Swiffer SweeperVac is kid friendly! Win a $40 Walmart card & buy it!

April 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Floors are hard for me to keep clean with 4 little kids and 2 dogs! Plus I just hate sweeping, vacuuming and mopping anyway. Luckily our oldest decided that he is ready for chores and he likes doing the floors! He is great at sweeping but has some trouble getting the dirt into the dust pan after and I usually have to help him. We received a new Swiffer SweeperVac to review from My Blog Spark and Ethan has claimed it as his! I have to say its perfect for a 7 year old to use! He does such a good job with it and its easy for him to maneuver. He even gave his 3 yr old little sister lessons and she can do it pretty well too. Its great for daily quick clean ups and even works on that evil plastic Easter grass. The BEST thing though, is the STAIRS! Today the boys raced to clean the Lego-filled wood stairs up to their room so they could use the Swiffer Vac on them. The worst part of doing floors has to be the stairs and this is the perfect solution for wooden stairs because it is cordless and light weight. We have been using it for weeks now and the kids haven’t lost interest so I’m loving it!

Pluses:

-it is much easier to grab this CORDLESS Swiffer Vac than to drag out the vacuum

-its easy enough for kids to use and fun enough that they want to use it! (huge plus)

-it works well on fine dust, our dog’s hair and the kid’s crumbs

-the head swizzles well

-its small and lightweight

-easy to pour dirt out of the bag-less compartment

-NO DUSTPAN

-in our experience the swiffer cloth can be used multiple times before it needs replacing (also can be turned over to use both sides)

-plugs in to recharge (easy red and green lights to let you know if its charged)

Minus:

-the only minus for us is that the kids like to use it so much that they want to keep going after the charge wears off, probably most people can do their floors before the charge is gone but, since the kids are using it and our floors get extra dirty, we could use more time before the charge is gone

Enter to win a $40 Walmart gift card so that you can go buy a Swiffer Vac:

  • leave a comment on this post letting me know what rooms in your house could use the Swiffer SweeperVac
  • for a second entry subscribe to our blog through your email and leave a second comment letting us know
  • US mailing addresses only
  • contest ends Friday May 14, 2010

*We were given the Swiffer Sweeper Vac and the $40 Walmart gift prize from My Blog Spark and P&G. We were not paid to write a review.

Jillian is 1 1/2!

April 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Birthday Parties, Our Life

I don’t know how it happened but my baby is 18 months already! In honor of her 1/2 birthday yesterday we ate 1/2 a cake (and then finished the other 1/2 for breakfast today along with some cut up fruit). It may have just been a 1/2 birthday but the kid made a FULL MESS!

Green Toys: The best play dishes!

April 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

In keeping with Earth Day and trying to be more green, I am pleased to share what I think are the best play dishes ever. Green Toys sent us a dish set to review and they are a big hit in our house. I like them because they are made in the USA from 100% recycled milk cartons, are sturdy, have great gender neutral colors and are safe for the dish washer. Oh and they arrived packaged in a simple card board box, without all the stupid twist ties and plastic windows that so many toys come in! The kids like that I actually give them real food on them because they are BPA free and food safe (and the bowls are the perfect size for ice cream). We have other play dishes that are made of a hard brittle plastic and they aren’t holding up so well (many have chipped and cracked including a well played with tea pot). I am thinking of giving those dishes away and ordering the kids the other sets that go with these new dishes. They also sell a tea set, a chef set and a cookware & dining set. The chef set is really cute, the little ladle and the lidded pot have me sold!

In addition to the kitchen sets, Green Toys makes some really cute trucks (see the recycling truck below), blocks, tug boats and more! Another big thing for me is that the Green Toys products are very affordable. Its so nice that there are more and more green toy alternatives, I hope its a trend that lasts!

*Oh I just saw these on the Today Show after I wrote this post, how cool but they didn’t tell you the name or how to buy them.

Zak Reusable Dot Straws GIVEAWAY!

April 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Here is another review inspired by Earth Day and making small efforts to be more Green. I don’t know how much other parents think about straws but they have been a source of guilt for me! The kids LOVE them and I don’t want to buy them because I think they are way too wasteful. I heard something about Oprah using some crazy fancy straw (I think made out of sterling silver maybe?) and it got me wondering if I could find reusable straws for my kids. I did some searching and found these fun Dot Straws and Zak Designs was kind enough to send me a set of 10 to review AND they will send one of you a set as well. I have to say that I am so happy with them! The guilt is gone because the kids are happy and we are not being wasteful. The straws are really fun looking and are working very well with the fruit smoothies I make the kids. I easily hand wash them and because they are clear you can be sure they are clean. I was concerned the kids would chew them up but they are actually pretty solid. I believe 1 yr old Jillian was gnawing on the end of one and now its a little scratched but thats the only one that shows any wear (and its still perfectly usable and uncracked). I am so pleased I found these straws, they may be a little thing but they make me very happy!

