Sunday, September 30, 2012

Steps to a Healthier You

September was Self-Improvement Month. Have you made any improvements over the last month?

As a new mom, I'm shot. My energy is down, my hormones are jacked.. The good news is that I lost 40 pounds since having Zachary. Yay! But, last week we had a friend from up north come and visit, and she spoiled us with her home cooking, and delicious baked goods, and I'm up four pounds. So, I guess I've lost 36. Eh.

I've been trying to eat healthier. I nursed Zachary until a couple of weeks ago. I'm heartbroken about stopping, but we had latching and supply issues, so here we are. Breastfeeding encouraged me to eat more foods that I typically don't eat. Those of my friends that know me in real life, know that I wouldn't eat a tomato if my life depended on it. Never mind a tomato- that statement was true except for the three obvious ones... Corn, cauliflower, and broccoli. Smothered in butter, of course.

Uh, yeah. Hello carbs and heart attack. But it didn't stop me. I make green veggies, it's for the kids. They think I've already eaten my veggies while I was prepping dinner... or something, I haven't quite figured that out yet.

Anyway, back to my healthier decisions. So I've been eating vegetable stir fry like it's laced with crack. Seriously- my body's been craving it. Snap peas, leeks, carrots- the whole nine yards. I've been eating tomatoes, and I've been drinking boat loads of water. I'm determined to keep losing weight, and to find me again.

Cool Sculpting is hosting a Self-Improvement Instant Win Challenge, asking participants to make one small pledge on how they will improve their health and fitness routine. Everyone who enters will have a chance to win one of 10 instant win $50 Amazon e-cards, or the grand prize of a $500 American Express Gift Card!

If you live in New York, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa/St.Pete, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Indianapolis, or the surrounding areas, you are eligible to enter. To enter, visit the Cool Sculpting app on Facebook, HERE, and fill out the entry form. The contest is open until the 8th of October. Enter now, and let us know if you win one of the instant win prizes!

Special thanks to Cool Sculpting, for providing us with a promotional incentive in exchange for spreading the word about this contest.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Find Beauty In The Fall With Miracle-Gro

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Autumn is my favorite season of all. I love it when the leaves start to change, and mums go into bloom. Give me a beautiful fall colored flower bed, and I'm in heaven.

....The only problem with that is that I live in Florida now. Trees really don't change color too much, and mums bake in the sun. Daisies die in a heartbeat, so my flower beds consist of a lot of green shrub-like things. I decorate with a lot of sunflowers, as they are the ONLY fall-ish flower that does well in Florida, at least for me.

While searching for ways to spruce up our landscape and Find beauty in the Fall outside, I came up with several ways to beautify your flower beds with these Fall gardening tips from Miracle-Gro:
  • Add fall color (ornamentals, mums, pansies) to your landscape (garden beds or containers)
  • Grow fall or cool weather edibles (In the southeast, many leafy veggies are great!)
  • Get a head start for spring by planting bulbs
  • Plant trees and shrubs
MiracleGro Logo(1).jpg
Miracle-Gro offers a bunch of tips, no matter where you're located. For my area, they recommend using a garden soil specific to my gardens needs, (like Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Trees and Shrubs). For flowers they recommend using a product like Miracle-Gro Liquafeed which makes  feeding as easy as watering. It feeds the plants through the leaves and the roots, and is for use with all flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs. Simplifying my life = perfect for me!

The Miracle-Gro Facebook page has some great tips and techniques available from Fall Veggies through big, beautiful flowers. You'd be surprised with some of the things they teach you!
Although my flower beds aren't quite in an autumn mood yet, I can still get the feel inside. I'm burning my Scentsy warmer with the delicious smelling Carmel Pear Crisp, and preparing to make my own rendition of this autumn centerpiece I found on Pinterest:

Isn't it gorgeous?! They used elements from Pottery Barn, but I think I might have enough acorns outside to help make it look spectacular. There's a wreath just like the one they used in the picture at Target (in their dollar spot), and I'm sure I can grab some faux leaves from Michael's or Dollar Tree, even.
These are available at Dollar Tree, I think they would work, right?fall foliage at dollar tree
I need to just hunt down my hurricane vase centerpiece...or hope Dollar Tree has something I could use. Keep on the lookout for my spin-off centerpiece!

