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.