Saturday, December 31, 2011
Did you drink Kool-Aid when you were a kid? I remember the fat ol' Kool-Aid Man with his smile bouncing down the street with kids in 80's trendy clothing, wanting to be on that commercial. I remember when they first came out with the color changing mix, and thought it was the coolest thing ever! It was always a special treat for me, and brings me back to a time in my life where things were simple.
Living in Florida, it's important for my kids to stay hydrated when they're playing outside all year long. I'm very blessed with kids that are satisfied with regular H2o, but I love surprising them with a pitcher of Kool-Aid, just like my mom did when I was a child.
Over the years since I've introduced them to Kool-Aid, the kids have picked their favorites, (Alex likes the Blue Raspberry & Abbie loves Kiwi Strawberry), but the one thing they love doing even more is freezing Kool-Aid into ice cubes, or special-shaped cubes using our unique trays. This summer they realized they could take their ice cube and put them in other flavored Kool-Aid drinks and come up with their own special concoction after the cubes started to melt. They thought it was hysterical and came up with a ton of different varieties. We usually stock up on the packets, because all you do is add sugar, and honestly, the price is unbeatable. They always look forward to having Kool-Aid, because it is a special treat.
Growing up I used Kool-Aid as temporary hair coloring, but what I didn't realize was that there are tons of [functional and] delicious recipes made with Kool-Aid! From fruit smoothies to delicious desserts, (Key Lime Margarita Pie?!), click here to discover some amazing Kool-Aid Recipes.
Kool-Aid is also very active within the community. They have teamed up with KaBoom! and helped to provide playgrounds for underprivileged children.
To learn more about this program, or to help contribute, be sure to visit the Kool-Aid Facebook page. Here, you can learn about current programs, activities, get coupons, and learn more about the product. Over the summer, Kool-Aid even hosted a 'Noches de PeliKoola' event for their Hispanic consumers. If you have a few moments, go check it out, and LIKE them, so you can be kept in the loop about any special events or exciting recipes to use Kool-Aid.
Friday, December 30, 2011
It seems to me that Facebook and Twitter are blowing up with tons of talk about New Year's resolutions... Do you make a resolution?
I can honestly say I've made a resolution maybe a handful of times, and every year I did, I didn't follow through. For example, one year, I made a resolution to lose weight. I gained more weight that year than I had in several years put together. :/
Every year, I set new goals for myself; my life, my business, my family, my home. I plan to seek God more each year, and I think that I'm making baby steps there, but other than that, I don't really "resolve" to do anything extraordinary. I also don't necessarily start it on January first.
I guess I luck out with a January birthday, but I find that every year right before my birthday I really take a step back and look at my life. This year, I'm planning on working on my blog more. I want to really show my personality more- instead of writing strictly reviews and giveaways, I want to share some of my stories with my readers.
I have some girlfriends that tell me that I should be a comedian because of the stories I tell... the sad part is that the stories I convey are real-to-life stories of the crazy things my dysfunctional [extended] family or kids put me through. Honestly, I'm a good story teller, but I really couldn't make up half the stuff that goes on in my world. I think that I'm going to also post some fun contests where you- my readers- can participate. After all, I want to make sure that I'm not the only lunatic mom going through the stuff that I am. I think everyone needs that camaraderie, no? (If this is a bad idea, I'd appreciate the feed back, btw.)
So as the hell-acious year formally known as 2011 is making its getaway, I ask you this: if you set goals for your family/self/life/business/etc., how do you do it? Do you physically make a list? Do you file it away in your brain under "goals"? Do you make it known to the world?
I have so many dreams and goals for my life in 2012, and I can't wait to see what this New Year holds for our family, and for you, as well.
If you're celebrating this weekend, be safe and don't drink and drive. Find your nearby pregnant friend, and ask them to be a designated driver. If you don't have one of those, know your limits, and don't be embarrassed to call a cab.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Banamana! I love the Muppets. Always have. When I got a Happy Holidays email from our friends at Kids Foot Locker, I knew that I had to share these SUPER cute Muppets inspired Adidas with you all!
Unfortunately, they are only available in Kermit (shown above), Fozzy, Gonzo, and Animal, and only in kids sizes. Oh the shame!
BUT, that doesn't mean that the kids can't properly rock these sneaks!! During the school break, the kids want me to take them to see the new muppet movie. I can't wait. Our kids have always known who the muppets are- we're old school parents who bought old videos from Amazon and Ebay, so our kids grow up with cartoons that we enjoyed when we were little. They know who Rainbow Brite is and the original Underdog, as well as Tom & Jerry. They've been playing the Muppets Party Cruise on our Wii (via a game cube game we got off of Ebay for super cheap) since we got our Wii! Needless to say, I think that might be our one splurge over the vacation.
I personally love the Kermit Adidas best, the Animal ones are awesome, too, but they're high tops. I never really was a fan of high tops. I wish the Fozzy ones weren't pink- Miss Piggy is strictly pink. Or red. But the Gonzo the Great sneakers are flippin' adorable!!
These sneakers come from Toddlers sizes through Little Kids sizes and run from $38 to $65. Although the larger sizes are a little more expensive, our friends at Kids Foot Locker have offered us $50 in gift certificates for our readers to win!
Not interested in the bold Muppets colors? That's ok. Kids Foot Locker has a ton of shoes for kids from infant through Big Kids size 7. Kids Foot Locker gift cards are valid at any Foot Locker family store, including Ladies Foot Locker and regular Foot Locker locations.
Kids Foot Locker always carries the latest and greatest products, like the Reebok Zig sneakers, the Adidas Muppets Sneakers, as well as Nike, Jordan and more! Plus, right now you can get free shipping on any purchase of $50 or more using coupon code IP22VR54 at the checkout!