Visit Sponsor's Site


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kmart's Layaway Giveaway! Now through 11/17!

This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart Layaway blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Kmart_Logo_B&W.jpg (3 documents, 3 total pages)

It's hard to believe it's almost *that* time of the year again. In fact, I've already started buying and stowing away holiday gifts. As a family of five, with a husband who recently just started working again, I have no idea how I'm going to afford it all, but one idea my girlfriend gave me was using layaway at Kmart.

I don't know why I didn't think about that!! A few years ago, I used the free layaway program at Kmart, and scored some amazing deals on products that were super hard to find, the closer it got to December 25th. I knew I was good, and didn't have to kill myself (or someone else) looking for that special gift, and that my kids were going to wake up to exactly what they wanted. I'm 99% certain that this year I'm going to put our holiday gifts on layaway at Kmart, again.

BLG_Logo_Horizontal.jpg (3 documents, 3 total pages)
This year, there's an even better incentive to put your holiday wish list on layaway, because between now and November 17th, Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway is running! Every week, in EVERY store, one lucky person will WIN their entire Layaway! Talk about spreading holiday cheer!

Other companies have layaway, but Kmart offers you the most options, making it convenient for every family.
Kmart Free Layaway Grid 09_12.jpg

Check out your local Kmart, hit the sales fliers, and put your wishlist on layaway now, and you'll automatically be entered to win Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway! So... what would you put on your layaway? Stuff for the kids? For your significant other? Stuff for you??

These are a few of my favorite things:
Notice how I snuck something in there for me?? *Hint, Hint, hubster*

Visit Sponsor's Site


Coupons-Great Savings at Walmart

Get these great savings at Walmart, but hurry, these coupons won't last long!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

7 Delicious Summer Side Dishes

Up in NY, we celebrated Columbus Day weekend with an official "End of Summer" BBQ. Before you pack your grill away, check out this list of spectacular summer side dishes, courtesy of Kraft Kitchens: (click on the pictures to bring you to the recipes).

This blend of red potatoes, carrots, Parmesan Cheese, and Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise
cooked on the grill is an innovative spin-off of the classic styled scalloped potatoes.

Creamy Corn and Zucchini is perfect for when guests come over. 
They'll be begging you for the recipe before they leave!

Zesty Grilled Veggies is a quick and delicious way to combine zucchini and peppers.

 Chocolate-Cherry Clafouti appeals to the sweeter side of summer.
Not too indulgent, but definitely tasty.
Read some of the reviews for other cooking suggestions and tips.

 These BBQ Chicken and Peach Kabobs with Bacon
could be used as a meal or a side. Perhaps during a family get together?

Easy "Baked" Tomatoes... on the grill. Deliciousness!

  This Marinated Zucchini and Parsley Salad
is refreshing for any palate!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Garage Door Home Safety Tips + $25 Visa GC Giveaway Ends 10/2

Every day, you take measures to protect your children in each room of your home. In the kitchen, you don’t let them touch a hot oven. In your home office or study, you don’t let them climb the bookcase. In the laundry room, you don’t let them play with the washing machine or dryer. But in your front yard, do you let them play near or touch the heaviest moving object in your home: your garage door?

I never really thought about garage door safety, as our old house had no controller, and ours recently stopped working. Did you know that a garage door weighs more than 125 pounds? It made me think about when our kids were younger, how they wanted to help close the door. They know that it's not safe to be around the door when it's moving on its own. Thankfully, our system has a safety mechanism which makes it stop and/or reverse if a movement is detected in the space between the door and the floor.

If you have a garage door, you really need to take the Garage Door Safety Quiz. The IDA (International Door Association) offers a quick quiz on its website,, to test you and your family’s garage door safety smarts. At only five questions, it takes just minutes to complete but could keep you and your family safe from potential hazards.

