Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: CSA Goodies

I absolutely love our local, certified organic CSA! Look at all of the goodie I get, including the fresh cut flowers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

New York Style Bagel Crisps Review

I do not know how I avoided eating New York Style Bagel Crisps all of my life. I see them every time I visit the grocery store yet for some reason, they have never made it into my shopping cart. Well that has all changed since I now know how tasty they are!

The Original Bagel Crisps are available in seven different flavors ranging from Sea Salt to Cinnamon Raisin if you want something a little sweeter. The all new Mini Bagel Crisps are available in four flavors and have 50% less fat and 18% fewer calories than the leading potato chip. Which makes them the perfect light and crunchy snack that you don't have to feel guilty about.

We were sent Original Bagel Crisps in Roasted Garlic and Mini Bagel Crisps in BBQ to try out. The BBQ flavored Mini Bagel Crisps are very flavorful and are great all by themselves. Straight out of the bag. (Not that I ate them straight out of the bag or anything. Nope.) The original size Roasted Garlic flavor are also great on their own, but i think even better paired with a cheese or dip/spread. I don't have many dip recipes so I went to my default Cucumber Dill Dip for this, which was a perfect combination with the robust garlic flavor of the Bagel Crisps. I ended up adding some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to it for something tat would make an awesome hors d'oeuvres for summer entertaining! Get a nice sized tray, line it with Roasted Garlic Bagel Crisps, put a dollop of the dip on each, then top with a slice of fresh tomato and cucumber - delicious and light!

As you can see, my boys also enjoyed the New York Style Bagel Crisps. After a hot day playing in the kiddie pool on the baack deck, they enjoyed them for a snack around their little picnic table. They also requested them the next two days for snacks until the bags were empty. When my kids tell me they like something, tat is a huge win in my house.

Bagel Snack Star Sweepstakes
Enter the Bagel Snack Star Sweepstakes for a chance to win a red carpet movie experience. One winner will receive a private VIP photographed and catered experience at their local movie theater. New York Style will rent out the theater for you to host the ultimate experience with 50 friends. The winner will also receive a gift card for a year supply ($500 worth) of movie tickets.

Be sure to Like New York Style on Facebook and follow them at @New_York_Style on Twitter.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of New York Style and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cutting the Cost of Transportation

More and more of us are turning to eBay to purchase a lot of large items i.e. furniture, baby cribs, children’s playground equipment, electrical goods, even motorbikes and cars. However, the problem of bidding on large items is that they are often only available if you go and pick them up yourself. This makes some desirable items impossible to buy, either because they are too far away or because they simply won’t fit into the family car.

In situations like this you could call one of the larger delivery companies, but the price that is likely to be offered is in some cases maybe worth more than the item you have purchased! However, by using websites like uShip in combination with online retailers, you can benefit from a unique online shipping marketplace; connecting people with customer-reviewed courier services that can move large and/or unusually sized items, meaning those hard to reach items are now easily within reach.

Transporters place challenging bids to win a customer’s delivery jobs, which drives down delivery costs and makes the shipping process more affordable and efficient.

Using online classified sites like Craigslist and eBay with uShip means you will be able to find a transporter who is able to ship any item to your door at the fraction of the price larger couriers would charge. If you need something transported, then making uShip your first port of call might save you a lot of money and keep your budget in check!

Guest post by Amar Pate. This post has been brought to you by uShip.com.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider Review

From May 2004 through December 2011 I was either pregnant or nursing. So what? Well that means for those seven years, I did not have a single drink. Now that I have moved past that phase, sometimes mama wants a relaxing drink at the end of a day filled with screaming kids. I started this summer determined to find an adult beverage that I liked. Back in June, I opened up a bottle of wine and after one sip, quickly remember why I don't like wine, as my family witnessed me making some awful faces. I then tried a few different pale ales between then and now, which while OK, still really weren't doing it for me. So when I saw reviews of the new Michelob ULTRA Light Cider popping up amongst my blogging friends, I knew this was something I just had to try for myself.

I was really excited to get my review kit which no only included the cider, but some beautiful picnic gear from Crate & Barrel, one of my favorite home decor stores.The insulated bag is great for me when carrying around food and drinks for m y family of 6 and I love the table in a bag!

OK, now onto the drink! I waited for a beautiful Saturday for my taste test, when my mom was over cooking us a lobster dinner. I handed a Michelob ULTRA Light Cider to my stepfather, then opened up one and poured it into a glass for myself. I was curious to get a man's opinion on this since I think many might see this as a girlie beverage.

