Friday, December 30, 2011

Green Giveaway Friday 12/30

Happy New Year!

Please add both your green and non-green giveaways and contests into Mr. Linky below so we can do some giveaway hopping! Be sure to include the expiration date. Thanks!

You can also submit your green giveaways to me during the week for me to feature on Fridays.

Green Mama's Pad (that's me!)
Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles 12/31
Shabby Apple Dress 1/6

3 Garnets & 2 Saphires
$50 Visa Gift Card & Toyland Express Hidden Pictures Book 1/9

A Delicious Obsession
Savvy Rest Organic Pillow1/1

A Nut in a Nutshell
Kmart $50 Gift Card 1/2
Toyland Express + $50 Visa Gift Card 1/11

Crunchy Beach Mama
R.W. Knudsen Organic Sparkling Juices 1/2

Home Grown Families
Natural Sleep Store $100 Gift Card 12/31

Mom Always Finds Out
Earth's Best Organic Baby Food 12/31

The Mom Buzz
Fun Bites Sandwich Cutter 1/25

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Santa & Our Christmas Tree

Christmas Eve, after the kids were in bed, my husband and I spent the night getting all the presents under the tree. He assembled the bikes and then I neatly placed everything around the tree.

Then thanks to a giveaway I won from Dawn's Daily Diggs, I uploaded a photo to and downloaded my free photos of Santa in front of our tree. The kids got a kick out of it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Post Christmas Blues

I love Christmas. I love everything about the season, I love shopping for gifts and watching my kids open presents in a crazed frenzy on Christmas morning. After months of planning, shopping and decorating, it is all over in such a flash. The day after Christmas I always feel a little sad that it is all over.

The house is totally trashed. There are new toys scattered across the family room floor. The kids are in their glory but all I keep thinking is where the heck am I going to put all this stuff? So now comes the daunting task of cleaning out and organizing the  playroom to make room for new toys. My goal this week is to get that done and weed out some older toys that are not used anymore to bring to the consignment shop. Granted these are things I should have done before Christmas, but I am a porcrastinator.

Then there are all the holiday decorations and the tree that soon will need to come down. It takes me days to decorate our monstrous 9 foot tree, and the process of undecorating it is one I dread. This year I was lazy and didn't even put all the ornaments on, so maybe that will shave an hour off of the time it will take to get it all put away. But I am not looking forward to this at all.

So what do I do when I am feeling blue? I eat chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And my mother's amazing chocolate mousse is helping me with that. But I really need to shake this and get to work. After one more bowl of mousse, of course.

Do you get the post Christmas blues? What do you do to get out of the funk?

Today's post is brought to you by Pro Dunk Hoops, makers of adjustable basketball goals. Perfect for families, the goals can be lowered down to 5 feet. With four active boys here, you know I will need one of these some day. Anything that will keep them out of the house for a bit is sure to please any mom. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Improving Your Sleep to Relieve Lower-Back Pain

Do you toss and turn at night because of lower back pain? Part of the problem may lie in the mattress you sleep in. Studies have shown that a number of factors are involved in your sleeping habits that may contribute to lower back pain. From body positioning to the firmness and surface material can contribute to giving your back the proper relief during night time.

While there may not be any one solution that will solve every single body type or problem, there are key steps you can take to get a better night’s sleep for you and your back.

Position – Most people find themselves belonging in the category of stomach sleepers, side sleepers and back sleepers. Identifying which category you fall under can help to turn your attention that space in your mattress. The right mattress for your body type will help you relieve high-pressure points that can hinder proper circulation. Getting the proper circulation is important when you sleep as it should be able to deliver the proper oxygen levels to your body.

Additional support – Everyone’s comfort level is different. Providing additional support by way of a cushiony pillow top, mattress topper, or a firm body hugger may help to alleviate your lower back pain.

Choosing the right mattress – Whether you’re searching for a quality brand name mattress, or an affordable alternative, being well-informed prior to making your purchase can go a long way into providing you with a good night’s sleep. Everything from makes and models to warranty information, purchasing a mattress is an investment purchase.

If you are cross referencing the benefits of a Sleep Number vs. Tempur-Pedic bed, is a great resource for potential buyers. This site provides important buying tips as well as additional tips on how to care for your mattress so you can maximize its effectiveness on your body.

