Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The History of the Stanley Cup Infographic

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for the Stanley Cup Finals to start tonight. See we are big, huge, enormous New Jersey Devils fans and seeing them in the Finals for the first time since  2003 is going to be awesome! I am also excited for my seven year old to get a chance to see it,, but of course the games start after his bedtime. I think we will let him stay up for the Saturday games.

In honor of the Stanley Cup Finals, I wanted to share this pretty cool and informative infographic about the history of The Stanley Cup. Tonight I will be glued to the TV watching the game and rooting for the Devils and probably using my phone chat on Twitter and Facebook. GO DEVILS!

by visualcap. Browse more Sports infographics.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day Parade

Taking the time to remember what Memorial Day is truly about. Thank you to all of the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

Sponsored Video: Here's to A World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays

It is a sad reality that cancer touches all of us in some way. Whether it is a family member, a friend, a coworker, or even ourselves - we all know someone who has had to battle cancer. It is so important that we take care of our bodies and get routine physicals and checkups. Obviously there is no guarantee that you won't get cancer, but being proactive about your health may reduce your chance and give you early detection should the diagnosis come. This morning at my OB/GYN annual, I talked to my doctor about scheduling my first mammogram, even though I am just 33. My paternal grandmother had breast cancer and since I have inherited her higher level of hormones, double-ovulating, twin creating gene, I know that I am at an increased risk for breast cancer as well. After discussing this with my doctor, I learned that insurance will not pay for a mammogram before the age of 35. I am annoyed by this and if could afford to pay out of pocket, I would. But at least now I know and in two years time we will be having the discussion again.

The American Cancer society wants us to have a world with more birthdays and less cancer. I think that is something we can all say we want as well. What can you do to help their cause? Get involved. All across the country you can find a American Cancer Society Relay for Life to participate in. You can join a team or start a team and run, donate to someone else's team or simply purchase a $10 luminary to benefit cancer research.

This post has been brought to you by the American Cancer Society.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Mission to Get Rid of Acne with the Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light

Acne has been something I have battled with since my early teen years. Granted it was much worse way (way) back then during high school, but it never 100% cleared as I grew older. Having adult acne really stinks and it definitely makes me feel self conscious about my appearance. My friends and family tell me that my skin isn't that bad, and maybe it isn't, but to me it is. Over the years I have tried various products from chemical filled products, to prescription medication and natural products. Unfortunately I have not yet found an acne treatment that works for me, so I was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to try out the tria blue light!

"The Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light eliminates acne-causing bacteria deep within the skin, leaving your complexion clear, radiant and healthy looking. Unlike prescription medications or products made with bleaching agents like benzoyl peroxide, our Tria Blue Light is gentle enough for daily use without long-term side effects or skin irritation."

My current skin care regimen consists of only natural products: first I wash with Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash, apply some Witch Hazel as my toner/astringent and then finish with Alba Botanica Hawaiian Aloe and Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer. I never wear foundation or concealer on my face anymore, I think it has been a good five years since I have. Yet the acne is still there to greet me every morning. I am really hoping that this Tria blue light acne treatment will help me get rid of acne. I love the fact that it doesn't use any chemicals on your skin and it takes only five minutes per day.

Now my big problem area is my t-zone: forehead, nose and chin. And honestly my chin is just dreadful. These areas are mostly plagued by blackheads and small whiteheads. In the last few years I also started to break our around my hairline which I think may be related to using natural shampoos that don't get rid of all the oil. I will be ecstatic if this helps even just a little bit.

I decided to be brave and share a few before pictures with everyone so we could see my progress at the end of the four week test period. I will just say, it is not that easy to take pictures of your face up close.

My chin where you can see all of the small bumps. I am so embarrassed by this picture!

You can see some red, inflamed areas on my nose and cheeks.
As of today's post I have been using the Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light for five days in a row. On average, it takes about two weeks to start seeing results so I haven't noticed any changes just yet. I will say it is super easy to add it to might nighttime face washing routine since it is a breeze to use and goes so quickly. I will be checking in again in mid-June for an update on how things are going. Having a clear complexion for once in my life would give me a big confidence boost and I am really hoping that this blue light therapy will do it for me!

For additional information of the Tria Blue Light please visit

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Tria and received a Tria Skin Perfecting Blue Light product sample to facilitate my review.

Green Giveaway Friday 5/25

Happy Friday! 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.