Plain and simple: I REALLY liked the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider. Unlike beer and wine, which I find are too bitter for me, this is sweet. Just the smell of it pouring into the glass was enough to win me over. It was light, crisp and very refreshing. My stepfather also seemed to enjoy it, his first reaction being "oh, that is nice."

Aside from the great flavor and taste, I also like that Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is a naturally sweetened, made from apples and it has just 120 calories, which is one-third fewer calories than leading ciders. The alcohol level is also on the lower side at 4%, which is good for me because i am not looking to get silly. It is also naturally gluten-free which can be very important for some people. I like the idea of having a gluten-free adult beverage available at a summer BBQ for those who may need it.

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is definitely something I recommend you give a try, especially if you are not much of a beer and wine person like myself. It has become my go to adult beverage for the summer and you can find some in my fridge right now. Find a Michelob ULTRA Light Cider retailer near you.

Please drink responsibly and remember: buzzed driving is drunk driving. 

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.

Keep Your Ears Clear with Similasan Homeopathic Ear Relief Drops #naturalremedies

During the summer, my boys and I spend a good amount of time swimming. We don’t have a pool ourselves, but we can be found at our local lake four days a week for swimming lessons. With the twins (five) in their second year of lessons, they are starting to put their heads under water for the first time. This is leading to another first – water stuck in their ears. I tried showing them how to jump up and down on one leg while tilting their heads to the side, but that didn’t really work so well.

When it comes to my family, I want to make sure that anything that I put on or in their bodies is all natural and free of harmful chemicals. Similasan is committed to helping people feel better and provides homeopathic remedies that offer relief from a variety of ailments. Similasan’s Ear Relief drops help to clear trapped water in the ear using only natural active ingredients.

We wound up using these drops a few times last week after getting home from the lake. Trying to get ear drops into a child can be a challenge, especially the younger they are. The last thing you want to do is physically hold your child down. For my five year old who needed this, I found that an iPhone with Angry Birds open was the perfect distraction. I was able to tilt his head to the side and get the drops in while he played the game. A cotton ball in the ear will help keep the drops inside so that your child can sit up straight again. It took a few minutes but eventually his ear did feel better and no longer clogged. I know I hate when I get that clogged sensation in my ears from water so I am glad that there is a product to easily remedy that for him.

With everyone spending extended time in water during the hot summer months, it is good to keep Similasan Ear Relief on hand in your home. Keeping your ear’s clear of water will reduce the chances of developing Swimmer’s Ear, which is no fun at all.

Visit Similasan to see what other homeopathic remedies are available, including various eye relief products as well as cold relief.

Did you know- Similasan Ear Relief was the #1 Pharmacist Recommended ear drop formula for the 10th year in a row!

I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Burst Media on behalf of Similasan. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, but my opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Green Giveaway Friday 7/27

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.

Make sure you enter my current giveaways that are listed in the top right sidebar!

Crunchy Beach Mama
Sun Protection Zone ~ Greenbeanz Hooded Jacket 7/31
$5 Starbucks & Ahmelie Reusable Coffee Cuff 8/2
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Milk 8/6
Learning Resources~Jumbo Endangered Animals 8/8

Family Focus Blog
Aquasana Shower Filter 7/30
Organic NewGreens 8/1

Plan Toys 8/15
Schwinn Bike 8/16

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: TV Star

This past weekend I appeared on NBC Connecticut for a brief piece on products for backyard entertaining. I have never done TV before and have only done a handful of vlogs, so this was one heck of a nerve wracking experience. I certainly could have been better, but I wasn't too awful.

NBC Connecticut Studios, West Hartford, CT

If you have three minutes to spare, take a look at me in action. What do you think?

The Children's Place $500 #BabyShower #Giveaway

The Children's Place is one of my favorite clothing stores to shop for my boys. I find that their clothes are made well, can stand up to rough and tough play and still look great after many washes. What I love the most is their coordinating outfits and that they range in sizes from infants to boys/girls. You can find me in there almost every November getting my boys, who ages range from two to seven, holiday outfits that all coordinate with each other.

The Children's Place has expanded their line of infant wear just in time for Fall. Here are a few of their cute new infant pieces. It almost makes me wish I had an infant still so I could put him in the football bodysuit! Almost.

Do you have an adorable new infant to shop for this Fall? Or would you love to shop at The Children's Place for back to school clothes? Then I have the perfect giveaway for you!

One (1) winner will received a $500 gift card to The Children's Place. Open to US and Canada residents. Giveaway will end on August 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Thank you to Kidsumers for hosting this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teaching a Toddler to Swim with the SwimWays Swim Sweater

I am going to be honest, when it comes to my children, water terrifies me. Water safety is a big concern of mine and that is why it is important to me that my children all learn how to be good swimmers. The three oldest takes lessons at the lake and I try to reinforce what they learn on our own in the pool. I love the SwimWays Sim Steps line of swim training gear for teaching my boys to swim because they offer a wide range of products for every swimming level.