Want to win up to $50 in Gift Cards to Kids Foot Locker?
Leave a comment below sharing what sneakers are your favorites at Kids Foot Locker. If you don't have kids, tell me what your New Year's resolution is! Fill out the widget below to lock in your official entry, and earn extra entry opportunities.
Monday, December 26, 2011
No matter what holiday you celebrated this year, from our family to yours, we hope you had a very Happy Holiday! Enjoy the rest of your vacation, if you're on one, and keep your eyes open for a New Year's Kids Foot Locker giveaway!
This year, an Aldi supermarket joined our neighborhood. I'm really picky with my food, but I absolutely love some of their products. Their price on "essentials" (read: bread, milk, eggs) are AMAZING- much more affordable than any other grocery store or super store in the area.
I love reading their fliers to see what weekly specials they have on products. The only thing I'm not that excited about is the fact that they have some of their products ONLY for that week, and because my location is the only one within 30 miles, they usually sell out ridiculously quick. This holiday season, I've turned to Aldi for much of my entertaining purposes, and have found a ton of amazing products that I know to stock up on next year, (like their amaaaaaaazing stuffed clams!)
I received an opportunity from Mom Central and Aldi to share my holiday entertaining habits with you- including a review on wine, so I was super excited to finally give the Aldi wines a try. I just had one minor problem... this year, I'm pregnant. That being said, the doc said that I could have a glass of red wine for the holidays, so I wanted to make sure I chose wisely.
I received a gift certificate as well as an extensive explanation of the types of wine and holiday assortments Aldi carries. I consider myself a wine lover, but I learned so much more about wine with the guide they sent me! I think it would be great for a pamphlet to be in store along with their selections, because finding the wines to perfectly compliment meals always seemed to be a case of trial-and-error, for me, anyway.
I learned that Sweet Red is perfect for desserts like chocolate and cheesecake. I learned that the Chaza Moscato from South Africa was really enjoyed in between the dinner and dessert, one night where we had chicken alfredo and a spiral ham. The husband told me that after we have this bean, that he's going to bring a bottle to the hospital for me. We had some family come over for a hearty roast and served the bottle of Chianti pictured above.
Every year for Christmas, I make stuffed mushrooms and the key ingredient is White Zinfandel. Their bottle was only $2.69!! The most expensive bottle of wine I purchased was only $5.99. Now, I will admit a few of my friends were astonished that I would give $3-5 bottles of wine a chance.. and frankly, gasped in utter horror, laughing, and wishing me good luck. Several of those friends were given this wine while they were visiting, and they all had NO idea that it was the wine I bought from Aldi. They were pleasantly pleased, and even expressed intent to purchase it themselves. They could not believe that the wine they were tasting were award winning wines, were under $6 a bottle, and had such flavor. Once upon a time, we always had wine in our house, ready to entertain.
Since the economy crashed, and the hubster lost his job, we really haven't had a large selection of wine in our home. Now that our eyes have been opened, we realized we can afford to still entertain with Aldi, even with our lower budget.
Aldi doesn't only have great wines, but they also have a large selection of rich and flavorful German chocolate, nuts of every variety, and many different cheeses. I love brie and soft cheeses, but being pregnant this year, the soft cheeses were off limit. This year I purchased Savoritz Garlic and Chive Pita Crackers (SOOOO good!), and paired it with sliced block cheese, stuffed clams and lemon wedges, nuts, and overloaded on sweets. We had a candy dish of German chocolate balls, cookies, and cream puffs- all purchased from Aldi- well, everything except the cookies, but most of the ingredients were!
Their baking section is extremely affordable! If you love to bake during the holiday season and winter break- make a run there to stock back up. Their chocolate chips, white chips, and butterscotch chips were only $1.69 a bag. They were SO good, and they were larger than standard chips, they were more like chunks. The cookies I made with them were scrumptious!
All in all, we had an amazing holiday filled with great surprises from Aldi. The hubster had so much fun shopping with me for Christmas, that he invited a house full of company for New Year's Eve. My only complaint is that I won't be able to make the stuffed clams for the New Year. (Can you tell that's not a good thing for this preggo lady?!)
If you don't believe me about the prices at Aldi- click some of the links to the foods. It will bring you straight to the product at their site with the price! I don't know how they make money with some of their prices- but I'm grateful for them, and to Mom Central for allowing us to participate in this blog tour.
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of ALDI and received a gift certificate to facilitate my review.” All opinions are mine.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Occasionally our readers send us stories of great sales, customer service experiences, and interesting products that they want to learn more about. We love reading about what they send us, and try to share it with you as often as possible.
This holiday season, one of our readers shared a horrible experience with us, that hit us close to home, and we were so shocked- we felt the need to share it with you, in her own words. Without further a-do, here's Mrs.K's experience.
Over the summer I found a website, www.ourdesigns.com while looking for Father's Day gifts for my volunteer firefighter husband. I've ordered 3-4 times from this website since Father's Day. Shipping was always a bit slow, but it was coming from the west coast - Washington State. All Mr. K wanted for Christmas was firefighter gear.
Being a volunteer, we have to purchase a lot of his extra tools, gear, etc that the department doesn't have available or provide for him. He had been eyeing a bracket that allows a flashlight to be attached to his fire helmet. I had been looking around for the best deal since October. I found package deals (the bracket and flashlight included for one price), and I found them sold seperately. There were a handful of websites I found that offered these products, including Our Designs, some were even much more affordable, but I decided to stick with a company I knew. Because I had ordered from Our Designs before, and knew I could trust them, I decided to go ahead and place the order on December 6th.
