, that this coming Thursday, July 3rd, is my birthday. I’ll officially be old. :/ But, what better way to celebrate (and make me feel better!) than with a beautiful bouquet of birthday flowers from Teleflora?!

I’ve been browsing the Teleflora website, and they really have some of the prettiest birthday themed floral arrangements I have ever seen. I would be thrilled if my hubby surprised me with any of these gorgeous arrangements:

Can you tell that I love daisies and sunflowers? :) I can’t get over how many beautiful options there are to celebrate the birthday of someone you love.

If hubby doesn’t get me flowers for my birthday, there’s always our anniversary! This September, he and I will celebrate 12 years of wedded bliss. And since I will be 39 weeks pregnant by the time our anniversary rolls around, I won’t feel like doing much of anything. That’s why flowers would make the perfect gift!

Here are some of my favorite anniversary flowers available from Teleflora:

Are you sensing a theme? I have always loved Sapphires, but with our anniversary being in September, I’ve come to love it even more. And that middle arrangement is just too unique and too beautiful not to share!

What birthdays and/or anniversaries do you have coming up this summer that you want to celebrate? Is there a Teleflora bouquet that jumps out as a “must give” gift to the one you love? Want to start shopping right now and save 20%? Enter code JULYUC at check out or click this link to start shopping with the code already applied: 20% off flowers. (Coupon code is valid until 10/16/14.)

I also want to encourage you to get to get to know Teleflora by following their social media accounts:

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This Summer, Teleflora wants to make an event extra special for one lucky Blessed Beyond Words reader. You can win a $75 Teleflora Gift Card and spoil someone you love  – or yourself! – for a birthday, anniversary, or other special event. Giveaway will end on August 1st at 12:00am. Please use the Rafflecopter gadget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be emailed on August 1st with their own unique one-time-use code for $75 to use on Teleflora.com. (The service fee is waived for your purchase.) If you want to spend more than $75, just pay any cost that goes over your $75 gift code on your order.

#MC #Sponsored: BGCA Keeps Kids #CyberSafe with the #CyberTribe

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I will admit, I am a little more than protective when it comes to my kids and the internet. There is so much BAD out there, that I want to protect their innocent eyes for as long as I can.

Now, I am not dumb. I know that with technology today, it is easier than ever for kids to access the internet, and get involved in all sorts of situations that could potentially be scary.

Even when I was a teenager, the internet wasn’t the best place to “hang out.” Back then, it was chat rooms. I will never forget when I was 16, and I met a guy in a chat room. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and I was young and vulnerable. This guy knew all the right things to say to make me feel better, and I fell for it – hook, line, and sinker. I ended up making plans to meet this guy, all without my parents’ knowledge. I told my parents I was meeting a friend that night, and instead, I met this stranger from online. When I got to the park where I was to meet him, there was a man there – probably in his early 30s. Definitely NOT the guy I had seen pictures of online, and not who I was intending to meet. As I drew closer to him, I noticed he had printed out my picture and was holding it in his hands. So, he was the guy I had been talking to all along. Not the 16 year old boy I thought it was.

Everything inside me was telling me to run, and so I did. Straight to my car, and I drove to my friend’s house, because I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do. I couldn’t go home and confess to my parents what I had just done. I knew it was stupid. I knew my life could have been in danger that night. And, looking back now, as a mom myself, I want to bang my head against a wall. That was probably one of the stupidest things I have ever done in my life. Thank God I was smart enough to get out of there. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.

I wish that back then, we had had something like the BGCA CyberTribe. A safe place for kids to go to ask teens questions about online safety and bullying and get real answers. It’s also a fantastic resource for parents! In fact, I encourage you as a parent to take the “Are You a CyberSmart Parent?” quiz and see how your answers stack up. I ended up being a Cyber Survivor, and proving that I am doing my best to keep my kids safe while they are online.

I also encourage you to ask the CyberTribe any questions you may have about online safety and/or cyber bullying.

You can find the quizzes and ask your questions on the Boys & Girls Club of America’s Cyber Safe Website. All in all, it’s a great site that *every* parent needs to explore. Our kids are worth it!

Here are the two questions I asked the CyberTribe:

1. With easy access to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kids can access things they shouldn’t at any time – day or night. How can I protect my kids from seeing something they shouldn’t see if they click on an ad while playing a free version game on my cell phone?

2. I often feel like the “bad guy” because I won’t let my kids have a social media account until they’re old enough. I constantly hear, “But ALL my friends have one.” What can I say to convince my kids that it’s better for them to wait until they’re ready for an account instead of just giving in and letting them have an account?

