Sprinkler and water balloons

May 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Family Activities

The weather was HOT and humid the last 2 days. Yesterday I kept the boys home from school because I thought we could use a day off and it was a great day. Today we were back to school and it was Jamie’s last day of preschool for the year. After we picked up the boys from school we stayed at the playground like we normally do but there were hardly any other kids because it was too hot. I held out as long as I could and then brought them home to do the sprinkler and water balloons. It was crazy fun and educational too -Jillian worked on her colors. I tried to keep Jillian’s wheelbarrow stocked with one of each color and she said the names with me as I filled all the balloons. My fingers got pruney from all the filling. Its been my side mission lately to get all 4 kids in pictures together and I was able to get some goofy ones. Good afternoon but I didn’t make dinner yet and I’m on the computer now instead feeding Jillian. Oh well, John hasn’t left work yet anyway! Maybe I succeeded in tiring them out enough that I can give them a fast dinner and early bedtime?

Dinosaur Train – new episodes starting May 24th!

May 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Our kids are huge PBS fans (we purposely don’t have cable or satellite) and they have loved all of the Dinosaur Train episodes since it premiered.  The Jim Henson Company sent us a DVD so that we could see the new episodes of Dinosaur Train early and the kids felt special that they got to see them “before everyone else”! Of course they were not disappointed with what they saw. Mr Conductor’s nephew is introduced as part of the new Dinosaur Train World Tour episodes. Dinosaur Train is geared towards ages 3-6 but Ethan is  7 1/2 and really likes watching with his younger brother and sister. When it comes to the shows my kids watch, I am very picky and its definitely a show I approve of!

Check out the Dinosaur Train PBS site for 2 new online games!

TV times for Dinosaur Train

Synopses:
WEEK OF MAY 24
“Pteranodon Family World Tour;” “Gilbert the Junior Conductor” – The entire Pteranodon family embarks on a roaring, exploring, World Tour adventure! The Pteranodon family continues with Gilbert, the Conductor’s nephew.

“Confuciusornis Says;” “Tiny’s Tiny Doll” – The next stop on the Dinosaur Train World Tour takes the Pteranodon family to Confuciusornis Gardens, where they meet a very wise old dinosaur. During a stop on the Pteranodon family’s World Tour, Tiny accidentally leaves her beloved Tiny Doll behind in Velociraptor Valley and it takes several new dinosaurs to return it to her.

“Iggy Iguanodon;” “Shiny Can’t Sleep” – The Pteranodon family continues their World Tour and meets Iggy Iguanodon, a large, four-legged chap who shows them his unique way of walking. During the World Tour Shiny is homesick and having a hard time falling asleep on the train so Mrs. Conductor and Dad help her discover all of the wonderful nighttime surprises on the  Dinosaur Train.

“Kenny Kentrosaurus;” “Don and the Troodons” – As the Pteranodon family’s World Tour continues, they travel to Africa to meet a Stegosaur named Kenny Kentrosaurus.
The Pteranodon family oversleeps and has to hurry to make another guided walk on their World Tour!

Eco Store review! Thumbs UP!

May 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

We need to keep the message of Earth Day going all year so I’m going to try be more GREEN on the blog and in real life. Eco Store USA is a company that I am very excited to help spread the word about! Eco Store was founded in New Zealand and has branched out to the USA now to provide  Baby Care, Bath & Body, Hair Care, Household and Pet Care products with “NO NASTY CHEMICALS”! They let me choose two of their products for free to review and I chose the Front Loader Laundry Powder and the Auto Dish Powder. I am now a big fan of these products and here are some of the reasons why:

  • I have been trying to do away with “normal” harmfull cleaning products for awhile, especially since we have 4 young kids.
  • The dish powder comes in a bottle with a CHILD PROOF CAP! This is very helpful with a 1 1/2 year old monkey in the house. Jillian can reach things near the edge of the counter and will go get a chair if she sees something she can’t reach.
  • Maybe its just me but I have gotten several boxes of dish powder soaked over the years when there is a spill on the counter or a leak under the sink and I am really happy to not have to worry about that with a recyclable plastic bottle.
  • Both products are SUPER CONCENTRATED! Just a tablespoon of dish powder (I use one cap full) is all you use so the bottle goes a long way. I have tried an eco-friendly brand at the grocery store but I have to use a lot of it and the box goes really quickly.
  • My dishes and laundry are clean
  • The clothes smell fresh but not perfumey
  • Eco Store ships their products safely in completely recyclable packaging including packing peanuts made out of soy. They just dissolve in water! However its a great bonus art material for the kids, you just give them a little bowl of water to dip the end of the peanut and it will stick to another peanut and bond very quickly. My kids made animals and people mostly and I gave them markers to draw faces on, I definitely recommend trying it out!  (The only problem was that our dog Casey apparently likes the taste of soy packing peanuts and ate some of the kids creations, we have a weird dog I guess!)
  • NO HORRIBLE chemical TASTE in my silicone bake ware and bowls. Okay I am going to go into a rant here and I am not a fan of rants or complaining on the blog BUT I feel very strongly about this so I am making an exception! If you have silicone products (and some other plastics) and use them with the big name brand in the green box it is a huge recipe for disaster. I have ruined several batches of muffins and lots of leftover foods when that name brand tainted my silicone bake ware and the plastic lids to my Pyrex bowls. I wrote to the company and told them what happened and they made some lame excuses and sent me some free coupons (which I did NOT want and gave away). I thought maybe my older dishwasher could have been partially to blame but then last month my mom brought over a cake that she made in her silicone cake pans and I had to throw out the whole cake because it was completely “cask-aid”  flavored despite that she has a brand new dishwasher. Luckily washing the silicone a few times with eco-friendly dish powder got the chemical taste out. I will never use any brand of regular dish powder EVER again, the thought of it totally scares me!
  • and most importantly: “no nasty chemicals” gives me peace of mind