*update 4/26: I did find out that these straws are currently made out of a plastic that is not BPA free but Zak products included in their children’s collection of the site are all BPA free (these straws are from their home collection). Zak is working to get BPA out of its other products as well so hopefully the straws will be BPA in the future.

To enter to win a set of 10 Dot Straws:

  • Just leave me a comment on this post  (a “green” tip would be very nice if you feel like it)
  • Earn a second entry by visiting Zak Designs and find another product of theirs that interests you and leave me a second comment
  • Contest ends Friday May 7th, 2010

Peeled Snacks: “nothing added” is nice! WIN SOME!

April 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

In honor of Earth Day I am making more of an effort to review more GREEN products and I was very happy when Peeled Snacks sent me some of their dried fruit snacks to review AND I have a bunch to giveaway to someone. Peeled Snacks are organic dried fruit without any weird additives or preservatives. So the ingredients of the Banan-a-peel consist of bananas and that’s it. We tried all of the single serve fruit flavors: banana, mango, cherry, apple, pineapple and apricot. Our favorites were cherries and pineapple. Even though they are individual snacks I opened them at home and put them in cups with pretzels and nuts for the 3 big kids. I suppose my kids weren’t familiar with dried apples because when Ben came home from school he asked me why I sent him bad bananas in his snack! He thought the snack was old and didn’t eat it. So my only advice is to explain what the snacks are ahead of time! I also realized that my kids didn’t know what apricots were so we just called them “giant raisins” and they were a hit then! So many kids are used to the colorful “fruit snacks” that have no fruit in them and I wish more people would start to buy real dried fruit instead.

You can find Peeled Snacks at Starbucks (one of my favorite places lately!) and Whole Foods (wish we had one of those near us).

You can win the  Organic Fruit Picks Variety Pack:

  • Enjoy our 5 organic fruit Picks
  • Natural source of vitamins, minerals, iron & fiber
  • Contains 10 snacks: 2 each of pine-4-Pineapple, much-ado-about-Mango, Banan-a-peel, Apricot-a-lot & Apple-2-the-core

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know what flavor Peeled Snack you’re most interested in
  • To earn an extra entry become a fan of Peeled Snacks on Facebook and then leave me another comment
  • You can also get an extra entry by following Peeled Snacks on Twitter and leaving me another comment
  • Contest ends Saturday May 1st, 2010
  • CONTEST IS OVER, congratulations to Gary on winning!

Brothers

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Movies, Our Life

Kellogg’s Fiber Plus bars- try them!

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

I was sent some of Kellogg’s new Fiber Plus bars to try out and now I’m hooked. The samples didn’t last long here between me and the kids and I have since purchased several boxes at the store. I am buying them primarily for myself because I don’t always have time to eat breakfast weekday mornings. They are perfect to grab and eat in the car or if I have time they go very  well with a cup of coffee and a banana. One bar is enough that I am not starving by mid-morning. I am glad that they have lots of fiber because thats the big thing it seems everyone is lacking and I have been making an effort to get more. I liked all 3 flavors: Chocolatey Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate Almond (my favorite if I had to choose).

*Let me know if you’d like to try them, I can have samples sent to the first 2 people who are interested.

I’m trying to read labels more often so here you go (its more clear if you click on it):

Earth Month

April 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Our Life

I am making a conscious effort to think of ways to be more “GREEN” and in honor of Earth Day I’m planning on incorporating it in the blog this month (reviews of several great eco-products coming soon). When compared to a lot of Americans,  I think our family is fairly good but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Just because we may be a little greener than most doesn’t mean we are any where near green enough! Its tough, I think I’ll make a green list and a needs improvement list to help me with this! Here is what I came up with so far, any suggestions welcome:

Green list:

  • compared to our neighbors we seem to put out much less trash and missing a week putting out the garbage is no big deal for us
  • we buy very little cleaning products and with the exception of a rare bottle of bleach I buy all eco- cleaners
  • I use vinegar and baking soda to clean
  • I switched to eco-friendly laundry detergent
  • I use reusable grocery bags (almost every time)
  • I compost in spring/summer
  • we don’t eat a lot of meat
  • I avoid snack sized treats for the kids to save money and waste. I buy regular sized snacks and put them in reusable containers instead of baggies
  • we recycle and fortunately our area takes a big variety of recyclables
  • I save all clean plastic bags to recycle at the grocery store in their grocery bag collection bin and I put in my bread bags, frozen vegetable bags and any plastic bag that is clean (I hope I’m not including any that wouldn’t be recyclable but I’m not sure where to find that out)
  • we haven’t gotten the newspaper in years and read it online instead
  • I save lots of things to reuse for art projects with the kids (bottle caps, empty food boxes, metal lids, string from packaging, misc plastic, cardboard from frozen pizza boxes, etc…)
  • we have a garden (with the exception of my failed one last year)
  • we have chickens to get our own eggs in spring/summer
  • I don’t buy many clothes for our kids because we are given a lot of hand me down clothes for them (and we also give away their outgrown things)
  • I have turned down free items to review on the blog that I thought were wasteful
  • almost all our lights CFL now
  • I collect other people’s bagged leaves at the curb in the fall to use as mulch on my next years garden (keeps the weeds minimal, is free and totally worth feeling weird when I stop to throw the bags in my car)