"The Swim Sweater has a stable, circular torso design that rides high on the child's chest for extra stability. It helps kids learn to paddle and balance in the pool which are important pre-swimming skills."

My 2.5 year old toddler loves going in the lake because he can stand, but the pool is another story. He likes being held in the water, but he will freak out if you let go. Which is understandable as this is still new to him. A few weeks ago we had him suit up in this SwimWays Swim Sweater to try to get him to feel more comfortable in the water. This product brings back fond memories to me as I had a similar type of thing when i was his age. Mine was all red with the same type inner tube and I remember floating about the pool for hours in it.

Initially, he wouldn't let me put him down into the water at all. So I carried him around and let his feet dangle in for a little while. Once he got acclimated to that, I was able to get him down into the water, with minimal complaints. I held onto his hands and pulled him around for quite some time. This was a huge first for him so I wanted to take my time. I find letting them go at their own pace, especially with something like water which can be scary for them, is your best bet. Forcing them to do something is not going to gain anything.

After a long, long time of me pulling him around in the water, he eventually would allow me to let go for a few seconds. He is obviously a little wobbly in there as he learns to balance himself, and only lasted a few seconds at a time. But I felt like this was a HUGE step for him as only a few hours earlier, he didn't want to be in at all. I am looking forward to the next time we get him in the pool to see how much more he can progress.

I am participating in this review as part of the Swimways Swim Steps Swim Team. 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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

5 Unique Products for Outdoor Entertaining

If you entertain a lot during the summer, you can always use some help to make you event perfect. These five unique products are great for backyard entertaining.

Have you ever been to a party where you had to stand to eat?  The biggest problem is what to do with your drink. So many times I will put it down on a table and then within five minutes there are a bunch of other drinks around mine so I don't know who's is who's. The Drink N' Plate is a combination of a plate and drink holder that can be held with one hand, allowing the entire meal to be carried conveniently and easily. It is also reusable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Great for a backyard cookout or even tailgating at a football game. $24 per pack of 8.

Little Griddle is a line of heavy duty grill-top griddles that shatters all the conventional limits on cooking outside on your grill, allowing virtually anything to be cooked on any grill. There is a Little Griddle to fit any shape or size grill, round or rectangular, large enough to cook meals like a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon and pancakes, a lunch of Philly cheesesteaks or a dinner of the day's catch, stir fry, burgers with sautéed onions, and so forth. Griddle your salmon filets with your favorite seasonings; there is no need to wrap them in foil. You can even bake cookies and pizza on your grill. It cleans up easily right on the grill, no need to wash in kitchen sink. $69.99 - $449.99 depending on size.

PlaceTiles are stylish erasable ceramic accent labels, perfect as table place cards for guests or as a descriptive accessory for each dish being served. No more cheap paper or plastic tags, PlaceTiles are a nice, personalized finishing touch for a dinner party, reception or any gathering, giving the VIP treatment to guests and highlighting each dish. Retails for $35 for a set of 6

The Safety Turtle Wireless Wristband Alarm is an ingenious combination of wireless signal-outfitted wristband and a wireless base station receiver that sounds an alarm the instant a child falls or ventures into water. The base station can be positioned anywhere between pool/waterside and 200 feet away (depending on model desired). Base starts at $235.

The ThermaCELL Patio Lantern is the best option for keeping mosquitoes and other insects away. The Patio Lantern is both a powerful insect repellent device and a stylish outdoor lantern, with both functions being usable separately or together. Providing a 15x15 ft mosquito-free zone, it is 98% effective (tested and used by the Department of Defense and the United States Army), making it the most effective insect repellent device on the market. It is also non-toxic, safe and non-intrusive, being DEET-free, silent, portable and odor free. Retails for $29.99

All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received free products in exchange for this write-up.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Green Giveaway Friday 7/20

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.

Make sure you enter my current giveaways that are listed in the top right sidebar!