*You can also check out the Eco Store USA blog here!

I need a Playtex Bra Makeover please!

May 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests

After having and four kids I totally need a bra makeover (as well as pretty much ANY kind of makeover you can think of)! I have been primarily wearing nursing bras for almost 8 years and now that I will be done breastfeeding in a few months I have been thinking about finding some new regular bras. Its exciting to think about buying new bras but a little bit overwhelming though!  I don’t even remember what kind of bra I liked pre-babies and I have no idea what size I am. I just heard about the Playtex Bra Makeover contest and it is perfect timing for me! Here is the info:

Playtex just launched the site www.PlaytexBraMakeover.com, where women can go to apply for a bra makeover or nominate a friend. If chosen, the winner will be flown to New York to receive a Bra Makeover with style expert Alison Deyette. Deyette is a fashion and trend lifestyle expert who has been featured on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker and TLC’s Ten Years Younger, as well as in print publications including Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, and O Magazine. Apply for your chance to win a Playtex Bra Makeover today. The last day to apply is Friday, May 21st, 2010. The 10 winners selected for a Bra Makeover will also star in their very own webisode wherein a makeover candidate will receive a fitting with Deyette and walk away with the perfect Playtex products. A new webisode will premier on www.PlaytexBraMakeover.com every two weeks.

*By posting this information, I am entered into a contest to win a free bra from Playtex. I did not receive any compensation for this post and thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Fashion Playtes $10 coupon code

May 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Fashion Playtes lets girls design their own clothes  and to celebrate the company’s brand new spring line, they are offering our readers the code “myfamily10” to save $10 off their next merchandise order of $35 or more at FashionPlaytes.com (code is valid through 5/31/10 and the only restriction is that it doesn’t apply to gift cards!) Fashion Playtes has just added some fantastic garments for the spring & summer season like tank dresses, denim skirts, flared capri leggings, &  more that girls can of course customize to express their own sense of style. Jamie is still loving her shirt that we designed for our Fashion Playtes review!

*Also right now any item in the bleached sand color is 40% off!

Snakes and girls

May 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Our Life

At least one of my good friends is super afraid of snakes. I just don’t get it. I don’t madly LOVE snakes (don’t want any inside the house) but I think they are really neat and I am so happy we get a bunch in our backyard. This year we keep seeing a cute little snake on our back deck and Ethan just saw it shed today.  The kids touched the snake in this picture and it was pretty tame. It is not as tame as our beloved Spikey but maybe in time. Its almost like having  pet snakes without any responsibility! Anyway if you’re a mom that hates snakes PLEASE don’t pass it on to your girls! I love that Jamie and Jillian will play with snakes and worms and other “creepy” stuff just like their brothers. Jamie actually just named a spider in the garage today (I will have to hide that I am not a spider fan, is that hypocritical?)!

*Just looked and we have at least FOUR Spikey posts, made me miss that snake more and think we are a bit nuts!

Spikey: our garter snake pet

Spikey returns

Spikey siting

How to build a snake house

Wonder Smartwhite

May 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Luckily my kids will eat whole wheat bread happily but there are lots of kids who only want white bread and it can be frustrating for parents looking to offer healthier breads. Now Wonder is adding fiber to white bread so that it has the same amount as whole wheat. Even though my kids like whole wheat bread I still crave white bread when I want a PB&J so Wonder Smartwhite is a nice option. We were sent a loaf to test out and everyone liked it. I was very happy that it tasted like regular Wonder bread and I enjoyed some PB&Js like I remember from my childhood.