I called their customer service number before going online to shop, to insure I purchased the correct shipping to make sure I received the items before Christmas. The gentleman I spoke to on the phone told me which shipping would be best, and I went online and put the items in my cart. Before checking out, I saw a firefighter glass that I could put in his stocking, and added that to my order.
Later that day I received my order confirmation. This is a copy of the email, verbatim:
ORDER SUMMARY*************************************************************** Qty Product Description -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Streamlight 4AA Propolymer LUX Flashlight ITEM#: STR68244 PRICE: $31.96 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Streamlight PolyTac LED Black Jack Helmet Mount ITEM#: STR88855 PRICE: $18.36 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Firefighter Stein ITEM#: ALC7004 PRICE: $3.83 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- OUT-OF-STOCK ITEMS SHIP WHEN AVAILABLE:*************************************************************** Qty Product Description -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Firefighter Stein ITEM#: ALC7004 PRICE: $3.83 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subtotal: $54.15 Shipping Method: PREMIUM GROUND - 3-5 BUSINESS DAYS - $6.99 Tax: $0.00 Order Total: $61.14
To me, that email said that the out of stock items would ship when they were available, and the rest of my order would ship on time. It was about 4 days after I placed my order, when I realized I hadn't received a shipping email, so I really started watching my email. On December 13th (a full week) after I placed my order, I called and asked what was going on. The lady on the phone told me that the firefighter cup was on backorder, and it's their policy to not ship an order until everything is in stock. A customer can request items be sent separately, but then they will charge you double shipping.
I told her to please cancel the stein, and if I would have known that, I would have cancelled it the day I placed the order. The website did not show this cup on backorder, as it did many other items. She cancelled the item for me, and assured me that because it was later in the business day, my items would ship the very next day. I waited the next day for an email...and the next. On the 9th day, December 15th, I called and asked if my order had shipped. I was told it had not.
I began to express my disdain with them. I told them that I had called to make sure my shipping choice would get the items to me by Christmas, as this was an important gift. I asked him if there was anything he could do, refund shipping, bump up my shipping speed, etc, and all he said was there was nothing he could do because my order was "on the floor."
I told him that he should at least let someone know that the wording in their emails needs to be changed, because had I been aware that there would be a hold up in shipping, I would have taken action the same day I got that email! The next day, I called again, because I still had not received an email. The gentleman I spoke to told me my order had shipped. I hung up grateful that it was on its way, and after getting home from finishing errands checked my email for my tracking number. No email.
I checked my bank account, and I had not even been charged. At this point I was livid!!!! WHY had I been told it had shipped when it wasn't?? Of course this happened on a Friday, so I had to wait until Monday morning, PST to call them again. After waiting and waiting on hold, and getting disconnected a few times, I finally got another representative.
Beth, I believe was this representative's name, was the first person to actually try to figure out what was going on for me. She sent an email to the shipping department and told me I'd have an email from them with answers by the end of the afternoon, or the next morning. She said the only thing she can figure is their inventory counts were off and it wasn't really in stock when I ordered, or when they got my order for packaging. Tuesday morning came and still no email.
So I called them AGAIN, and it still had not shipped!! No one could give me ANY explanation. I told Jason, the final representative, I'd like to just cancel my order because I was disgusted with their service at this point.
There was no reason 14 days after I placed my order, that my in stock items had not shipped. All I can figure is that they HAD my items when I ordered, but because my order sat for a week before I realized what was going on... they ran out of the items I ordered. But I have no idea if either of my items were ever in stock to begin with, because of the mass confusion on their part.
I am appalled with their lack of customer service. I even paid an extra fee upon my first order for a V.I.P. membership to receive discounts on orders and free shipping. Now my husband, who is a hard working firefighter who may work a full day at his paying job, and then come home and be out in the cold or heat fighting a fire for hours on end all through the night to help others, does not have the one tool for his job that he so wanted for Christmas.
If you look at their Facebook page, I am not the only one who's been put in this situation this Christmas. That is why I shared this story with you.
And THAT is why Lauren and I felt that you all, our loyal readers should learn about this awful customer service FAIL. Lauren has a lot of family in New York that have been fire-fighters for YEARS, and was appalled to learn of this story. Long story short, for a gift that you may or may not receive, OurDesigns.com might work- but if it was us, we'd look elsewhere. For a company who boasts over 30 years experience, a high rating for online stores, is BBB certified, and claims fast shipping (with NO mention about out-of-stock or back-ordered item policies on their shipping page), one would assume that they would have a higher standard in customer service.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Every year, since I was a child, I remember my mom getting together with some of her friends and family members for a cookie party. It was one of the few times during the holidays that my mom could escape for an evening out. Plus, when she returned, she returned with a platter of miscellaneous cookies.
Every year, I invite my girlfriends over for a cookie party at my house, but it never seems to go as well as it did for my mom. I think it's because all of our kids are younger, and time is very hard to find, most of my girlfriends come with supermarket cookies. This year, I had more homemade cookies than in the years past, but I like to giggle with my girlfriends, and share recipes, so we still do it.
This year there was a special guest. HERSHEY'S and MyBlogSpark sent me a prize pack filled with Kisses, cocoa powder, a mixing bowl, apron and gift card to buy extra ingredients. I also hosted a giveaway for the ladies that attended, which made for a much better turnout, some ladies even brought a guest! Needless to say, we had a boatload of cookies.
There are a ton of cookies that are my favorites. Rainbow cookies (aka 7 layer cookies) are an all time favorite of mine. If I can find the almond paste, I'm determined to make them with the kids over their school break. Magic Cookie Bars are another favorite. Made with chocolate morsels, coconut and evaporated milk- what's better than that?! I also add Heath chunks in it for an extra special surprise.