Here is an acronym to help parents teach their young children the do's and don'ts of garage doors, and how to be "D.O.O.R Safe":

Doors are heavy- never stand, run, or play under or near any garage door, especially when the door is open or moving
Openers are for adults! Never play with the button on the wall that opens and closes the garage door.
Ouch! Never touch any part of a moving garage door. Your fingers and hands can get hurt! ·
Remotes are for adults – never play with the remote control in the car or on Mom and Dad’s keychain.

Keep your kids safe and learn more about garage door safety, click here.

Our friends at IDA have offered our readers a chance to win a $25 Visa Gift Card.

To enter to win, take the garage door safety quiz, then come back here. Click on the Easy Entry option below and tell me your score. Once you submit that information, take advantage of our extra entry opportunities.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dunkin Donuts Coupons (Mobile or Printable) Exp. 9/30

Dunkin’ Donuts has distributed six national coupons as a way for guests to welcome new seasonal menu items and classic favorites.

Catering to both groups and individuals, the following coupons are valid at participating U.S. Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and expire 9/30/12:

1. $1.00 off a Dozen Donuts
 2. $1.00 off Bagel and Cream Cheese
3. Buy a Box of Joe®, receive 6 free Donuts
 4. $0.99* small Hot or Iced Latte
5. $1.00 off any 4 count of muffins
6. $0.99* small Iced Tea

*Plus applicable sales tax

To redeem, print out the coupons from, or have the coupon barcode scanned from a mobile phone. Please visit and check out “Dunkin’ Offers” for links to download.


4G Boost Mobile + Loyalty Benefits

This post brought to you by Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

So, we're in the market for a new phone for the hubster. The thing is, he's really hard on his phones, and usually ends up with a new one before the contract is up, and we end up paying out the wazoo.

Recently, I received a promotional email sharing this information from Boost Mobile, and thought that it was too good not to share with you. If you have Boost Mobile, I would love to hear your opinions!!

Additional Requirements and Supplemental Elements :: SocialSpark

So, here's the nitty gritty:
  • Boost Mobile offers customers one of the best values out there in the pre-paid wireless industry including but not limited to talk, text and Internet, without contacts and with a loyalty program.
  • Boost Mobile doesn’t tie you down to a contract. On the contrary, having Boost Mobile doesn’t require you to have a credit check or contract to stay with them. However, if you do decide to stay with them, Boost Mobile will reward your loyalty every month on your bill.
  • With 4G you get faster data speeds and the ability to do different things at once without having to sacrifice network, speed and quality to do the things you want to do; like streaming, recording video and downloading email. (On the Sprint network!)
  • You can get a HTC Evo Design with the 4G network on Boost Mobile, or choose from other handsets.
My husband really likes the idea of the "shrinking payments". After you've been a customer for six months, Boost Mobile rewards their customers by reducing your bill in $5 increments each month, for a max of $15 off of your monthly bill- that means you can have 4G coverage with an amazing plan at only $40 a month! In my opinion- that's totally worth it for my husband. As for me, right now I'm stuck on a contract, but I like my phone and my deal isn't too shabby, but when it comes time for it to expire, I may check it out.

I only know one family who has Boost Mobile, but they live up in Indiana. Do you or someone you know have Boost Mobile 4G? I'd love to know how you like it! Share by commenting below.

Visit Sponsor's Site


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Minted Giveaway: Where Art, Designers, and Stationary Mix -Ends 9/28

I cannot believe my little man is almost 5 months old. What's more incomprehensible is the fact that I still haven't sent out any type of announcement. {blush}

While looking for that perfect announcement, I found myself oohing and awwing at Holy. Moly. From unique shapes, and funky, fresh designs, to classic, or modern, I fell in love with just about all of them! Easily customizable, the announcements are SO cute, there are no words.

Then I kept clicking and found Holiday Cards. I just couldn't get enough! They have stationary for weddings (like Save the Dates and invitations), as well as a variety of other items. Some of the Holiday cards they offer are not even "traditional" holidays; they offer Halloween cards, New Years Cards, Hanukkah, Christmas, and even Diwali cards, too!

I think what I love about Minted is that it's an online stationery store powered by a global community of designers. Designers submit their art, the Minted community votes on it, and then you see it sold online. Fabulous. Ingenious. Truly, something just as unique as you crave. Well, as unique as I crave.

