Win a great back-to-school backpack full of Seventh Generation products!

August 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Seventh Generation is not a new brand in our house, I have been buying their products because I feel they are safer to have around the kids and I think they work great too.  I was so happy to do a review for them of some of their products that I hadn’t tried before! Seventh Generation and My Blog Spark sent us their “Back-to-School” kit that includes a Seventh Generation backpack, two canisters of Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes (one for home and one for my child´s classroom), disinfecting multi-surface spray cleaner, facial tissue and paper towels. They will also provide an additional gift pack to give away to one of my readers! I think the disinfecting wipes and spray are great for home and school and they have been working well for me. The Lemongrass & Thyme scent was clean and natural smelling but not my first choice. I have loved the scent of their laundry detergent so I was hoping for something similar. I’d still prefer the Lemongrass & Thyme scent over any harmful foul-smelling products so I’m very happy with these cleaners. The paper towels are great because they are so much better for the environment than traditional ones (and I like the unbleached look-reminds me that they are a nice green purchase) but I have to say that I need to stick to my regular  lotion added tissues with my allergies (sorry I try to be more green  but my nose is sensitive!). I also have to mention that I love the lightweight backpack they sent me and I’m proud to help spread the word about Seventh Generation when I wear it! Hopefully going green with cleaning/household products will continue to be a fast growing trend and its so easy now that brands like Seventh Generation are so easy to find in stores everywhere.

ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN BACKPACK AND SEVENTH GENERATION SUPPLIES:

  • LEAVE ME A COMMENT ON THIS POST LETTING ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE TRIED SEVENTH GENERATION PRODUCTS BEFORE
  • FOR A SECOND ENTRY “LIKE” SEVENTH GENERATION ON FACEBOOK AND LET ME KNOW IN A SECOND COMMENT
  • OPEN TO US MAILING ADDRESSES ONLY
  • CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY SEPT 10, 2010

Here is some more info from Seventh Generation:
With nearly 22 million school days lost each year due to the common cold and flu (CDC) and as many as 2.7 million bacterial found per square inch on common school surfaces (NSF International), it´s no wonder that 82 percent of parents with kids in grades K-5 fret about the germs in their children´s classrooms (according to a survey conducted by Seventh Generation).

This school year, Seventh Generation is sharing tips from best-selling author and pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene, to help parents protect their child´s health during back-to-school season. Dr. Greene suggests taking the following precautions:

Optimize the immune system:

  • Reap the benefits of probiotics like those found in yogurt. A recent study showed that children who received enough probiotics daily throughout the cold and flu season had a significant reduction in the number of illnesses they had and, when they did get sick, the symptoms were both milder and didn’t last as long.
  • Be sure your child is getting plenty of vitamin D from the sun, from food, or from a supplement.
  • Build a strong foundation. Good food, good sleep, and good physical activity all help the immune system to flourish.

Be wise about reducing unnecessary exposure to harmful germs:

  • Teach children the key times to clean their hands in the classroom. The most important times include after sneezing, coughing or using the restroom, upon leaving “high-risk” places (recess, naptime, play stations) and before meals or snacks.
  • Sixty percent of teachers surveyed said that they request that parents donate disinfecting wipes to the classroom. Seventh Generation´s disinfecting wipes kill 99.99% of germs* naturally using the active ingredient thyme, a component of thyme oil which is derived from the herb thyme.
  • Stress the importance of not touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Demonstrate to your children how to cover their mouth and nose for every cough and sneeze. This simple maneuver has spectacular results in decreasing the spread of viruses and bacteria floating about the room, waiting to be inhaled.

Nature’s Hand Granola – my new breakfast food!

August 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Nature’s Hand Granola sent me all 6 of their granola varieties to review and I have had them for breakfast almost every day since! They have a nice mix of ingredients and textures from little sesame seeds to small clusters of oats.  I really like them a lot!

They have been making granola since 1971 and have a unique oven-baked process. The texture is not as clumpy as most granola which makes it a great topping for yogurt or ice cream and its perfect for  baking (check out their RECIPES) but I like it best as a cereal with milk. They are not the kind of granola I’d want to eat by the handful since they aren’t in big clumps (but thats not a bad thing, just different from what I’m used to). Nature’s Hand is available in 6 varieties:

– Original Recipe
– Raisin Hazelnut
– Cranberry Apricot
– Coconut Cashew
– Wild Blueberry
– Cinnamon Apple

Nature’s Hand also uses the highest quality, all-natural ingredients:

– No added salt
– No preservatives
– No artificial Colors
– No artificial flavors

So far I have liked all of the flavors that I have tried but the Original (vanilla almond) is my favorite (and although it tasted good, cranberry apricot was my least favorite because it has too many chewy fruit pieces for me).  All of the varieties have lots of nuts and seeds so they are higher in fat than most cereals but they are also very filling so you don’t need to eat as much (you might want to though!). I think these granolas taste great and are a nice healthy option for breakfast or snacking. Definitely a thumbs up from me!