We had a ton of cookies ranging from thumbprints, to cow pie (or cow patty) cookies, and so many more. I shared some of my favorite recipes with my friends and gained some more for my recipe book.
I learned that there are a ton of delicious recipes at the Hershey's Kitchen (La Cocina de Hershey's) that I can't wait to try! If you can read Spanish, check out the second link. I had more fun cruising through that site than the other one, because it had a ton of cookies my grandmother used to make. I have no idea what the english names were, so it was fun to trip down that memory lane.
The fun part of my life, is that many of my friends know about my Hispanic heritage, but never really think of me as Spanish and Puerto Rican, unless I'm telling them what they're eating in Spanish. It seems to take them a second, but they usually giggle and ask for me to tell them what it is in English. It reminds me of when I was younger. It used to drive me crazy how fast the adults could ramble in Spanish, and my cousins and I would try so hard to keep up. I got really good after awhile, but it's sad that I rarely speak in Spanish since my grandmother died, and I moved. My kids love listening to me speak Spanish. I miss the huge family get-togethers- which is why, my husband thinks, I love hosting huge get-togethers, and cookie parties, and the like.
Do you host or go to any holiday cookie parties? What is your favorite part about the holidays? If you make holiday cookies, what's your favorite cookie?? (If you can include a link in your comment, that would be great.)
Special thanks to Hershey's and MyBlogSpark for sending me all of the goodies needed for me to kick off this year's cookie party!
Disclosure: The Hershey´s product, information, recipes, and prize pack have been provided by The Hershey Company through MyBlogSpark.
Friday, December 16, 2011
ABBA You Can Dance for the Wii= three words: What A BLAST!!
Since the dawning of Just Dance, the girls and I made a pact to get together and dance our booties off. Literally. We would meet for a morning full of coffee and dancing, and continued this tradition until my son switched schools this year.
When we were asked to host an ABBA dance party, Marissa and I LEPT at the chance to dance with the girls again.
Our friends at Clever Girls and UbiSoft sent a cool disco ball, an ABBA dance shirt, the game for us to put to great use, and a gift card for refreshments. We called the ladies and set up a PM dance party at my house, and an AM after drop-off party. We laughed like nobody's business and were able to have two very successful parties.
UbiSoft were the masterminds behind the Just Dance series, as well as many other popular "dance" video games. We love them all, but to be fair we need to make sure we list the pro's and con's of Abba You Can Dance.
- Very similar to the other "dance" games- easy to catch on.
- Up to 4 players can dance at the same time
- If 4 people are dancing, you may be dancing differently than the person next to you.
- Similar graphics make it easy to see the upcoming moves, and/or follow the on-screen dancer
- We played the Michael Jackson experience and the ABBA game on the same day- both had the same location of the points bar and the location of the "next move coming up". These are NOT the same spot as the Just Dance series, so that took some getting used to.
- We bumped into each other a few times using this program because 4 of us dance at the same time, and two of you are going one way, while the other two are going the opposite. Needless to say, this made it difficult in our tiny living room, and better at our AM party.
- As long as you know how to hold the remote "correctly" there should be no problem, but for new players to any dance type game, it may take some getting used to.
Since receiving the items, the kids have played, and enjoy it almost as much as we do! We love seeing them play to an old school group, with catchy music that brings us back down memory lane. This disc is packed with music like Dancing Queen, Fernando, Momma Mia and more!!
If you are looking for a fun way to keep your family active, or for a family holiday gift, I would definitely recommend ABBA You Can Dance, or any of the Just Dance series. You can purchase this item anywhere that video games are sold, or online at Amazon. Special thanks to our friends at UbiSoft and CleverGirls for allowing us to host this party, and for sending us this game to review.
Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Well, I hope you do, but what I really mean is, do you LIKE us.. on Facebook?
This year we are hosting giveaways on our blog traditionally, but also on our Facebook wall. Earlier this week I gave out 25 Shutterfly Holiday Cards, several calendars, and have randomly handed out extra free photo cards- just because I was feeling extra jolly.
This week, I have three $10 Plum District gift cards that I want to giveaway. One winner, or three?? If you haven't entered, you can't win. Plum District is like a Groupon type site, only better! Many items are very affordable. Right now you can score a personalized letter from Santa for FREE using the gift card we're giving away! (Not to mention save money on tons of other great gifts & stocking stuffers!)
So... What are you waiting for??? Head over to 4BabyAndMom on Facebook, and enter our contest!! Don't forget to tell your friends for extra bonus entries!
I tried using some favorite pictures of them through the year, but Abbie went through this really weird growly-grin stage.. and Alex was missing half of his teeth this year. Awkward! Anyway, after messing around on the Shutterfly website for almost two days, I think I came up with a card, but I'm not sure if it's "appropriate" or not. See the thing is- I'm expecting again. 90% of the family and our friends know that, but there's a branch of our extended family that probably don't know (including my father and grandmother, but that's a WHOLE other post) and I'm wondering if I should just send it, so they know, and so I don't have to deal with the whole "I didn't even know you were pregnant" emails/letters/calls... or so the long lost relatives we love but never talk to in Ohio and North Carolina can still feel like they're up to date on our family??? I'm so confused and over thinking it a ton. Bri says it's perfect. What do you think:
Every year we put the little "what we've been up to" blurb in it. :)
I love Shutterfly's Christmas picture cards- mainly because you can personalize them however you want. You want five pictures on the front- doable. Just text inside? Done. Pictures and text? Done. Right now there are fabulous sales going on on all of the photo cards, photo books, photo gifts, and the best of it all is their quality.