It is highly recommended that if your back pain is severe, to go and see a medical physician, therapist or a chiropractor. These recommendations are simply ways that can help to alleviate your lower back pain, not completely solve the problem.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Green Giveaway Friday 12/23

Today's featured list contains not only green giveaways but also some giveaways I have been entering over this past week. After the craziness of these past few months, I have been enjoying blog hopping and entering. Now hopefully I will win something!

Please add both your green and non-green giveaways and contests into Mr. Linky below so we can do some giveaway hopping! Be sure to include the expiration date. Thanks!

You can also submit your green giveaways to me during the week for me to feature on Fridays.

Green Mama's Pad (that's me!)
Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles 12/31
Shabby Apple Dress 1/6

2 Wired 2 Tired
Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Shaver 12/30

Crunchy Beach Mama
Bungalow BeBe ~ Organic Tee newborn - 2T 12/26
Orsani Fridge Air Purifier 12/29
R.W. Knudsen Organic Sparkling Juices 1/2 

Family Focus Blog
Eco-Friendly Binders12/28
Homeopathic Medicine 12/28

Mom and More
Isotoner smarTouch Gloves 12/29

She Scribes
Keurig Elite Brewing System 12/23

Wrestling Addicted Mommy
Isotoner SmarTouch Gloves 12/23

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shabby Apple Women's Dresses Discount & Giveaway

So you have spent the past few months running around buying gifts for your kids, your spouse, your parents and goodness knows who else. Now that it is almost over, it is time to treat yourself to something nice. Doesn't all that hard work of gift shopping and present wrapping (yuck) earn you a gift for YOU? I certainly think it does!

Shabby Apple offers an extensive collection of stylish women's dresses. Their designs range from black cocktail dresses, colorful day dresses and dresses that you can wear to work.

We started Shabby Apple because we saw a need in women’s fashion that was not being met. A need to make women feel feminine and beautiful for what they wear, not what they bare. We offer flirty, stylish dresses a woman can wear just as comfortably in the office, at a family dinner, or on a date. Shabby Apple is a fashion company for women, by women, and of women.
There is a line here that really struck me: A need to make women feel feminine and beautiful for what they wear, not what they bare. Finally, a women's clothing company that believes that you don't have to wear something skimpy to look beautiful and sexy. I wish more would realize this. As a mom of four in her early thirties (shhh), the last thing I need is to be hanging out of my dress. But shopping in the department stores can be very discouraging because that seems to be the only kind of clothing they offer now a days.

Narrowing down to just one dress to feature in this post was pretty impossible for me with all that there was to choose from. So instead I decided to feature three dresses that I really like, all of which could be worn for different occassions.

Boogie Woogie. A woman's wardrobe is not complete without at least a few little black dresses. A black dress is so versatile and can be used in so many situations. This dress combines comfort with elegance. The sateen skirt is what really caught my eye with its ruched flowers and leaves. The top is made of cotton jersey and is gathered at the waist with a satin sash. Retails for $88.00

Nothin' Like A Dame. Once we get past Christmas, the next big holiday is Valentine's Day. Wouldn't this lovely vermillion color (orangish red) dress be wonderful for a romantic dinner out with your spouse? The rounded scoop neck features petal-like ruffles that mimic a lei with a princess seam for a classic shape. This dress is made from cotton poplin with 2% spandex for stretch. Retails for $78.00, on sale for $70.00.

Ahoy! The perfect dress for summer, this cotton green and turquoise dress has pleats at the collar and waist. I think this color is gorgeous and I love the under layer that covers the chest. One of my biggest pet peeves with shirts and dresses are v-necks that come down to low leaving my bra exposed. There is no concern there with this dress. Retails for $89.00, on sale for $82.00.

This is just a sampling of some of the gorgeous dresses you will find at Shabby Apple. In addition to women's dresses, they also have skirts, jewelry & accessories, swimsuits and even dresses for little girls.

Receive a 10% discount off of your order at Shabby Apple when you use code GreenMama10off. Be sure to check out their sale section as well!

One lucky winner will get to choose one of the three dresses featured here for herself! Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends January 6, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST.

I did not receive compensation or product in return for this post. I simply wanted to give my readers an awesome giveaway to enter over the holidays.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Elves on a Shelf

Surely you have heard all about the Elf on the Shelf by now. It seems like everyone has one and everywhere you look people are sharing picture's of their elves. Is your Facebook news feed filled with elf pictures too?  I read a blog post last week about overachieving elf on a shelf moms that had me laughing so hard I was crying. Because everything she wrote is so true. I give these mom's credit for going to great lengths to find fun and mischievous scenarios to put their elf in. That is just not me. In fact, I'm lucky if I remember to move our elves. After spending three days in the stocking over the fireplace, my six year informed me that he thinks the elves are stuck in there. Mommy remembered to move them that night.