They also support Outward Bound as their official granola! www.outwardbound.org

Coffee Playdough still fun!

August 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Art Projects

I looked up my old post on my coffee playdough recipe and WOW my boys were so little then….. how can I slow down time (or bring Ben’s little 3 yr old curls back)? This past week I made a triple batch of the coffee dough for the kids to play with (I had saved up a bunch of  used coffee grinds in a paper lunch bag so I could have made even more). When I suggested they go get out the dinosaurs to play with in the dough they surprised me  by picking out an interesting assortment of animals instead. I guess polar bears can play in the mud sometimes too!

Moon Dough: very moldable and fun!

August 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

We took a new Moon Dough barn set with us to the lake to test out (perfect for when we were stuck in on a rainy day). I love any kind of dough and we make homemade batches often but there definitely is not an at home equivalent to Moon Dough! Its super lightweight and takes molding exceptionally well. With the barn set and you can make fence pieces with detailed wood grain and they link together to make little pens for the 4 different animals that you make inside the barn (oh and you can make hay bails to feed your animals too). You add the dough into the top of the barn and slowly turn the handle until your animal pops out of the barn door while excess dough slides into the silo for later use. The age recommendation is 2-4 years but I think thats a bit young unless there is lots of adult help. I had to instruct the kids to pack 1/2 the dough in  and then add the rest or else the animals wouldn’t come out well. They picked up on this right away and were making really great animals but we just used the set with the older 3 kids while 22 month old Jillian was napping. I think Jillian won’t be ready for Moon Dough for quite a while since it is so light and although it works beautifully with the molds, it is not as workable a dough if you are just using your hands because it gets crumbly when you aren’t using a mold. My 6 and almost 8 year olds LOVED it and I think they were great ages for it. Jamie just turned 4  and after a little assistance/practice she was able to play with it on her own very nicely also.

What we liked:

  • IT DOESN’T DRY OUT!!!!!!
  • light fun texture
  • takes the shape of molds beautifully with fine details
  • the barn set really worked well and with a few minutes of practice the kids had the hang of it on their own
  • molded shapes hold form well and can be played with for quite a bit before they crumble
  • non-toxic, hypo-allergenic (and wheat free)
  • reasonably priced, this barn set is the most expensive in the line at about $20 but there are other fun sets around $10 and they sell the dough separately as well (I plan to buy some more colors to use with our set)
  • the kids really thought it was fun! Ethan says “I like how you turn the handle and an animal pops out”

What I didn’t love:

  • the dough wasn’t really messy but it did crumble into tiny pieces and since its so lightweight little pieces got knocked onto the floor easily when the kids played. using a big cookie sheet to play on solved this problem for us though
  • I think that many 2 year olds are too young to play with Moon Dough unless the parent is very hands on with helping them

*When I asked the kids if there was anything that they didn’t like about the Moon Dough set they had nothing negative to say though! “Nothing is bad, its perfect”.

In all I am a fan of the Moon Dough, its different from any other dough we have tried and the pros definitely outweigh the few cons! Click on the pictures below to get a better look at how the set worked for us.

Crayola is going green & you can WIN some!

August 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

Thats my girl and her PURPLE Crayola collection!