Every year, I know the quality of the cards I send out are beautifully printed, well made, and vibrant. The family loves to receive them, and I love to give them. This year, I even participated in a Shutterfly House Party to help excite my friends and family about the awesome products at Shutterfly. I've been a customer since 2004. In fact, if Shutterfly crashed and died, I think I might too. Everything from our wedding, to the birth and growth of both of our kids and on is on that site. I have a brand loyalty to them, for no other reason except I love their products.
So all in all, my cards are ready to be ordered, delivery just around the corner. The only thing we will have to wait for is Santa... Now if Santa only delivered a job for the Hubby, we would be all set.
WIN Shutterfly Photo Cards! Two winners will be chosen- the first will win 50 free photo cards, the next will win 30! Each winner will receive two valid Shutterfly promo codes to redeem for their favorite flat or folded holiday card!
Fill out the RaffleCopter widget below- Please allow a few minutes for the widget to fully load.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
12 NILLA Wafers, divided
1/4 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
1 small banana, cut into 10 slices, divided
2 JELL-O Vanilla Pudding Snacks
CRUSH 10 wafers to form coarse crumbs; place 1/4 of the crumbs in each of 2 parfait glasses. Top each with 1 Tbsp. COOL WHIP, 2 banana slices and half of 1 pudding snack. Repeat layers of crumbs, bananas and pudding.
REFRIGERATE 15 min. Meanwhile, wrap reserved banana slices tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to use.
TOP parfaits with remaining COOL WHIP, wafers and banana slices just before serving.
TIP: Toss banana slices with small amount of lemon juice to help prevent them from turning brown. MAKE AHEAD: Parfaits can be stored in refrigerator up to 4 hours before serving.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I will not lie. This year was atrocious.
Between the move in April, Alex's possibly incorrect diagnosis of Asperger's in June, Bri's promotion, two cancer scares for me, a death in our family, another school, an unexpected pregnancy, the car being impounded [because of something stupid], and Bri being laid off- my mantra this year has been: put a fork in me, I'm done!
At the doctor's office today, I came to the realization that although this year was the most difficult for us, it made us closer as a family unit.
I am so grateful for the things that I've been blessed with... my kids are beautiful, happy, healthy, and whole. My husband is faithful, honest, hard-working, and loving. My friends are supportive, encouraging, and love me for me. My mother has come through in ways this year that I never expected, but was incredibly blessed by. I am extremely grateful.
Yes, although atrocious, this year has proven my aunt's favorite advice, "This too, shall pass, Lauren. It always does." And my mother's, "They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. You are very strong."
Ain't that the truth.
What are you thankful for this holiday season??
Although we don't eat Burger King as often as I did then, my son loves BK now (especially their onion rings); I'm not sure if it correlates, but it sure is a cute story to tell my son. The new BK Crown kids meal is super fun, and full of all of the favorites he enjoys. He loves the new boxes, as they truly give him something fun to play with instead of just a cheap-o toy. He loves wearing the crown, just like I did back when I was 8, and the interactive activities and pieces on the box keep him busy in the back seat, and not teasing his sister- instead he plays with her!
The hubster really likes to take the kids there as his "special date", so he really loves the new BK Family Bundle. At only $9.99, it comes with a WHOPPER sandwich, WHOPPER JR. sandwich., two small fries, two small soft drinks and a Kids Meal. It's only for a limited time, so I suggest you get to your nearest Burger King and check out their new crown for your little prince, or princess.
To celebrate, our friends at MyBlogSpark and Burger King have offered a sweet giveaway- ($25 BK Gift card!!) to our readers!
Leave a comment below to enter telling us what your child [or you] like most about http://www.bkcrown.com/. Fill our our RaffleCopter widget. If you are having problems, please click the link to this giveaway directly. If that doesn't correct itself, please do not hesitate to contact us. See the widget for extra entry opportunities.
The BK CROWNTM/MC Program prize pack I received,as well as the information and giveaway have been provided by Burger King Corporation through MyBlogSpark
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I found out I was pregnant with my son when I was 10 weeks pregnant. I had no real signs or symptoms, in fact, I was on birth control, and was waiting for my 6 week period to stop so I could start my next pack. We tried to conceive our daughter, and succeeded. I was sick from before it was time for me to take an at home test and knew that I knew that I was pregnant.
If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen that I've been very sick the last year. I had two cancer scares, breast and uterine, and I've been trying to figure out 'what's the matter' for most of this year. I borrowed a glucose monitor because I was sleeping a ton, and urinating a ton more than normal. I took a test about two weeks ago, and sure enough- I found out I am expecting our third!!
"A shock" is not even the phrase to describe my feelings on the topic. The worst part was I had no idea how far along I was. I kept thinking of that show... and I started to freak out. I knew that the last time Dear Aunt Flo decided to rear her ugly head it was July, so I knew I wasn't going to be in labor anytime soon, but other than that, I had no idea how far along I was.
Long story a lot shorter- the last two weeks I have been undergoing a ton of bloodwork, multiple sonograms, and they have decided that I'm due somewhere between May 12 and 19th. I will be having another cesarian, so when I get that date, I will likely post it on Facebook. I have a feeling we will be reviewing a bunch of baby stuff, as the last time I did this was 6 years ago- and man, there's a ton of new baby stuff that's so exciting, I have no words! I'm a little nervous about having three kids, I'll be honest, but both Bri and I are very excited, now that the shock is wearing off, and the kids can't wait, too.