Here is some more info from Wonder bread: Wonder, the baker of America’s best selling brand of white bread, has introduced Wonder® Smartwhite™, a new bread with the taste and soft texture of white bread – but with the fiber of 100% whole wheat bread.  The launch extends the brand’s existing menu of breads for families who prefer the taste of white bread and who are looking to fit more nutrition into their overall diet.In addition to providing five grams of fiber per serving and calcium equal to an eight ounce glass of milk in two slices, Wonder Smartwhite provides a good source of nine vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin D and folic acid and has 33 percent less sodium than regular white bread.  Each slice of Wonder Smartwhite is only 50 calories.“Many families who enjoy the taste of white bread are looking for options that offer increased nutrition.” said Stephany Verstraete, Vice President of Marketing for Wonder Bread. “The Wonder Smartwhite launch highlights Wonder’s focus on providing parents with great tasting, nutritious options from a brand they know and trust.”Consumer awareness and interest in fiber rich products continues to grow, with approximately 60 percent of consumers looking for ways to increase the amount of fiber in their diets (The NPD Group’s 24th Annual Eating Patterns in America Report).News of Smartwhite is the latest in a long history of offering enhanced nutrition.  As of late last year, two of Wonder’s most popular breads – Wonder Classic and Wonder Classic Sandwich – now provide the same amount of calcium as eight ounces of milk in two slices and are good sources of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium better. Previously, Wonder was one of the first brands to introduce a white bread made with whole grain – Wonder Made With Whole Grain White – a breakthrough product with the taste and texture of white bread that consumers have gravitated to.  Wonder was also one of the first major bread brands to include nutrition information on its packaging.
Wonder Smartwhite will also be added as a new bread variety on the Sandwich Wonder-izer, a free app for the iPhone and iTouch launched this year that enables consumers to create unique sandwich combinations from a list of more than 120 ingredients.   Available at the Apple® iTunes store, the Sandwich Wonder-izer app can create billions of sandwiches and, at the same time, show users how close they come to fulfilling the daily recommended amounts of key vitamins and minerals.  The Sandwich Wonder-izer is also available online at www.wonderbread.com.

For more information about Wonder Bread visit, www.wonderbread.com.  Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/_Wonder_Bread.

Which Pantene is right for your hair? Win a $25 Walmart giftcard & buy some.

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Pantene is launching a new line this month: customized solutions for your unique hair type! Since I was a teen Pantene has been a brand that I have always thought of favorably.

Pantene and My Blog Spark sent me a Pantene Scientific Hair Test kit that included product information and  a sample size shampoo and conditioner for each of Pantene’s four hair type products: medium-thick, fine, color treated or curly hair. Within the kit I also received a $25 Walmart gift card to give away to one of my readers to purchase some Pantene products too. I have fairly wavy hair and could really use both the thick and curly products but I discovered that I prefer the curly. I was very pleased with the feel and smell of the products when I used them. Most importantly I was able to comb my hair through easily while rinsing out the conditioner (and that is huge to me since my hair is thick and knots easily). I always use some type of finishing product so its hard to give all the credit to the Pantene shampoo and conditioner but I did think I had “good hair days” when I used them! My mom conveniently has both fine and color treated hair so I gave her those samples (its funny but we have a ton of hair types in my family). Pantene’s website has a personal consultation feature and can be very helpful determining what products are right for your hair. One interesting thing that I learned is to see if you have damage from coloring your hair you ball up a clean strand of your hair and dunk it into a cup of water, if it sinks in seconds its damaged and if it lasts for a minute its healthy (either way your color treated hair could use Pantene’s Color hair solutions). I’m really glad that I tried the new Pantene shampoos and conditioners, the curly products will be my next hair product purchase so I can try them out for a longer period of time. If you’d like to try them you’re in luck:

Right now Pantene is sending out free samples of their new products if you click here.

To win a $25 Walmart gift card:

  • leave me a comment with what you like about your hair!
  • for a second entry subscribe to our blog and let me know in a second comment
  • open to US mailing addresses only
  • contest ends Monday May 24, 2010

Win a GREAT prize from V8 V-Fusion!

May 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Most people with little kids need some extra help getting more vegetables into their diets and thats one of the reasons we have been drinking and enjoying the new V8 V-Fusion single-serving cans.  Luckily the taste is very family friendly too! V8 sent us 2 six packs of V-Fusion to try out and a great picnic basket containing 2 beach towels, a Frisbee and a great cook book (and we can give away the same prize package to one of our readers!). We tried the V8 V-Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry and Strawberry Banana varieties and both were really very good. The Strawberry Banana was the kids’ favorite. The best part is that they taste great without any extra sweeteners and they are 100% juice.   Each 8-ounce can provides a full serving of vegetables and a full serving of fruit along with essential vitamins A, C and E, making for a perfect addition to lunchboxes, gym bags or briefcases – really any on-the-go occasion – like a picnic at the beach! My boys are in elementary school and have taken them as part of their snacks without any trouble opening them and John keeps asking me to remember to buy him some for work. They are definitely something we’d keep buying!

WIN A V8 V-FUSION PICNIC BASKET OF GOODIES:

  • Leave me a comment below letting me know which flavor sounds the best to you
  • For a second entry subscribe to our blog and leave another comment letting me know
  • Open to US mailing addresses only
  • Contest ends Thursday May 13, 2010
  • GOOD LUCK! Congratulations to Rebecca!

Spring 2010 Netflix 1 Month Free Membership

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Netflix Coupons

Netflix has sent out their Spring offer for a free 1 month membership.  We’ve had our membership for years and love it.  We mainly use the DVD service, but have also used the streaming service to watch old kid shows (Inspector Gadget!)

Click here to use the Netflix 1 month coupon

This link expires on 6/15/2010.  Feel free to add your Netflix coupon codes in the comments.

*WE HAVE NO CONNECTION TO NETFLIX, every day we get emails from people thinking we are Netflix. If you need assistance with your account please visit the NETFLIX WEBSITE, thanks!

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