Crunchy Beach Mama
Hyland's Homeopathy Kid's Allergy & Earache Drops 5/28
$200 Amazon Giveaway Event 5/31
Organix South's Neem Tooth & Gum Powder 6/6

Family Focus Blog
NatureBox Healthy Snacks 5/29
Organic Pillow 6/6

Leslie Loves Veggies
Tropical Traditions Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Insect Repellent and Moisturizer 5/26
BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Face & Body Sunscreen Spray 5/27
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Let’s Doodle Art Kit 6/2
NatureBox ~ Healthy Snacks Delivered Monthly 6/9

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YoKids & Tom's of Maine Strawberry Prize Pack Giveaway

May is National Strawberry Month and what better way to celebrate then with some natural goodies from YoKids and Tom's of Maine?! Both of these brands are well represented in our home and I love them both a lot. My kids have only ever eaten Stonyfield organic yogurts. They all started out on the YoBaby line and eventually graduated to YoToddler and now YoKids. I was so thrilled when Stonyfield introduced the YoKids Greek line earlier this year as it is a great way for me to get some more protein into them.

YoKids Greek is the first organic Greek yogurt specially made for kids and comes in two kid-friendly flavors: Raspberry and Strawberry. It is packed with 6 grams of protein to help kids power through their busy day and most importantly it is produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, genetically engineered ingredients, or artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

My kids also use the Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry children's toothpaste. It comes in both a fluoride and fluoride-free version and since we have well water and do not take fluoride supplements, we use the fluoride one. Our boys love the flavor and I love that they are brushing twice a day with a natural toothpaste.

Each tube of children's toothpaste purchased on will come with an on-pack coupon for $1 off YoKids Greek organic yogurt! You can also save 20% on your entire order with the coupon code:  YOKIDS20!  Coupon expires on 6/4.

One (1) winner will receive a YoKids lunch sack filled with several Tom's of Maine products including a full 4.2oz tube of Silly Strawberry children's toothpaste, as well as samples of their Naturally Dry deodorant and Daily Moisture soap.  The bag also includes FREE YoKids and YoKids Greek coupons, YoKids temporary tattoos, and YoKids Strawberry-flavored Eco Lips chapstick!

Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on June 6 at 12:01am EST. Please use Rafflecopter form below.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creating Young Scientists with The Magic School Bus Attracted to Magnificent Magnets Kit

Science was always one of my favorite subjects in school growing up. I think science is so important and something kids do not always get enough opportunity to explore. Unfortunately, I am not very good at coming up with projects or experiments on my own for my kids to do. The Young Scientists Club has an awesome line of The Magic School Bus science kits that are a great way for your kids to have fun with science.

"The mission of The Young Scientists Club is simple – to offer children quality, science-related products that will fascinate them with the wonders of scientific discovery and spark their interest in future scientific endeavors."

Attracted to Magnificent Magnets

The Young Scientist Clubs has fifteen science kits in The Magic School Bus series and all are for ages five and up. Perfect for introducing kindergarten age kids into the world of science! My boys had the chance to test out the Attracted to Magnificent Magnets Kit pictured above, which was a lot of fun.

"Young Scientists go on a magnetic scavenger hunt, build a compass, make magnetic slime, design magnetic faces, experiment with lodestone, play magnetic games, hold magnetic car races, and much, much more! This magnified kit includes a colorful poster with a racing track, game board, and experiment diagrams."

This kit comes with everything you need to preform a bunch of magnetic experiments including 4 magnets, iron filings and a couple pieces of lodestone.

Also included is an experiment booklet with twelve experiments.  They are easy to follow and some have a section where you can write down your results and observations. I loved that the experiments cover all different difficulty levels. There are some really basic ones like seeing what magnets are attracted to. Then there are some moderate, for example creating your own compass with some bowls, a magnet and water. There is even an experiment for creating magnetic slime!

I decided to start off with a very easy experiment from the book to ease my boys into it. The first experiment is just using the magnets to see which types of items are attracted to them. We lined up all of the metal items and plastic items from the kit, plus I raided our drunk drawer in the kitchen for a few  more things like pens and binder clips. This simple experiment was a hit and soon they wanted to roam around the kitchen to see what else would stick to their magnets.

Next we skipped ahead to a more silly project. Do you remember those "Wooly Willy" toys when we were kids where you dragged iron fillings around a cardboard face to give him hair? Gosh those were so much fun! Well there is an experiment in this book that lets you do pretty much the same thing. The poster that comes with the kit has a few faces in one corner. A small amount of iron filings are placed in a tiny storage bag which is then placed over the face and you can move them around the face. The faces each have a specific thing they want you to create, but you can also let your kids have fun by making it look any way they want.

Overall, my kids had a blast learning all about magnets and experimenting with them. After we cleaned up the first day and put it away, they couldn't wait to get it out again and do some more.