With Thanksgiving over, and the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to also give you a heads up that our holiday giveaways will be starting very soon! We have everything from Target Gift Cards to some of Spin Master's HOTTEST toys, to Shutterfly Holiday cards. I can't wait to share it all with you!! Get ready, tell your friends, and bare with my weird pregnancy stories and pickle cravings. Happy Holidays, 4BabyAndMom readers!!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
One of our very first posts was about the fun times (read: it was a "Mischievous Monday" post) Moon Sand brought to our family. Abbie had had a Barnyard play set of Moon Dough and the dough would get stuck in the molds, and crumble so easily.
This was right after it came out, and I believe I said I would never welcome ether product back into our house again. Back then, it was the truth, and it was banned from our house completely.
Our friends at TeamMom sent us an email asking if we'd be interested in trying the new formula of Moon Dough. I literally laughed out loud because I had said I would never allow it back into the house, and I honestly thought I would like it as much as I enjoyed the Moon Sand in this post.
So the email I got says that the new formula is less crumbly and never dries out. It's odor free, and has a better consistency for molding figures, and for creativity. So we signed up to try out the Moon Dough Push N’ Pop Ocean Pals set or Breakfast set.
We received the Ocean Pals set pictured above, and the kids were ecstatic! They couldn't wait to get their hands on it. I, on the other hand, was quite apprehensive. After setting up a sheet under the dining room table, and getting the dust buster and the vacuum ready, I told the kids they could play with it.
They started playing with the dough, and right away they said they LOVED it! It was squishy, I even tried it myself. It wasn't sandy like the Moon Sand, or as coarse as the original Moon Dough. The sea creatures molded nicely in the Push N' Pop molds, and came OFF of the molds super quick- no pulling, prying or crumbly mess like the old barn playset.
It really wasn't much more of a mess than playing with other molding clays, home made or store bought, but it was definitely different- light and fluffy, and for two texture orientated kids, they really enjoyed playing with it! I can't believe I'm going to say this, but.....
If you're looking for an alternative for your typical rainy day activities, definitely check out the new Moon Dough products. My kids loved it, and I'm sure yours will too!!
Special thanks to our friends at TeamMom, who allowed us to give this product another spin, and introduced us to a new favorite.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I'm not even thirty yet, have two amazing kids, life as I knew it changed... In a huge way, that I can't even begin to explain. Thankfully, after months of tests, I found that it was just a "scare", but it was a bigger scare than I ever wanted to experience.
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I have to give is the way a lump feels. Across the internet, you'll find many articles saying that it feels like a frozen pea. For me, it did not. It was hard, long, but flat-ish, and was sensitive. I can't tell you exactly how it felt aside from saying I knew it didn't feel "right".
It takes only a few moments, even if you don't check regularly, be sure to stop reading this now, and cop a feel. Feel under your breasts, in your cleavage, and under your armpits, where your breast tissue extends. Have your significant other help- if you're not familiar with how your girls feel, I'm sure he does.
If you've never had a scare, chances are you might know someone who has, or who had Breast Cancer, or someone who survived Breast Cancer. Visit PinkTogether.com to share your personal story and messages of hope and read about others´ personal journeys. To encourage personal connections, General Mills will donate $1 to the Komen organization for each Message of Hope that is sent to someone who has shared their story on PinkTogether.com (up to $25,000) during October. This is in addition to a $2 million donation General Mills is making to the Komen organization.
This year, for the first time in its five-year history, at PinkTogether.com consumers can choose how $1 million of this donation will be shared between two important Komen programs: the Treatment and Assistance Program, which assists women in securing care they otherwise may not be able to afford, and Prevention Research, which helps unlock the keys to preventing breast cancer. Visit PinkTogether.com from September 19, 2011 through April 14, 2012 to make your choice. Results will be announced on Mother´s Day 2012 - Sunday, May 13.
To help spread Breast Cancer Awareness, General Mills and MyBlogSpark have put together a Pink Together Prize Pack for one lucky reader. The winner will win a spectacular selection including a 16 oz. box of Total cereal, VIP coupons valid for one box of Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios cereal and one cup of Yoplait yogurt, a
Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook Pink Together Edition, (which includes a collection of more than 150 delicious recipes with complete nutrition information and a 32-page Pink Together Survivor Ambassador bonus section that shares inspirational personal stories of survival as well as recipes), a Water bottle and removable silicone awareness bracelet, a drawstring sport backpack, and pink rhinestone ear buds.
Here's How to Enter:
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
At this year's party or get together, be sure to check out Betty Crocker's new Fun da Middles cupcakes. The deliciousness that you know, with a burst of cream in the middle, is a great surprise to your guests.
Frost your cupcakes with black icing and add licorice strips to make fun spider cupcakes. Decorate them in shades of orange and add funny faces to make age appropriate pumpkins. Use green food coloring for the surprise in the middle to make it green alien slime!
I will admit, I was a little nervous to make these, but it was so much easier than I ever envisioned. They tasted amazing, and the kids thought it was spectacular. (Watch this video on "How To" make Fun-Da-Middles!) Click here for money saving coupons, and be sure to check out the
Our friends at MyBlogSpark sent us an amazing Fun-da-middles prize pack to try these out, and let me tell you, and we had a blast! Our gift pack included:
- One sample of new Betty Crocker Fun da-middles cupcake mix
- One cupcake pan
- One oven mitt
- One package of cupcake liners
- One box of cupcake gift notes
Here's How to Enter:
**We are trying something new, so if you have ANY problems, please let us know right away on our Facebook page.**
Leave a comment on our blog telling us what special occasion you would like to make these delicious treats for. There are many extra entry opportunities, be sure to click them in the RaffleCopter widget after you complete them.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Safe trick or treating along the destined path allows kids of all ages hop from place to place and trick or treat- in costume or without one. While you're visiting, be sure to check out the carmel apple stand and Sand Art station. Just make sure you plan on these activities during a time you want to stand and wait, (that was our onlycomplaint last weekend, was that the lines were LONG for these special activities!)