To check out possible new designs, you can browse the Inspiration Boards, here.

Not looking for any stationary type products? That's ok.. Minted also offers Custom Art, and Art Prints. They have something for everyone- from Nursery Art, to Mother Art, to Family Tree Art and Custom Art Gifts.

I love Minted so much, that I want to share it with you! One lucky reader is going to win  $50 + free shipping towards any product!

Here's how it's going to work: 
Visit, find an item you love, need, or have to have. Come back here, click on the RaffleCopter Entry form below, and tell me what it is.  

Please be specific. Any vague entries, (like "I like the baby art") will be deleted. You can copy the link and paste it in the entry form, if that's easier.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway  


Friday, September 21, 2012

Best iPad Apps You Can Play With Your Kids

Since iPads have been released, developers have also released millions of applications for these iPads. Because of all the different types of apps that are available to users now, it has become common to let children play on iPads and even learn from them. They have become a helpful tool in letting kids experience child-friendly games, develop their creativity, and help them to learn basic skills, like reading, writing and more- both inside the classroom, and at home.

The following apps are recommended most highly for children:

Children's Game Apps One game that seems to be a hit with children as well as adults is Angry Birds. It involves critical thinking in a puzzle format so it's a great game for children. Another game fit for children that also has hidden critical thinking motives is Lego Creationary. In this game, there are four pictures given to the child. One of these four creations is built for the child and he or she has to pick which creation will appear before the clock runs out. It helps them project images in their mind and follow a pattern with a time restriction. Yet another game for children with puzzle-related strategy involved is Cut The Rope. In this game, the player tries to get candy into the Om Nom's (the game character's) mouth. Players do this by cutting rope in certain orders at certain times so that the candy swings into Om Nom's mouth and moves the player to the next level of the game.

Creativity Boosting Apps Creating new images as a way to enhance your child's creativity is made easy, mess free, and cheap with Kid Art for iPad. It gives children the opportunity to draw while integrating pre-made images and backgrounds. Another particularly interesting art app for children is Doodlecast for Kids. This allows children to draw pictures and also record their voice. They can then attach these recordings to multiple pictures and string images and voice recordings together to make a three-minute long video.

Learning Apps One of the most highly rated apps for children learning to write is Ace Writer- Alphabet Series. This app lets children see an image of a letter or something that starts with that letter, a simulation of how to draw that letter, and a traceable area for the child to try drawing it. For the older child, try Times Tables: Squeebles Multiplication, which makes multiplication fun with the help of delightful animations and sounds. Or, if your child is learning geography, give them a leg up with Barefoot World Atlas. It makes geography fun with animation, images, and sounds.

Bobby Spieran is an elementary tutor and a contributing author for


Publix Run In-Run Out +$25 GC Giveaway! Ends 9/29

Getting the kids ready for school in the morning can be stressful enough without someone yelling, “Mom we ran out of toilet paper!” Instead of feeling frustrated because you can’t squeeze the remains from a tube of toothpaste or realizing there are no after-school snacks in the house when the kids hop off the bus, stock up on the products you use every day and breathe a little easier.

This September, visit your local Publix® during the Running Out? Run In. promotion and receive rewards for buying the General Mills and Procter and Gamble items your family uses most, like Cheerios, Totino’s, Charmin and Crest.

Prepare for weekday mayhem this fall with the help of Publix. From September 20th through September 26th, look for the “Running Out? Run In.” event at your local Publix store and “run in,” to take advantage of great savings on some of your favorite brands. Buy any of the 6 participating items such as, Pampers Diapers, Tide Pods, and Yoplait Yogurt Kids, and receive a free gallon of Publix milk. For more details on this great offer, visit

Yesterday, I ran into Publix and scored a great deal on cereal- Cheerios were BOGO! They even put a great coupon flyer (with over $13 of savings) in my bag!

What do you need to run in for? Why not use a $25 gift card to grab what you like??

Thanks to our friends at MyBlogSpark and General Mills, you can enter to win a $25 Gift Card below!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Skin Cancer Scare- Check Yourself

The last few weeks have been crazy. Absolutely nuts, and it included another cancer scare. Here's my story.