Room for improvement:

  • I have been buying juice pouches recently to use when I am in a rush and haven’t washed or filled metal water bottles.
  • I should try to compost all year
  • I get coffee out at places that have disposable cups 1-2 times a week
  • I try to think about the packaging waste when I buy things and if there is an item that uses less waste I take that into consideration when making decisions. Its a start but I’m putting this in room for improvement so I can work on this more
  • John drinks lots of little soda bottles lately
  • We use disposable diapers but we don’t have plans for that to change, some guilt but just can’t handle cloth
  • I use paper towels more than I should
  • we do not buy as many environmentally friendly products as we could because of they are often more expensive
  • we could grow more produce in our garden
  • the boys are horrible about leaving their bedroom light on
  • we get too many gadgets?
  • we don’t unplug enough electronics/appliances when they aren’t being used

I miss the garden we had 2 years ago, hope this year is a good one!

Chili’s- YUMMY!

April 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

I was REALLY excited when Chili’s offered us a gift card to try out their new menu! I had only been to Chili’s a few times before because we don’t have one nearby but I remembered really liking it so I figured it was worth a trip. We found a Chili’s near a big waterfall and made it a very fun day trip! We got the quesso dip and cheese fries as appetizers because we were really hungry after our little hike. John and I both agreed the corn chips were perfect, they were thin, crispy and just really good chips! We were also pretty thristy. The boys really liked their frozen drinks and I enjoyed 2 frozen magaritas because it was happy hour and you get an extra one free! I got the shrimp tacos and they come with beans and rice- all of it really YUMMY! I  liked the taco sauce and was so glad my 4 tacos had cilantro in them. John got the taco combo: 2 shrimp and 2 chicken and he was happy as well. The kids all ate off the kids menu and had: grilled cheese, mac&cheese, cheeseburger and another grilled cheese. For sides they had fries, cinnamon apples and mandarin oranges. Jillian had cinnamon apples for her side and she was VERY into them (as you can see by how she licked her lips as she got a forkful)! I wish we had a Chili’s closer to our house because it would definitely be someplace I’d like to go frequently! All six of us were happy with our food at Chili’s (picky Ethan didn’t like 2 of the things we got but thats just how he is anywhere). Oh yes and we had very good service too! Doing this post and adding the pictures I took there is totally making me want to go back! The waterfall we went to is really great so we plan on doing the same trip again this summer or fall. THANKS CHILI’S for a great lunch!

*Chili’s  would like to inform you of the official launch of their new campaign site for Chili’s, ShoutOutToEatOut.com.  Users can upload a 10 to 30 second video telling them why they don’t want to cook tonight, and by doing so will be entered to win a $50 Chili’s gift card, which will be given away every day until August 30th, 2010. The official Twitter handle for the Shout Out To Eat Out campaign can be found under the Twitter username @ShoutOut2EatOut.

*We received a $50 gift card from Chili’s marketing team but were not compensated for writing this review.

Fashion Playtes review

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Fashion Playtes is such a clever fun site where young girls can design their own clothes and purchase their creations! Jamie and I were given the opportunity to design something to review and we both really enjoyed it. I think we did about 20 pieces of clothing before we decided on what to order. The site is very user-friendly and you can save your creations for future use. I think the prices are definitely low for custom made pieces! Jamie’s shirt and the shipping combined were less than $25 and nothing we created was more than $30. Jamie picked the material and since it was a print we kept the add-ons simple and just got a polka dot ruffle but there are so many options to choose from like ribbons, flowers, appliques and  rhinestones. The shirt didn’t take very long to arrive and Jamie was very pleased with it (me too, the material is even cuter in person and it has washed well)! My only concern is that I would recommend buying a size or two too big because the cut seems to be pretty form fitting. Jamie is 3 1/2 and she wears a size 4  most of the time but we ordered the 6 (the smallest size) and its not too big on her now.  I am sure it will fit for at least another year though so I think the 6 worked out perfect. Jamie is proud that she got to design her own shirt and it definitely makes it much more special to her. I think a gift certificate to Fashion Playtes would be a huge hit for any little girl on your shopping list!

*Fashion Playtes also has a BLOG where they currently have a contest running to win mother/daughter belts.

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