If you are in the area, have season passes, or are just looking for a fun Halloween themed activity for the family that will be memorable, be sure to visit Sea World for their Halloween Spooktacular Event. If you'd like it to be especially memorable, check out the Sea World Spooktacular link to find special event or happenings within the park this weekend and next weekend. Be sure to check out Count von Count's Spooktacular Breakfast Boo-fet... packed with your child's favorite Sesame Street characters, print out your Spooky Map before you go- so you don't miss a thing!
Don't forget to visit the Mermaids, or see Shamu's show, or take a ride on the new Manta ride while you're there with the big kids, too. Party in the "after hours party" with the kids, and all of the characters in costume, for a night to remember! The best part? Right now tickets are half price for the kiddos with the purchase of an adult ticket. There's only two weekends left to enjoy this event, so hurry... before it's too late!!
Special thanks to our friends at Sea World for allowing us to come and visit the Halloween Spooktacular event in order to facilitate this article.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This post brought to you by TracFone. All opinions are 100% mine.
With kids in two different schools, the idea of getting our middle schooler a cell phone for some time. I wasn't sure if I wanted to just add him to our current cell phone plan or buy a prepaid type phone to stay in contact.
I came across some good deals from TracFone, so I figured I would share them. With TracFone there are no contracts, no credit checks, no activation charges or cancellation fees. The maps show that there is great nationwide service (which is good when we travel), and they sell many brand name phones, not no-name cheap phones. We were looking at a few phones we really liked from Motorola, Kyocera, LG, Nokia and Samsung. What I likes was there were regular phones and smart phones as well.
There are prepaid cards at many local retailers, as well as many across the country, and even have a one year service card for only $119. Plus, you get double minutes for the life of your phone, and starts you out at 800 minutes. If you don't want to do a whole year, you can purchase "Double minutes for the life of your phone” for only$19.99, but some phones include it as a perk. Some phones are packed with features like camera/video recorder, web access, app capabilities, mp3 player, and full QWERTY keyboard, for only $29.99. Calling and texting capabilities are available for under $10. The more I researched, the more I thought this was a great deal.
I did notice that TracFone also offers International Long Distance for the same price as any other call. This is great for people who have families out of the country, or college kids who are studying abroad. With the International Neighbors program, you can provide family and friends in Mexico or Canada a local phone number in those countries to reach you at your TracFone in the U.S.! This would be a great Senior Value as my grandmother has many snowbird friends who live in Canada.
<iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" src="http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xlhbgf"></iframe><br /><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlhbgf_tracfone-makes-it-easy_tech" target="_blank">Tracfone makes it easy...</a> <i>by <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/LittleBard95" target="_blank">LittleBard95</a></i>
Check out this video Get into Everywhereness and visit any nationwide retailer (like Wal-Mart) to learn more about TracFone products.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
To say I'm jealous, is a humongous understatement.
This week, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe how fast life is flying by. This anniversary really made me stop and think about where we are, and where we wanted to be, when we were preparing to start our lives together- and how drastically different they were from each other. It was actually kind of a downer... we've been through a lot together. But at the same time, it totally gave us hope.
Then the hubster and I took a moment, after the kids were at school, and talked about life. We talked about and set new goals. I applied to go back to college. We're still "officially" waiting on financial aid to say 'yay' or 'nay', but I will be starting on November 9th. I'm excited. Hubster is too. The kids.. well, Babs loves her school. She's a kindergartener. Aside from Alex's experience, I've never heard of a horrible kindergarten experience. Alex loves his teacher and his classmates, and is making amazing strides. We're still trying to learn as much as we can about Aspergers, and his teacher is an awesome addition to our worlds. There's one little problem. She's moving to teach 5th grade, so Alex will have a new teacher. We're hoping that he makes enough growth between now and then that it doesn't send him on a downward spiral. Friday is our first Odyssey of the Mind meeting- (I'm a coach this year!)- and I'm nervous, but excited. So is Alex.
The hubster is actually looking at going back to school within a year of my start date. Our goal is to see how I'm handling everything, and go from there. Marissa is rocking at her University courses. We are busy preparing our Holiday Gift Guide, so we can share with you some of the coolest and hottest toys for this upcoming season. We've found quite a few different items, perfect for stocking stuffers for all ages, and some awesome boys toys.. we're just looking for those perfect girl toys to share with you! Along with our gift guide comes our giveaway extravaganza- be sure to bookmark our site, and share it with your friends. As soon as we have an official date- I will let you know!
All in all, life is good.
Share with us- what upcoming holiday is your absolute favorite? What is your most favorite activity/pastime to enjoy??
Monday, October 3, 2011
Stains, Stains, everywhere are stains! School is back in, and I assure you my daughter's wardrobe states that she is clearly a kindergartner. Her adorable new school clothes come home every day with a new stain: paint, marker, crayon, grass, lunch, mud, and my personal favorite--"MY GOODNESS, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?" I have tried just about every stain treatment available, and while some have been better than others, they are all pretty darn expensive! If I'm paying top dollar, then I want top results.
We were given the opportunity to review OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover. I have never used OxiClean products before, so I figured,"What the heck, why not!" I have honestly never been a fan of infomercial products or gimmicks. I always had reservations whenever I looked at OxiClean at the grocery store because it was one of those 3 a.m. ads. I would pick it up and then just put it back, thinking it would do what all other infomercial products do and leave me crying into a spaghetti-o stained Easter dress. So, I don't know that my expectations were high going into the washing machine armed with oxygen power.