I decided to take advantage of a free skin cancer screening at a local dermatologist. Honestly, this was not something I was leaping at the opportunity to take, but something I felt that I should do. I had a birth mark on my hip that was there since I was a kid. It was starting to look funny. So much so, that my husband was poking fun at it.

Since the mailer came, I've been thinking of calling, and procrastinating. Finally, I bit the bullet and just made the appointment.

I showed her the spot on my hip, and a raised beauty mark on my arm. She wasn't that thrilled with the spot on my leg- it had all of the components of skin cancer: multiple colors, irregular shape, edges that faded, texture. She did a full exam, and found another, very small, round beauty mark on my shoulder blade.. almost by where my bra strap sits. Under the light that she had, she thought it looked different shades of color, too. She wanted to biopsy all three of them.

I went in on Monday, the 17th to get the biopsies done. I was told it could take 1-2 weeks, but sometimes, only a day or two. The assistant laughed and said, "now that I told you that, I'm sure it will take closer to two". Although she giggled, I did not. I had peace with the whole situation, but was still a little nervous. They gave me a phone number to check, and told me that they only call "if it's something" or closer to that two week mark.

I got a phone call the next day. I almost threw up.

The spot on my hip, thank God, was fine. The arm, fine. The shoulder blade, a spot that to me and my husband looked like a regular old beauty mark was precancerous. Not cancer, but precancerous. Still too close for comfort. She wanted to have me come in for a mini-surgery, where they take three times the width, and three times the depth to go completely skin deep. The purpose was to remove any cells that may or may not have been affected. I made the appointment for Wednesday.

The surgery went well. One to two stitches became 7ish. I don't have a before picture, but I have an after- this was after the bandage fell off Wednesday night. It's a little red, because of the anesthetic, and the fact that the bandage ripped off, while I was attempting to change my shirt.

It hurts a little, tingly, and sore. I asked her to look at one other spot that was covered by undergarments at the first appointment, that I didn't even think to show her, that she wants to biopsy when I get my stitches out, because she doesn't like that one, either.

The moral of this story. Go get checked out. I don't know how to tell you if it is skin cancer or not. There are sites that tell you warning signs, but mine- to my and my husband- looked like a normal birthmark. The fact that it was precancerous was a good thing. The bad news is, is that if I would have left it until I was 40 or 50, it probably would have been cancer.

Checking your body every month is a great way to notice if things have changed or look different in any way. Check your spouse. Have your spouse check you. Face it, you can't see every spot. A dermatologist can, though. Early detection is the best fight against cancer.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Polly Pocket Playtime Pet Shop Review

With two girls who LOVE Polly Pocket in the 4BabyAndMom family, we are constantly hearing screeches of how they *NEED* want or HAVE to have whatever they see on TV, or whatever they see at the store. Babs is 6 and Mia is nine, so they're pretty opinionated, and know what they like.

We recently received the new Polly Pocket Playtime Pet Shop and a Polly Pocket Friends Finish First DVD to review. First- holy moly! We've never seen Polly Pocket on TV before, so the girls were ECSTATIC! They watched it over and over and over... well, you get the drift. I was finally able to get some stuff done around the house (*ahem*, I was not on pinterest-thank-you-very-much.. ok, maybe I was a little).

The play set was fabulous!  The Playtime Pet Shop allowed the girls to play with their Polly Pockets and animals- both of their favorites. It was even more fun when they decided to grab the suction shoes from the other play set we reviewed in August.

The Hangout House quickly became a favorite- but playing with both of them together, was even more fun. There's a cool "treat dispenser" that the miniature bones can fall out of, and Babs would just crack up every time it came out. The bad news is, like a lot of toys with teeny tiny parts, the bones went missing for a few days until they cleaned the room. Mia liked the fact that you could have the doggy sit in the window (to which I had to serenade them with "How Much is That Doggy In the Window") and the wheel that allows you to showcase the pet waiting for adoption.

The girls only complaint was that again, it didn't come with more than one Polly Pocket friend. Babs also has brown hair; she hasn't put it together that Polly is blonde- like Mia- and asks every.single.time why Polly doesn't have brown hair this time. They feel that if friends or sisters want to play with the larger play sets together, they should each be able to have a person to play with. Santa needs to get his act together, and hunt for Polly's friends so Babs has some people to play with, too.