My Blog Spark and Crayola sent me markers, colored pencils and crayons to review and will send one of you a box of each too! I have been a crayola fan since I was a kid and its great to see that they are becoming more environmentally friendly now! By using solar power, reducing waste and protecting the rainforest, Crayola is doing its part to ensure that the inspired kids of today grow up to inspire a healthier world. As part of Crayola´s ever-evolving green initiative, this back-to-school season, Crayola is making crayons with solar power, markers from recycled bottle caps and colored pencils from reforested wood. Crayola crayons, markers and colored pencils getting greener is extra good news for parents. You can feel even better about Crayola products because you are supporting a brand that cares very much about kids and the environment and you´ll still get the same great quality and colors at the same price! So while sometimes environmentally-friendly products cost families more green, not so with Crayola! You might have noticed while you were doing your back-to-school shopping that packages of Crayola crayons, markers and colored pencils have special icons calling out the way each product is lessening its impact on the environment. These affordable and “green” back-to-school essentials include:
Crayola Markers – Thanks to new, innovative ways to manufacture Crayola markers from recycled bottle caps, “black” is the new “green!” Crayola markers will now have black barrels instead of white, which allows for more recycled plastic to be used and gives a second life to more than 1 million pounds of plastic bottle caps. Plus, switching to black barrels keeps hundreds of tons of plastic out of landfills each year. Available in 10-ct. Broadline Classic Colors, 10-ct. Broadline Assorted Colors, 10-ct. Fineline Classic Colors, 8-ct. Washable Broadline and 8-ct. Washable Fineline.
Crayola Green 24-ct. Crayons – The quintessential school supply found in virtually every elementary classroom will be made with the power of the sun. More than 26,200 solar panels will convert sunlight into electricity, generating the energy required to make 1 billion of the 3 billion crayons Crayola makes each year, which equals 60 million 24-ct. boxes. Mother Earth will be smiling down on every forest green, pine green and jungle green crayon that rolls off the assembly line!
Crayola Green Colored Pencils – Committed to protecting the rain forests since 1987, all Crayola colored pencils have been made from reforested wood instead of wood sourced from tropical rainforest or endangered species. For every tree used, a new tree of the same species is planted. The 12-, 24-, 36-, and 50-ct. boxes of Crayola Colored Pencils will be among the first to carry the “Eco-Evolution” call out on their packaging.


You can never have too many art supplies. ENTER TO WIN a box of crayons, markers and colored pencils:

  • leave me a comment on this post letting me know your favorite crayola product
  • open to US mailing addresses only
  • contest ends Wednesday September 8, 2010 (the last day of summer vacation for my kids)

mOmma feeding products are fun & functional (enter their contest too)

August 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Jillian is almost 2 so she is using more big kid things now but I was still happy to try the new collection of mOmma feeding products for infants and toddlers because they are different from anything we’ve tried before and are so fun looking!  Jillian received a sippy cup, a rocking cup with a straw, a great bottle cleaning brush and the developmental meal set (with a stay warm plate that has a great slip free bottom!). The mOmma products incorporate a rounded, ergonomic design that allow cups, forks and spoons to rock back-and-forth.  They are really great to take to resturaunts because the design keeps the parts that touch babies’ lips away from tabletop germs. Even the utensils  are like big weebles which double as a fun distraction for toddlers when you’re out to eat and need a “bag of tricks”.  Of course they are perfect at home also and Jillian has enjoyed using them (and the older kids have tried them out too since they look so cool). I added pictures of Jillian’s favorites: the rocking cup and the spoon (which came in the meal set but is also sold separately). Oh and I can’t forget to add that all mOmma’s feeding products are  PBA and phthalate-free.

ENTER THEIR CONTEST:
mOmma, the beloved line of Italian baby and toddler feeding products, is kicking off the mOmma’s messiest mOmments photo contest from August 2 – September 10, 2010.  Proud parents can enter a photo of their tot’s messiest mealtime moment for a chance to win a prize pack of mOmma product for themselves and a friend (total value: $104.50).
Log onto www.mOmmaUS.com to enter and to “like” mOmma on Facebook here.

Check out Babyphotographers.com and enter their contest for $2,000 worth of photos!

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

I just learned about BabyPhotographers.com and wanted to share some info:

  • Babyphotographers.com is a comprehensive resource for moms and dads seeking information about baby photography.  This highly informational web site helps parents around the world compare and contrast baby photographers to discover the perfect artist for a family’s style, goal and budget.
  • Busy moms are now able to locate a great photographer quickly. Sophisticated profile pages let you browse photographer bios or overviews about their services, photo galleries and videos as well as links to all of their contact information.
  • Babyphotographers.com also features articles to educate and inform moms about great topics like “How to Have the Perfect Baby Photography Session.”
  • Babyphotographers.com is launching the “Smile Baby” contest where you have a chance to win $2,000 in free baby photography. A grin, a giggle, even a smirk – we all love to see babies smile. But how do you get YOUR baby to beam? Babyphotographers.com wants to know the lengths you will go to make your baby smile, and they are giving away big prizes! Enter the brand new “How Do You Get YOUR Baby to Smile?” sweepstakes and you can win a $2,000 gift certificate for a photo session with the babyphotographers.com photographer of your choice.  The contest ends Sept 30, 2010 and for more information and to enter, visit: http://www.babyphotographers.com/content/contest.html
  • You can find Babyphotographers.com on Twitter (http://twitter.com/BabyPhotogs) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/babyphotogs)

*There are some amazing photographers that I found but unfortunately no local photographers currently listed where I live (but I know some that should be so I am going to let them know about it so they can sign up)! I really need to have some pictures taken of our kids soon, they grow so fast and I am still hoping to get a perfect picture of the 4 of them together.