Whatever the expectation was, I was very pleasantly surprised by the stain-lifting muscles the OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover flexed on those nasty sock stains (by the way, what do children and husbands DO to their socks to make them that black on the bottom?) and the sports stains on my son's baseball pants!
I figured, being a frugal mom, that if this worked so well on clothes, that why not see if it worked as well on other things around the house. My towels get terrorized by my husband, and apparently no matter how many times you explain the difference between a good towel and an everyday towel, husbands just don't get it! The good news is, now I have a line of defense, because the OxiClean Stain Remover really made them bright again and kicked that mystery stains butt.
It was fairly easy to use: pre-soak, then wash. Not rocket science, or too difficult. Which is what a helpful product is supposed to do; make my life easier! It is not too expensive either; I found this product for about $6 at Wal-Greens. I will definitely stop being so prejudiced against infomercial products, as this one was really a good one. I will also be stocking up on some more OxiClean products next time I am out.
OxClean products are available in most grocery chains. For more information, visit:http://bit.ly/pCX5wO
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of OxiClean and received OxiClean items to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
Monday, September 26, 2011
With back to school in full force, the kids and I are constantly on the go. Finding room in our schedule for dinner can be pretty hard to do- especially on karate, Odyssey, boy scout, girl scout, and my college nights. Roll that all into a Tuesday or a Thursday, and I'm willing to bet someone is complaining they are hungry at 9pm bedtime.
I really do take pride in the fact that I feed my kids healthier food options as often as I can. Now, I'm not one of those overly healthy-nut-moms that never buy a cheeseburger on the go, or a TV dinner for Tuesday or Thursday nights every now and then. In fact, I've recently been introduced to KidFresh Meals, and have completely fallen in love!
Kid-friendly choices range from mac and cheese to pasta and meatballs and even quesadillas, Kidfresh meals have been developed by parents for their picky eaters, with the help of an award-winning chef and a pediatric nutritionist. These dishes - ready in 4 minutes - provide key nutrients for growing children, including up to 33% of a child's daily vegetable requirements through the addition of hidden vegetables. The meals come high in protein and vitamins, contain low sodium, and all for under 400 calories with great taste that kids love. With its line of 100% natural frozen meals for kids, Kidfresh offers a convenient way to feel good about mealtime without sacrificing taste or nutrition.
The best part is that these meals are located in the freezer section of my local Publix, so to get them I don't have to travel too far, or make a special trip. To find a store near you that carries Kidfresh meals, visit http://www.kidfresh.com/find-a-store/.
The kids loved it, it wasn't too strenuous on our wallet, and it was a heck of a lot healthier than our normal frozen entree, or canned concoctions. Even the hubster could handle dinner on those crazy, stressful nights. Score!
Kidfresh meals will definitely be a staple on our grocery list, at least for the rest of this semester. Be sure to follow Kidfresh on Twitter to stay up to date on new meals and special deals!
Thanks to our friends at Kidfresh, three winners will win two coupons for FREE KidFresh Meals!!
Leave a comment here telling me something you've learned after visiting the Kidfresh website.
- Tweet using #Kidfresh and link back to us, or copy this:
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“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Kidfresh and received Kidfresh coupons and products to facilitate my review, coupons to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
This contest will end 10/1/2011. Three winners will be chosen at random, using Random.org. Each winner will receive 2 coupons for free product.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
RECESS: The moment children wait impatiently for all day, hoping little Tommy Trouble Maker won’t get into mischief . . . again, and ruin it for the rest of them. The only 15 minutes of the day that is theirs to go wild, scream like an indian chief, and run like Forrest Gump all around the playground just because they “ . . .felt like running!”
Any parent knows that children need this small outlet to burn off some of that energy. Twitchy kids can’t focus, especially when there is a bright shiny blue slide staring at them through their class window, beckoning them to come and play. I am currently going to school to be a teacher and have observed and volunteered in many classrooms. Throughout all of my observations, I have never failed to notice how much more attentive the class was after P.E. and recess. Once they got rid of that extra energy (in the hot Florida sun no less), they were more than happy to come back to the air conditioning, get a drink, and sit quietly and listen to their teachers. I also noticed that the teachers who did not allow recess typically had some crazy kids filling their afternoon hours.
So why is recess being picked on? Sadly, more and more schools are being forced to adopt “no recess” schedules because of strenuous curriculum standards *cough* FCAT and other similar standardized tests*cough*. I am not a fan of such policies, and am all about standing up for our children's needs at school. That is why I was so excited to receive an opportunity to share with you that involves recess, AND one of my kids favorite afternoon snacks—Danimals!
You know, the yogurt snacks that your kids (well, at least mine) beg you for every time you’re trying to pick out dairy products. Danimals are actually one of the few things I give in on; the kids are happy because they think they suckered me into a treat and I get them to eat something nutritious—it’s win/win. But now, there’s another reason to buy these great snacks. It’s called the “Rally for Recess”, and it is a new campaign to help keep recess in schools. We were given a gift card to try a Danimals product, and we (by we-- I mean my eight year old daughter) chose the smoothies. They were really good, and are apparently still “cool” for middle school-ers too, because my son slammed one and then began “monkeying” around with his sister. (I don’t think he has recess at middle school, hahaha)
Now, when you purchase a Danimals product, it comes with a code which you can enter at their contest site: http://rallyforrecess.com . Five schools will win a $20,000 playground make-over and an “Ultimate Recess Day!” When you visit the site, there is a place to register, enter your code, and also some fun stuff for the kids to do as well! Me and my goofballs had a bit of fun creating our own “playground” game levels and playing them. You can also create posters too. The contest is running through February 8, 2012, so go get some Danimals and try and help your kids school! For more information visit: RallyforRecess.com.
“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Danimals and received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”www.momcentral.com/mcc