I’m excited to see how the CyberTribe responds. I want to do right by my kids. I want to keep them safe while they are online, and I want them to always think before they post anything. This is something we will continue to talk about at length, especially given the number of kids I have!

Also, remember, that through today, June 30th, you also have the chance to win an ipad mini AND $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice. But, hurry! Your chance goes away at midnight tonight! So, get your questions in!

How about you? How important is online safety to you? Have you ever had an experience where you or your child should have taken better precautions online? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

#Sponsored: Win a Family Vacation Package & #StayCool with Old Orchard

sampleDisclaimer: I received samples of the new Old Orchard Lemonade flavors in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced. I have not been compensated in any other way for this post. Giveaway coupons provided by Old Orchard Brands.

There is a giveaway included in this post for FREE Old Orchard products. Be sure to read to the very end!!

It’s officially summertime. And in summertime, there’s one drink that I think of most: a cool, refreshing glass of Lemonade. I absolutely love lemonade, and it goes great with any meal or any summertime activity.

country style lemonadeMy Review

For this review, Old Orchard sent me samples of two of their new Naturally Sweetened lemonade flavors: Country Style Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade. I will admit, I was skeptical. I love lemonade, but it has to be homemade lemonade. My mother in law makes the absolute best lemonade I’ve ever had. It tastes like it came from a county fair.

Imagine when my surprise when I took a big gulp of the Country Style Lemonade and it tasted just like my mother in law’s lemonade! I didn’t think it was possible! But, now I’ve got a new obsession. I can’t get enough of this lemonade, and I have it with every meal. :) I also tried the Strawberry lemonade, and it was good, I’m just not a fan of any other flavors in my lemonade. I just want tart, make your mouth pucker lemons. My husband, however, is a huge fan of the Strawberry lemonade, and he’s come home from work with a bottle of it every night this week so far. (The joys of working at a grocery store, I guess. You have access to all the good stuff the entire time you’re there!)

We’ve found a new staple for our fridge, and I can guarantee we’ll be stocked full of Old Orchard Lemonade this summer!

#StayCool Summer Video Contest

I also want to make sure you’ve heard about the #StayCool Summer Video Contest Old Orchard is hosting. Old Orchard wants YOUR videos that capture the essence of “staying cool.” In return, you could win prizes that range from free Old Orchard Brands fruit juice to a chance to win one of two summer getaway vacation packages valued at $2,500 each.

strawberry lemonadeNow through July 31st, you can find the contest at OldOrchard.com/staycool.

To enter the #StayCool Summer contest, all you have to do is upload a short video (30 seconds or less) on the contest website or on Facebook at facebook.com/OldOrchard that demonstrates how YOU stay “cool” during the summer. It could be how you cool off, how you keep in style. Get creative! You can only upload one video per day, but you can submit new videos every day for more chances to win. You can also upload your videos directly from your handset device, so you don’t have to worry about any third party video hosting. To put it simply, point, shoot, and upload your cool summer moment for a chance to win BIG!

One Grand Prize winner will be selected by popular vote, and the other by a panel of Old Orchard Brands judges. Each grand prize winner will receive a $2,500 summer vacation getaway. The top 25 most popular entries (by vote) will receive a summer prize kit including free Old Orchard juice.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over and enter today!

Also, be sure to connect with Old Orchard in the following ways:

Enter Here to win FREE coupons from Old Orchard

But, wait – before you go, leave me a comment and tell me which flavor of Old Orchard Lemonade you want to try first. (Country Style or Strawberry.) By doing so, you’ll be entered to win a coupon to try out the new Old Orchard Lemonade flavors. (You may leave one comment per day from now until the end of the contest.)

At the end of the giveaway, I’ll select 5 lucky winners and send them each a full value coupon!

Giveaway will end July 18th @ 12:01am, and this post will be edited to include the winners.

*One comment per reader per day. Winners can receive more than one coupon if their comment numbers are selected. US entrants only, please.

And the winners are….

oldorchardwinners

#6 – Janice F.
#4 – Rebecca P.
#9 – Candie L.
#2 – Cheryl F.
#1 – Natalie V.

#Sponsored: Seeing Isn’t Always Believing! Have a #FoodSafe4th This Year

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post was made possible through the support of Element Associates. All opinions are my own.

food safe 4th

I love the 4th of July. I love spending time with family and friends, catching the fireworks, and the Bar-b-ques. Oh, how I love the bar-b-ques. :) Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans… Yes, I definitely love the Bar-b-ques.