The Magic School Bus Attracted to Magnificent Magnets kit is available for $15.99 from

Connect with The Young Scientists Club on Facebook

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.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cooking with Chef Ariane Duarte & DinnerTool!!

Last Monday I had the great pleasure to travel down to the restaurant CulinAriane in Montclair, NJ to spend the afternoon learning some cooking techniques and all about CulinAriane is owned by chef Ariane Duarte who was a contestant on Top Chef 5. She was such a delight to speak with, down to earth and super funny. Chef Ariane led myself and the other four blogger into her kitchen for some personal chef instruction. If any of you ever saw me work in the kitchen, you would know that I could benefit from some lessons. I am supper messy and unorganized. Sure the end result is usually yummy, but I blow up my kitchen on the way there.

We started off with the basics of chopping: how to hold the vegetable, hot to hold the knife, etc. I think what I typically do is more like hacking than chopping, so this was good information for me. I don't think I could ever chop as quickly as chefs do without losing a finger, but I am glad I know the proper technique now. Chef Ariane demonstrated by chopping a variety of spring vegetables and then led us through how to chop some shallots. As we chopped, she collected all of our scraps as one of her employees take them for his compost pile at home. Very awesome! We also learned about different types of mushrooms and how to clean them with a brush. Did you know that you are not supposed to rinse them in water?

Next Chef Ariane talked to us about scallops and sirloin, which were on the menu for lunch. She told us how to select the best scallops and took out the largest ones I had ever seen. Chef Ariane only buys these large ones that come 10 scallops to a pound. Then she demonstrated how to clean a sirloin by cutting off the fat and slicing it into individual portions. The beef she uses is local and grass fed which I was excited about since I have longed to try some. Finally Chef Ariane brought us over to her stove to show us how to pan sear both the scallops and the sirloin. The key to searing is the pan has to be extremely HOT!

Once our cooking class was finished, we headed back into the dining room to enjoy our lunch prepared by Chef Ariane. I have never been a big fan of scallops; they are usually too fishy tasting for me. However, these were amazing! The sirloin steak was delicious as well, definitely the best steak I have ever eaten. Grass-fed does make a difference in both taste and nutrition.

We finished with a flourless chocolate cake which was sinfully rich. I was beyond full at this point but I ate it all anyway because there was now way I was letting it go to waste. And honestly, I can never say no to chocolate.

We also spent a part of the afternoon learning more about

" is a website and online tool aimed at helping families solve the nightly “what’s for dinner” dilemma. The site is a one-stop shop for the family-focused foodie.  Mouth-watering photo slideshows, timely and informative articles and fun how-to videos layer the site, while the recipe search, meal planner and shopping list tools make for a completely interactive (and easy!) user experience. Planning for easy, fast, healthy and budget-friendly meals has never been so enjoyable."

Meal planning has always been a challenge for me - I am just not a good planner. And having four picky young eaters doesn't help either. Between the kids, the house and my blog business, I am a busy woman. I need some help when it comes to recipe management and planning a weekly menu and DinnerTool is something that can assist all us busy people with that. They have a wide range of recipes that you can search by through categories, like healthy or fast, or you can search by cuisine or ingredients. You can then easily add your Meal Planner and from their even create a shopping list of ingredients that you need to buy.

Overall, it was an amazing and very educational day! I learned some new cooking techniques that will certainly help me in the kitchen and found a great site that can help me start getting the hang of meal planning.

All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to DinnerTool for bringing me to this event.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

National Learn to Swim Day is May 19

With the warmer weather upon us, it is time to remind everyone about the importance of water safety. I cannot emphasize enough how imperative it is that we all teach our children how to swim. And just as important, we all learn proper water safety. While we are big time beach and pool people, the thought of my children around water also terrifies me and I do not take safety for granted. So every summer, the three that are old enough are enrolled in swimming lessons. While at the lake I am always right there in the water with them and at family pools both my husband and I are always present with one of us in the pool and the other on the deck monitoring the water.

May happens to be National Water Safety Month and so SwimWays has announced that Saturday, May 19 will be the first annual National Learn to Swim Day. This is an effort to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim, and provide resources to parents for teaching their kids the important skill.

According to the Red Cross, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old and children ages 1 to 4 drown most often in home swimming pools. The Red Cross provide some excellent water safety resources that I encourage everyone to take a look at:

If you are looking to get involved on National Learn to Swim Day, you can introduce your children to the water with at home swim instruction or visit a community pool as a family. For even more information about National Learn to Swim Day and SwimWays, visit

This post has been brought to you by SwimWays as part of the Swim Steps Swim Team.