I need a vacuum that sucks!

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Our Life

We own 2 vacuums that totally suck in a BAD way. One is 10 years old and the other is only 2 years old but both belong in a landfill. I had researched the newer one and thought it was perfect for us (it was what I asked for for Mother’s Day) but I am sooo frustrated right now that I have spent the morning vacuuming and I swear that my floors would be cleaner (and I probably would have been done an hour ago) if I just picked the dirt/dog hair/paper scraps/food crumbs/dust bunnies up with my own hands!!! This is not a blog I want to rant on so you know when I do its a major thing! I want a new vacuum that actually works. With 4 little kids and 2 big dogs I understand that we challenge a vacuum much more than the typical family but come on my 2 year old vacuum took 5 passes to pick up a 1 inch piece of yarn just now and the unpopped popcorn kernel was a lost cause completely. My carpets look awful, we have a shop vacuum in the garage maybe I better get that out!

some new chickens!

August 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Chickens, Our Life

We just got 3 new chickens yesterday: 2 Salmon Faverolle Bantams and 1 Cuckoo Maran. Our Ameraucana Chickie-Poo is no longer alone! We are keeping all 4 confined to the coop/pen for now and we plan on moving the entire coop to the other side of the house and giving them a bigger fenced in area this Fall. Seems I can’t stop thinking of plans for John (although I have been pretty good with this since he has been working insane amounts for work lately). Anyway the kids are really happy that we have some new chickens and I am too! I will definitely miss the free range thing EXCEPT for the chickens getting eaten on us part. They really do make great pets  but its a learning experience trying to figure out the best way to raise a little flock. Oh and the 2 Faverolle’s still need names but Ethan picked Molly for the Maran (I was able to talk him out of Chewbacca and get him to pick a girl name).

Ethan is very happy with his new Shred Sled!

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

YAY, Ethan was sent a Shred Sled to review! So you may be asking “what is a Shred Sled?”. Well I hadn’t heard of it before but its sort of like an updated skateboard! Here is some info on it: With Shred Sled’s® new dual deck caster board you can easily start Shredding in no time! It consists of two boards, coupled with a flexible connector, which allows both boards to rotate around the vertical and horizontal axes. This 4-wheel, dual-deck concave board makes it smoother and easier to start carving up the streets. It’s fun and much easier to control than older 2-wheel generation boards. It’s also great for strengthening the legs and waist muscles. The SHRED SLED® is a fun way to exercise and gives you a feeling of carving like snowboarding and skateboarding. It’s easy to kick off and start getting speed. Its 4 wheels make it a much smoother ride. Plus, it’s much more durable because the decks are made of almost indestructible ABS material and the wheels last a long time. The decks have a great grip surface to allow for better control and traction.

Ethan will be 8 years old in Oct so he is on the young side for the Shred Sled but I like getting the kids things that they can grow into and use for years! I think he will get the hang of it soon and he really enjoys practicing with it. I was a little afraid that he would be discouraged by not mastering it immediately but he really is cute and excited every time he tries it. He has been a little cautious and like to use a wall for balance sometimes but he can get it going and go down our hallway pretty well (yes in the house, I am a nice mom sometimes but he uses it on the driveway too!). He seems to get better each time he uses it. So I am giving this a big thumbs up and I wish I had one as a kid! I wanted to put a picture of Ethan on the shred sled before I posted this review but I just keep forgetting to take a picture and I’ll have to add it later!

Here is Ethan’s take on it:

  • “Its much easier to balance on it with 4 wheels than 2 wheels”   (we had gotten him a rip stick with 2 wheels for his 7th birthday and he has a hard time with it still)
  • “I like that you can twist your hip and move it”
  • “I like how you can bend the board”
  • “this is not really an opinion but: skateboards drool”
  • oh and he is happy that he got his favorite color blue! they come in red, blue and black

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