I love the suction cups.. and the fact that they really work. I really thought that they would be kind of.... a good idea, but one that quickly fell apart or stopped working, but so far, so good. The girls love them, too, so I guess that's what's more important. I also love the fact that most of the items are a little larger, taller, or more tangible for the kids. That's good for me, and my vacuum, because it's less meltdowns because *something* of Polly's isn't floating in my vacuum canister.

If you have a little lady who loves Polly Pocket- add these two play sets to your 'must have' lists for the holidays- we have! If you can find the DVD, look into that as well. I haven't found it in stores, but Amazon has some old school ones.

The way our kids love them, I can see both of these play sets being named one of the super hot toys, come November.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mattel Polly Pocket. I received a product samples and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holy Guacamole Tijuana Flats Free Guac!

Who knew it was National Guacamole Day?!?! Print out this offer from Tijuana Flats and score free guacamole. It's a great excuse to take yourself to Tijuana Flats! ENJOY!!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

How do you cook?

So many changes are coming soon, I'm super excited and CAN.NOT.WAIT! I'm in a crazy kids-are-getting-stir-crazy-back-to-school-projects-homework-ballet-OT-insanity mode, which I'm pretty certain others are too.. at least I hope they are.. but I'm pretty certain they are (judging by the random frazzled facebook statuses I read daily.)

We are going to be adding a new blogger to our 4BabyAndMom family, and I can't wait to make introductions.

In the meantime, I want to know- how do YOU like to cook? Grill? Stove-top? Oven? Slow Cooker? Tell me what you like to cook, (FOR DINNER- I'd much rather brownies, too) and how. I promise there's a reason, and you'll find that out soon, too. Ooh, and if you can let us know what your preferred supermarkets are, I'd love to know that, as well.

Now I have to get off of here and figure out what I'm making for dinner...


Friday, September 7, 2012

Free LeapPad Apps

So I stumbled upon these coupon codes for free LeapPad Apps, and I figured I should share them with you!

How to redeem the codes:
Click on "LeapPad Home". Once you are in the connect software, click on "Go to App Center". On the right hand tool bar, there's a gold button that says redeem code, click it. Enter these codes, one at a time, and it will upload straight to your child's Leap Pad.

Free eBook: "The Book of Super Awesome Stuff":
5813 1140 1518 1413

Free "Alphabet Soup" Game:
5813 0790 4610 4973

Have fun!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Never Again Sketchers- Epic Fail

You think I would have learned last year. Last year, Abbie wanted the light up Twinkle Toes just like every other little girl out there. We searched high and low and got her the perfect pair, and made her kindergarten life complete. Then the jewels started to pop off one by one, to the point that we gave up gluing random replacements on and threw them out.

Marissa came up with a great DIY Twinkle Toes that cost about $3, plus random craft items from her craft box. We made the kids some Sparkle Faux sneakers, and called it a day.

So this year, my daughter wanted pink and white sparkly shoes. We fell in love with a pair of discontinued Nikes, and searched everywhere for a similar replacement. A friend of ours, (my kids call her grandma) sent a pair of adorable Sketchers that met the bill, and Abbie fell in love! They were white, and had pink striped soles, pink sparkly liner and insoles, silver sparkles in the laces, and even (detachable) sparkly pom-poms on the heel. She was so excited to wear them for school.

She wore them twice, and now I'm searching for a new pair of sneakers for her. Why? Because the picture above shows the ONLY part of both shoes that does not look torn up. The pom-poms fall off, and she gets frustrated, but that can be over looked. It turns out that on almost EVERY seam line, the "pleather" has pulled away, shredded, and disintegrated. We have no animals, but I would say they look like a dog chewed them up! She wore them TWO times. On non- PE days.. and this is what they look like:

None of her other shoes look like this!!! Her cheap, sparkly-Walmart's own- black sneakers that she's worn for PE don't look like this. What the heck, Sketchers?!?! (Oh and for what it's worth, the shoes are not really that dirty- the worn areas pick up our ashy dirt like nobody's business. Plus, the under layer is like a yellow/grey almost cloth texture.)