Should I Make My Own Perfume?

A few years ago, during my "get rid of all things chemicals" purge when I started my green journey, I stopped using my Clinique perfume. Conventional perfumes are filled with chemicals, including phthalates, and they are not required to lo list ingredients, so who knows what else they put in there. I no longer wanted to put chemicals on my body, so my perfume, and pretty much every other personal are product I owned went bye-bye. And so I began my hunt for a natural perfume.

Finding a perfume has never been easy for me. I am extremely sensitive to smells and most perfumes give me headaches. So finding a natural option proved to be quite a challenge, especially since I had to shop online and couldn't smell them. So many that I had come across were floral and flowery scents do not sit well with me. I finally decided to try a Fruit scent roll-on perfume by Aura Cacia. It is made with just pure essential oil, no chemicals, and I fell in love with it. I instantly ordered myself a second bottle so I had a small supply. I wish I had ordered more since shortly after that, they discontinued this line of perfumes and I was unable to find it anywhere.

I have used it sparingly over so it would last longer, using it only when I go out. And being a work at home mom to four young kids, let's face it: I don't get out too often. Trip to Stop & Shop are hardly worth of my precious perfume! So my two small bottles have lasted me about four years. But now I am down to my last few drops and I have the daunting task of finding a new perfume to wear. I am not looking forward to it and have been putting it off. I am actually seriously contemplating ordering all of the individual essential oils that are in my perfume, I have the ingredient list, and mixing them together to make it myself. Of course I don't know the first thing about mixing essential oils or making perfumes, so some research is in order. This will definitely be interesting and educational. And hopefully fun too!

Have you ever mixed essential oils to make your own perfume? Any tips for me?

This post has been brought to you by

UPrinting Die Cut Business Cards #Giveaway

It is so important to have a professional looking and eye catching business card no matter what profession you are in. But I find that the eye catching part is even more important when it comes to blogging. There are thousands of bloggers out there and when you leave your card with a PR professional you want yours to stand out from the rest. You want it to make them visit your site and learn more about you and hopefully reach out to you.

I have ordered my share of business cards online for my blog and UPrinting has been my favorite to work with thus far.They make it very easy for you to upload your own design, which is what I prefer to do. With my graphic design background, I enjoy designing business cards and UPrinting has templates for various graphics programs that are extremely helpful in putting together your layout. I have been thrilled with everything that I have received from them. And of course I also love that they uses recycled paper and soy based inks.

One (1) winner will receive 250 Die Cut Business Cards from Details:
Sizes to choose from :
2 x 3.5" Rounded Corners, 2x2" Rounded Corners, 1.75x3.5" Rounded Corners,
2x3.5" Leaf, 2x3.5 Rounded one corner, 2x3.5" Half Circle Side,
2x3.5" Oval or 2.5" Circle
Paper to choose from :
14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated,
6 Business Days Turnaround
Free shipping for US residents only

Giveaway ends May 31, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below.

This post has been brought to you by

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Friday, May 11, 2012

$25 PayPal Cash Giveaway

It is time for another reader appreciation giveaway! We could all use some extra cash right? Now is your chance to enter for a chance to win $25 PayPal cash!  What would you do with an extra $25? For me, extra money would go to help feed me Starbucks and eBook addictions. 

One (1) winner will receive $25.00 deposited into their PayPal account. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends 6/12/12 12:01 AM EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Green Giveaway Friday 5/11

Happy Friday! 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.

Crunchy Beach Mama
Carbonite ~ 1 year of safe & easy Online Backup 5/17
Lily's Sweets  4 Dark Chocolate Bars 5/21
$5 Starbucks Gift Card 5/23

Family Focus Blog
Organic Hair Care 5/22

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Infographic: How to Choose A Perfect Gift for Mom

Mother's Day is just a few days away now, have you picked out a gift for mom yet? If you wait till the last minute, like I do for everything, and need some help coming up with a good idea, this infographic has some tips to find the perfect gift and make a woman happy.

Mom's what would you love to receive from your spouse and kids this Mother's Day?

This post has been brought to you by

I Have Closet Envy

The closet in our master bedroom is a sad, sad sight. While I am grateful that it is a walk-in closet, it is on the small side. Since my husband and I share it and we both have a decent amount of clothes and shoes, well it looks quite disorderly. OK fine, only my side is disorderly, my husband's side is immaculate, but that's because I need more room. When we first moved into this house nine years ago, the closet had a single shelf up high on both sides with a rod below it. One of our first projects in this house was to redo this closet. It started with a trip to Home Depot to pick up some inexpensive closet organizers. We ended up choosing a white wire system. Though it isn't very pretty, it was in our price range. After deciding on the layout we wanted like where to put shelves and drawer, my handy husband got to work installing it for us.