Last year is when we started our elf tradition. While I was at Home Goods I picked up two Anna Lee elf dolls. To be honest, that official Elf on the Shelf dude give me the creeps. Something about the eyes I think.  Our elves, Peppermint and Spearmint, appeared to my children one morning on the fireplace ledge with a note from Santa explaining their mission. The kids had a great deal of fun searching for them every morning.

This year I had hoped to be a little more creative in their nightly placements, but as I stated I have a problem even remembering to move them. These are just a few photos of where they have appeared this season.

This is our kitchen chandelier that they are hanging out in. They always make an appearance here as well as in our dining room chandelier. Yeah, I am really creative.

The banister was a new one for me this year and it was cute. The boys loved seeing them first thing when they came downstairs in the morning. Of course this was probably the closest to their level they have been and my six year old spotted the tags.

"Why do they have tags mommy"?

"Um. So Santa knows which elves they are."

Whatever, it worked.

This was my favorite by far. And it killed two birds with one stone. They other day the twins came home from preschool with Ziploc bags of cookies they decorated at school. Cookies covered in frosting, then green sprinkles, then jelly beans, M&M's and marshmallows. Bleh. All garbage. L actually did not want his (he isn't much into sweets) so he gave one to his big brother and one to his baby brother. I tasted the third and oh my gosh it was disgusting. So J still had his cookies. He ate one the first night and another the second night. But I really didn't want him eating anymore of this junk. So last night after they went to bed, I took that last cookie and broke some crumbs into the plate. The rest of the cookie went into the trash. Then I placed the elves on the dining room table with the plate of crumbs.

When they spotted the elves this morning they thought it was hilarious that they had eaten the cookie. Well, everyone but J did. He was mighty pissed that they ate his last cookie. He got over it though and laughed with us later.

Some other places the elves have been spotted this year is in the stockings, in the big Christmas tree and in the Star Wars tree, sitting on top of the TV and sitting on top of a curtain rod. Like I said, all pretty boring. I enjoyed the cookie scene though and so now I am racking my brain trying to think where I should move them too tonight.

Does your family do the Elf on the Shelf? Where are some fun things yo have done with your elf?

2011 Muir Glen Organic Reserve Gift Basket

Well the holiday shopping insanity is about to wind down in the next few days. That is almost exciting as Christmas itself! I always have a few people to buy for that I don't see till after the holiday and of course that means I can procrastinate a little longer. The 2011 Muir Glen Organic Reserve Gift Basket can a perfect, inexpensive gift for a foodie friend, co-worker, teacher, etc and for any occasion, not just holiday time.

"Muir Glen long-time partner farmers cultivate 1,000 acres of organic soil in Northern California’s Yolo County. In late spring of this year, 13 of those acres were planted with our Reserve tomato seedlings. Chosen specifically for their exceptional sweetness, the Harvest Sunset™ Reserve--a blend of yellow and red tomatoes, offer unique but complimentary textures, colors and flavor profiles.

Grown exclusively for Muir Glen under certified organic practices, and after months of thoughtful planning, constant attention and careful nurturing, the 2011 Reserve Tomatoes were hand-harvested at the peak of ripeness to guarantee the exceptional quality and taste you’ve come to expect from Muir Glen."

This gift basket is sold for $10 (plus $5 shipping) and can make a really nice thank you gift or even a nice gesture for the New Year. Or even better - you have spent the past months shopping for everyone else, it could even make a nice gift for YOURSELF.

The Reserve Kit includes:

  • One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic No-Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
  • A recipe booklet featuring a variety of recipes created by award-winning chefs from around the country made with the 2011 Reserve Tomatoes
To order visit
I received free product in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playmobil Robbers Amphibious Vehicle Play Set Review

Playmobil toys have always been a big hit with my kids. They allow for fun, creative and dramatic play and I love watching them use their imaginations to play with their toys. We have a few pirate sets that they enjoy playing with and the twins had some sets on their Christmas wish list.

Growing Tree Toys sent me the very cool Playmobil Robbers Amphibious Vehicle Play Set to review.