But did you know how serious food poisoning can be? It is so much more than just an upset stomach. It is a serious health threat to Americans. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans could suffer from foodborne illness this year. (That’s about 48 million people! Yikes!) In turn, that will lead to about 128,000 hospitalizations, and, even worse, an estimated 3,000 deaths. Scary stuff! And all because people don’t take the time to take the proper food safety precautions.

The heat of the summer gives bacteria the chance to thrive and multiply more rapidly, so there’s usually a spike in reports of foodborne illnesses.

I will admit. We are terrible about using a food thermometer. But, after reading all of the information I collected to put together this post, I can promise that is going to change!

Seeing isn’t believing. In the past, I figured if the hamburger is brown in the middle, that means it’s done. But truth be told, just looking at the color and texture of the food isn’t enough. The only way to be really, really sure is to use a food thermometer. In fact, according to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it’s safe to consume. A hamburger needs to be cooked to at least 160* F in order to be safe and delicious. Please take a moment to check out this Safe Cooking Temperature Chart and the “Is it Done Yet” brochure by the FoodSafety.gov website. Also be sure to check out the USDA’s tips for Safe Grilling.

Also be sure to visit the FoodSafety.gov website to learn all about food safety, and definitely check out “Ask Karen,” which is an online database with nearly 1,500 answers to specific questions about preventing foodborne illnesses. You can also call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.

Before you start celebrating this summer, be sure to take a moment and watch the following videos:

Recipes for Disaster: BBQ

Summer Food Safety Tips from Martie Duncan of Food Network Star

Also, be sure to join the #FoodSafe4th twitter party. It will be held June 30th at 1pm EST. Just follow and tweet with the #FoodSafe4th hashtag, and be sure to follow the hosts: @martieparty, @buzzmommy, and @usdafoodsafety.

#Sponsored: Have You Seen Everything You Can Do With @PhotoPad_VG

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

photopad postcard

Have you checked out the PhotoPad app lately? If you’re on Facebook, and you’re constantly sharing photos with your friends, you *need* to check out PhotoPad!

I have had the honor of working with PhotoPad in the past, (read another review here), and I love using the app to share photos with my friends. (And, believe me. No one likes to share photos more than I do! Some days, I’m sure I have people unfollow me because I share so many pictures.) PhotoPad makes sharing my pictures SO easy.

Right now, my favorite feature of PhotoPad is their “Postcard” feature. It’s vacation time for just about everyone I know, and while we aren’t going anywhere on vacation, we do take the kids to the local lake for a fun day of swimming. By the time we’re done, I have about a hundred pictures that I want to share with everyone. The first thing I do, though, is pick my favorite picture from the day and share it with my mom by sending her a postcard through PhotoPad. Then, I use the Photo Book  feature and upload all of my pictures from our day at the beach. Then, I can decide if I want to share it with friends, keep it private for just me to enjoy, or allow friends to add their own pictures to the book. This feature is fabulous if friends went with us to the beach, and we all want to combine our photos into one album. (The PhotoPad books are WAY more fun than just sharing them in a photo album.)

The only drawback I’ve found is that I can’t get all of my photos from a Facebook album to load. For example, I tried to create a book using my “Vinez Vacay 2014″ Facebook album, but it would only pull up about a third of the pictures. :( I can upload all of the pictures directly from my hard drive, but with my satellite internet connection, that takes forever. I’d love it to grab all of my photos from all of my albums.

I still love the features PhotoPad offers, and I still plan to keep sending my mom postcards of her grandkids every time we go to the Lake. I know she loves it, and it makes me feel like I’m sending her something just a little more special than just a picture. Since she lives so far away, I want to do something special for her every chance I get.

Check out the PhotoPad app today, and get started creating your own masterpieces to share with the world… or at least your Facebook friends. Then, get social with PhotoPad:

Have you tried PhotoPad? What do you think of it?

#MC #Sponsored #MagicatPlay: Shop Kohl’s Jumping Beans: “Planes: Fire and Rescue” Line Before the Movie Hits Theaters!

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kohl’s. I received a promotional item to facilitate my review.


My boys could not be more excited about the new Disney movie Planes: Fire and Rescue that’s set to come out in theaters on July 18th. And I could not possible be more excited about the new Kohl’s Jumping Beans: “Planes: Fire and Rescue” line that is available in stores and on Kohls.com now. Here are pictures of a few of my favorite pieces from the line:

Aren’t they great? This new line is going to make birthday gifts SO easy for my 3 and 5 year olds this year!

Check out the whole line here or head to your local Kohl’s store and start shopping now! Your kids will be the best dressed kids in the theater!