Image Credit: California Closets

It has held up well over the years and for the most part it has done its job. But every now and then I will be skimming through a magazine and I will come across beautiful custom closets and I immediately start to suffer from closet envy. Some of them are nicer and larger than my bedroom. I would love to have a big, luxurious closet like this some day with wood shelving and drawers like the one pictured above. I especially love the shelves for shoes and handbags! A closet like this is like a woman's dream come true. OK, well mine at least.

What would your dream closet look like?

This post has been brought to you by California Closets.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-3 Xtra Review

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are nutrients that our bodies need, but cannot produce. They help maintain a healthy heart and immune systems and support proper brain and eye development in infants and children. Since the body can't produce Omega-3, it is important to find a good, pure supplement to met your body's needs. Nordic Naturals Omega supplements give you the Omega-3 health benefits that you need with none of the toxins or oxidation.

"Nordic Naturals' multi-patented manufacturing processes enable us to deliver industry-leading freshness and purity levels. We use several steps in processing our oils, from water and clay filters to  molecular distillation, with no chemicals or excessive heat, all while preserving the natural constituents of the oil to the highest degree possible. A patented purification process removes any potential environmental toxins (heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, etc.), saturated fats, and other undesirable organic compounds, leaving only the beneficial components of the fish oil (omegas 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, etc.). We also utilize a proprietary nitrogen (oxygen-free) environment to achieve our leading freshness levels, and to further reduce heat requirements, thereby maintaining the integrity of the oils."

The Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Xtra soft gels contain concentrated EPA and DHA for double the strength. One serving gives you the American Heart Association's daily recommendation of both. They are free of gluten, milk derivatives, artificial colors and artificial flavors. These soft gels are lemon flavored which helps to mask the distinct fishy taste that comes with any Omega supplement. The fishiness is still there, but the lemon makes it go down easier.

One aspect that I had difficulty with was the size of these soft gel since they are rather large. Ever since I was young I have had issues swallowing large pills and for the six years that I took prenatal vitamins, I needed to break them in half. Since I could not break the soft gels in half, they presented a bit of a challenge for me. If you have similar issues with large pills, this is something to keep in mind.

Connect with Nordic Naturals
Like Nordic Naturals on Facebook
Follow Nordic Naturals on Twitter

I received Nordic Naturals product to review from, authors of 'Unjunk Your Junk Food'. All thoughts an opinions are my own.

Scwhinn Bikes: Find Your Ride, Sponsored Video

This really cute video from Schwinn makes me want to get the family outside for a fun bicycle adventure. Growing up, I spent a good amount of time riding my bike around our town house complex. I would love it if my kids enjoyed bike riding as much as I did. This past Christmas we upgraded our oldest son to a larger bike and got our twins their first bicycles. Riding a bike is such a great way to get moving and get outside and have some fun with your family. Plus its a good way to sneak in some exercise. However, not only do we have to work on their riding skills, but someone needs to help mommy relearn. Contrary to what people say, it is possible to forget how to ride a bike. (I can't believe I just admitted that on the Internet). Once all this rain passes us, I am hoping we can all get outside and start practicing!

This post is sponsored by Schwinn.

Entertainment Tonight Hanging with the Stars Sweepstakes

Have you dreamed of mingling and partying with the stars? How cool would it be to attend and exclusive celebrity party? Entertainment Tonight is giving you that chance with their Hanging with the Stars Sweepstakes. Enter for a chance to win an invitation to ET's exclusive Emmy Gala Party!

Grand Prize
One winner will receive a trip for themself and one guest to Los Angeles, California for the ET’s Exclusive Emmy® Gala Party on Sunday, September 23, 2012. The winner and winner’s guest will be able to walk the red carpet at the party and have two (2) seats in the VIP section during the party’s music performance. Visit the sweepstakes for complete rules and details

Deadline to enter is Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 4:59pm PDT.

I know I sure could imagine myself walking the red carpet with some celebrities near by, what an amazing experience that would be. I'd personally love to bump into Colin Egglesfield, literally, since he is who I have been picturing to play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Which celebrity would you most wish to bump into if you were to win the trip to the Emmy Gala?

 This post has been brought to you by CBS.

Wordless Wednesday: Woody Woodpecker

We have had quite a few visits from this big woodpecker this Spring. He enjoys munching on the tree stumps in the front yard.

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