"Kids will have a blast with this land-to-sea Playmobil Amphibious Vehicle Play Set as they outmaneuver the cops and make it home in time for dinner. The Playmobil Amphibious Vehicle Play Set includes the water and land vehicle that actually floats, a robber figure, crowbar, shotgun, 2 cases stolen from "Bank Central" and Euro-style play money so kids can make a suave getaway by land or sea every time!"
With any Playmobil toy comes some minor assembly. Honestly, it is pretty simple and your child could likely do most of it on his or her own. But for the purpose of my review, I assembled it alone.

Pictured above is all the pieces. Everything just snaps into place, so no tools are needed. From start to finish it took me just under 15 minutes to assemble.

The result is one cool vehicle and figure set! The cases hold 6 pieces of play money each and both fit into the back of the vehicle together. The robber figure wears a hat and bandana, both removable, and carries a gun and crowbar. Put this together with other Playmobil Robbers sets for endless hours of fun!

What is really fun about this vehicle is that it also floats in water! So your child can bring it into the bath for a little water fun or maybe use it in a water table outside during the warm summer months. Sold separately is the Playmobil Underwater Motor which could really make this even more awesome.

The Playmobil Robbers Amphibious Vehicle Play Set is available at Growing Tree Toys for $21.99. Growing Tree Toys offers a wide variety of educational toys and toys that spark creativity and imagination.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed in this review are my own and based on my personal experience with the product and/or company. You may encounter a different experience with this than I did. I received free product to review.

Fun Family Video Games for Holiday Gift Giving

We are just a few short days away from Christmas. Can you believe it? While I have all of my shopping done, I know there are plenty of people out there who are waiting till the last minute. A gift that is sure to be a big hit for anyone on your list, both young and old, is the perfect video game. My boys are getting a bunch of video games this year, which I also love because I don't have any more room for toys. Here are a few that you might like to add to you last minute shopping list.

Zumba Fitness 2
Exercising doesn't have to be mundane and boring. With Zumba Fitness 2 you can dance the pounds away and have fun while doing it. There are 32 routines that will give you a total body workout. Great gift for someone who has fitness or weightloss on their New year's resolution list. Come with the Zumba Fitness Belt to hold the Wii controller to free up your hands.
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Rating: T (Teen)

Max and the Magic Marker
This game is different from anything yo have seen before. You not only control Max, but his Magic Marker as well! You use it to draw directly inside the game world where everything drawn becomes physical objects. These objects are used to overcome challenges and complete levels.
Platform: Nintendo DS
Rating: E (Everyone)

Just Dance Kids 2
Who says that kids have to spend cold winter days sitting around doing nothing? Get them up and on their feet with Just Dance Kids 2. It features 40 fun and crazy dance routines to kids favorite songs, including hits from today's popular artists, TV shows and movies. Sure to provide both entertainment and even a little exercise for the young child on your gift list.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: E (Everyone)

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack
Probably one of the hottest video games this holiday season. Every child will love bringing these cool figures to life in the game. Build the ultimate army of Skylanders with over 30 Skylanders to collect! Includes Portal of Power, Sticker Sheet, Poster, Trading Cards and 3 Character Figures.
Platforms: Mac/PC, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 and older)

National Geographic Challenge!
How about a game that the entire family can sit down and play together? Players will explore the earth through geography and history, and begin a journey through the ages. With high definition videos, entertaining mini games, 4,000 different questions and high resolution images, this game is both fun and educational.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: E (Everyone)

I received free product for inclusion in my Holiday Gift Guide. This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gaiam TV: Streaming Health, Wellness & Fitness Videos

The New Year is rolling around soon and for many of us that means it is time to make those fitness and health resolutions. I am sure I am not alone in the fact that I stink at sticking to my New Year's resolutions. And while I know how important it is for me to exercise so I can be healthy and because I want to lose that last 15 pounds of weight, it is so hard for me to follow through on a fitness plan. While time is always an issue for me, I also lose interest after a while. I guess maybe I get bored.

This year I have found something that I definitely think will help me stick to those resolutions.  Gaiam TV offers a huge selection of streaming videos including fitness, wellness, spirituality, environment and more! The sheer amount of yoga videos and workout videos they have is awesome. Boredom will no longer be an excuse. Now if I start to get tired of a routine, I can pull up a different video and try something fresh and new.