Sketchers used to be a brand that meant 'stylish, quality footwear for the family'. To our family it now means 'we will never buy again'. Plain and simple. I don't think it would be that bad if it was just us. But since I've been stewing on this post this entire week, I posted a picture to facebook, and received SEVERAL other messages from friends and family that said that their child's Sketchers fell apart less than a month after they started wearing them.

I am really unhappy about our experience, and I wanted to make sure that I shared this post with you, to forewarn you in case you have a similar experience. I know that not all shoes are created equally, but I never expected this from Sketchers.

What brand of back to school shoes did you get for your child? Now I need to hunt for a cute pair of every day sneakers for my daughter.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jewelry Candle Giveaway -Ends 9/15

Jewelry_Candle_logoNow that my kids are back in school, I'm taking a few moments to concentrate on me. Yes, I still have the baby home, but it's nice to be able to light a candle and soak in a tub or read a book.. something that I can never do over the summer.

I love products that make my home smell nice; whether it's warm and inviting, or fresh and fruity, you can usually catch a candle at my house, a plug in or a wickless candle simmering somewhere.

I happen to love food scents.. it's like submitting to my cravings, without any extra calories! Plus, when guests come over it smells like warm Baked Apple Pie, a fresh Blueberry Muffin, or an ooey-gooey Cinnamon Bun.

Jewelry Candles is a candle company which produces the highest grade soy-wax candles (which burn for up to 150 hours!), with an added bonus. Buried inside the candle, a piece of jewelry is hiding, just for you!

From the Jewelry Candles website:
Inspired by the American Classic, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory! Instead of a golden ticket in a chocolate bar, you get Premium Soy Wax Candles with jewelry hidden inside worth anywhere from $10 to $7500! You may get a ring, bracelet , necklace, pendant, anklets or beautiful pair of earrings in your candle! You just never know what you are going to get!
With over 30 different scents, Jewelry Candle is sure to have something you'll love. These candles make a great gift for a sister, mom, or friend. Jewelry Candles are currently priced at $24.95 per candle, or $120 for a five pack. Plus, if you love what you get, you can sign up for their brand new Candle Club.

Whether it's costume jewelry or the real deal, fans are delighted to find their little foil package, and unwrap their surprise. You can learn more at Become a fan on Facebook to enter their giveaways and stay up to date on new and exciting scents.

Because we love our fans, these blogs have joined together with Jewelry Candles to host a giveaway for a Mango Papaya Jewelry Candle! Visit these great blogs to read fun articles, enter more great giveaways, and get great tips on everything from eating Gluten Free, being Green, Recipes, Coupons, and MORE!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pie Pops Lemon Meringue Recipe

The latest craze for snackers seems to be just about anything on a stick- cake pops, brownie pops, ice cream or yogurt pops, fruit pops, and now- pie pops.

Lemon-meringue-pie-pop-recipeI have to admit, that does look scrumptious, doesn't it? This frozen take on lemon meringue pie has a graham cracker crust, creamy lemon filling and a fluffy topping. Perfect for your holiday weekend, and easy to make. The longest part is the freezing. Prep tonight and eat tomorrow! Lemon Meringue not your thing? Check out for more frozen pop ideas, and if you sign up for their emails, they'll come straight to your inbox.

Here's the recipe that got delivered to my inbox this morning from Pillsbury:

  • 1 box (4-serving size) lemon instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free lemon burst yogurt
  • 7 tablespoons coarsely crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

In medium bowl, beat pudding mix and half-and-half with whisk 2 minutes. Beat in lemon juice and yogurt.

Pour about 1/3 cup mixture into each of 7 (5-oz) paper cups. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon graham crackers. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 6 hours or until frozen.

When ready to serve pops, in small bowl, beat marshmallow creme and 1 tablespoon of the whipping cream with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add remaining whipping cream, increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Remove each pop from cup. Spread top of each with about 2 tablespoons marshmallow mixture, forming meringue peaks.

If you can't find lemon burst yogurt, you can substitute French vanilla.

For nutritional information, or more delicious snack ideas, visit



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