Yoga is something I have always been interested in trying but never actually done. Well, except maybe for a few minutes on our Wii Fit, but I really don't think that qualifies. So the first section on Gaiam TV that I browsed was the Yoga video section. Since I am a newbie, I wanted to make sure I could find something for my (lack of) skill level. Thankfully, Gaiam TV has search filters to help you find the video that is just right for you. I was able to not only search for a Beginner level video, but also for videos that were 14 minutes or less. Even with those very specific criteria, I still was greeted with 3 pages of results.

I decided to start off with the Yoga Basics video which appeared at the top of my results. I figured that was a good place to start and ease my way into it. I also noticed a Postnatal Yoga video a little bit farther down on the list which looks like it would be great for moms.

While learning something new like Yoga is going to be fun, what I really need to work on is fitness and exercise. Gaiam TV leaves little room for excuses on why you didn't do your workout today. Yes there is a huge selection of workout videos to choose from, including over 20 Jillian Michaels workout videos. If that woman doesn't get you motivated, no one will. After hearing other moms talk about their success with her stuff, I am definitely going to be trying her out. But another feature that makes Gaiam TV great and easy to access is that it is available on multiple devices.

In addition to you being able to access the website and watch videos from your computer or laptop, Gaiam TV is also available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and is coming soon for Android phones, Roku Streaming Player and Samsung Smart TV. For someone like me with an iPhone, I can now bring my workouts with me wherever I go! This is also another reason for me to get an iPad, because I would much rather view these videos on the larger screen!

Gaiam TV is available by monthly subscription. A three month subscription can be purchased for $25, six months for $50 and twelve months for $89. Not ready to make a long term commitment? Then you can sign-up for the free 10 day trial offer to see if it is right for you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

I don't use my slow cooker nearly as much as I should. In fact, it usually gets used only once a year and that is to make Corned Beef for my husband St. Patrick's Day birthday. But I got a hankering for beef stew this week so I dug it out and gave it a whirl. I cheated a little bit by using a seasoning packet, but all other ingredients are fresh. I recommend using organic potatoes as they are on the Dirty Dozen list for retaining a high amount of pesticides. Onions never need to be organic as they retain very little to no pesticides. Carrots fall somewhere in the middle, so I play it safe and always go organic.

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

  • 1.5 - 2 pounds of stew beef, cubed
  • flour
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 packet McCormick Beef Stew Seasoning Mix

  • Coat beef cubes in flour.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, add beef and brown.
  • In slow cooker layer the beef, potatoes, carrots and onion.
  • Mix seasoning packet with 3 cups of water and pour on top of ingredients.
  • Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours.
  • Serve alone with a hearty bread or over Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles.

Cooking with Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles #Giveaway

We are big pasta eaters in this house. I have the pickiest bunch of boys and pasta is one of the few things that I can get all four of them to eat. Actually, it might be the only thing, other than sweets. In my pantry you will find a fair amount of "regular" pastas as well as egg noodles.

"For nearly 100 years, Pennsylvania Dutch Brand has continued a longstanding noodle tradition, and remains a valued and trusted brand for today's modern family."
 My guys pretty much like their noodles prepared only one way: with lots and lots of butter! When I make it that way they all gobble it up. The Pennsylvanian Dutch Noodles in broad width (I always go with broad) cooked up easily and very nice. Hand my children a plate of this, and they are very happy!

Of course there a tons of different ways you can cook up these delicious egg noodles. On the Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles website they have a list of recipes like Beef Stroganoff and Country Style Ham & Noodles. I decided I wanted to make a Beef Stew to go over my noodles, since I know my husband loves stew. The result was a very delicious meal.

What do you like to make with egg noodles?

Like Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles on Facebook and download a coupon for $1.00 off any two packages.

One lucky winner will receive a year's supply* of Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles! What does that mean exactly? It means 24 coupons for FREE packages of their noodles. Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below and make note of the geographic restrictions.

*Based on a family of four. Offer consists of 24 FREE packages of Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles coupons. The promotion is available only to residents in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford/New Haven, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Albany. Giveaway shipments will be coordinated and paid for by Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles.

I received free product for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This giveaway is open to legal residents in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford/New Haven, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Albany, 18+ only and will end on December 31 at 12:01am EST.  One winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter and will be posted on the Winner's Announcement Page. Winner has 48 hours to claim his/her prize otherwise a new winner will be picked.  Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the sponsoring company. This blog and its author are not responsible for giveaway prizes that are lost in transit or damaged. This blog is also not responsible if a sponsor/company does not send prize(s). Naturally, I will communicate with said company(s) several times, and make every effort to resolve the issue. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...