Crunchy Beach Mama
i play Rashguard Sun Shirt or green sprouts Reusable Snack Bags 7/23
Gummy Lump ~ 4 Melissa & Doug Sand Toys 7/24
Sun Protection Zone ~ Greenbeanz Hooded Jacket 7/31

Family Focus Blog
Aquasana Shower Filter 7/30
Organic NewGreens 8/1

Know My Body
Insanity Workout DVD 7/21

Leslie Loves Veggies
PoachPod Stainless Pods For Poached Eggs 7/20

My Four Monkeys
GeoSafari Talking Electron Microscope 7/23

Wee Share
Rubberband Powered Boat 7/24

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hallmark Unveils Exclusive Keepsake Ornaments at Comic-Con #Giveaway

Here is something you may not know about me: I have a an immense collection of Christmas ornaments. And when I say immense, I really mean it. See for seven years, throughout high school and college, I worked at a local mom and pop pharmacy/gift store. This store also happened to carry Hallmark cards and gifts. Every holiday season, I would spend a good portion of my paycheck on Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments. Even though I was still living in my mother's basement. After seven years of doing that, I have quite a few boxes of ornaments to pull down from that attic every November. So many ornaments that they don't all fit on our huge nine foot tree.

Last week at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Hallmark unveiled several exclusive Keepsake Ornaments that were available to purchase only at the event.  Including this very awesome Star Wars themed two-pack of 4-LOM and Zuckuss from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Only 1,000 sets were made so if you were lucky enough to be at this event and buy one, well I am beyond jealous! Those of you that have been following me for a while know how much my family and I love Star Wars. In fact, every Christmas we have a Star Wars Christmas tree which displays only Star Wars Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that I have collected over the years.

My family also has a pretty strong love for all things superhero related and The Avengers heroes are definitely a favorite. I was so excited to celebrate a little Christmas in July courtesy of Hallmark.

My gift pack included an Iron Man Keepsake Ornament, DC Super Friends You're A Hero Recordable Story Book and two Text Band. The first thing I did was lock myself in our office and record my voice into the book. It was super easy to get each page recorded and I was done in roughly five minutes. That night at bedtime I gave the boys the book and they really love listening to me read each page to them whevener they want.

As I mentioned I love Christmas ornaments, so I think my new Iron Man one is beyond cool.  It also comes with a stand so you can either hang him on your tree or display him on a shelf.

You can see that the stand is part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem from The Avengers. For the 2012 holiday season, Hallmark also created a Thor and Captain America ornament to go along with Iron Man. All three ornaments have a stand with part of the emblem and if you buy all 3, the stands snap together to make an awesome display.

Hallmark also has five new Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments for 2012 and somehow I have to find a way to get my hands on all of them. There is plenty of room on our Star Wars tree for more! At the very least I need to pick up General Grievous and Han Solo on the Tonton. Oh and Darth Santa is simply hilarious so I will need him as well.

I also received some cool new Text Bands in my gift pack which is a fun way for kids to send text massages to each other. They can create a message of up to 10 characters and then in order to exchange their message, they can either fist bump or high five. There are a variety of fashion bands that can be purchased separately so your child can have one that matches their style. Do you see the Star Wars band down there?

Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments started hitting stores this month, so be sure to head in to see what else is available this year.  In addition to Star Wars and The Avengers, there are so many other ornaments pulled right out of pop culture like Twilight and Brave. Personally, I am super duper excited for the Gigi ornament as that is one of my all-time favorite movies. I am adding it to my Christmas list (ahem). And now I am off to hunt down the 4-LOM and Zuckuss set on eBay.

One (1) lucky winner will receive a Hallmark prize pack which includes one Iron Man Keepsake Ornament, one DC Super Friends recordable storybook and two Text Bands. Giveaway is open to US only and ends on August 1, 2012 at 12:01 am EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Relax in Your Pool with the Swimways Spring Float #Giveaway

When the weather starts getting super hot and humid around here, we start calling up friends and family with a pool for a visit. Let's face it, on a hot summer day, there is nothing more relaxing than floating about a cool pool. For comfortable, easy to use floats, Swimways has got you covered.

Swimways Spring Float
The Swimways Spring Float is not only comfortable, it is also extremely portable with its mesh carry bag. This make it perfect for trips to the pool, beach or lake and of course for pool mooching like we do. The patented spring technology allows the float to instantly pop open and easily folds closed. Since only the head rest and narrow tube around the edge need to be inflated, you don't need an air pump. My husband was able to blow this up himself in just a few minutes. Then just toss it in the water and you are ready to go.

The first person to try out the Spring Float was the 2.5 year old. He of course lost interest after 30 seconds, which is good because this is for mama!

Our 2.5 year old going for a ride.

As you can see the pool was a little crowded this weekend so there wasn't too much room for me to float around. I was soon joined by a 30 pound toddler on my lap.

When the clouds rolled in and the thunder started, we quickly got out of the pool and into the house. My husband was able to easily deflate and fold the Spring Float back up for me and put it back in its case. With 4 little ones about the pool, there is no time for me to take a snooze in this, but it is a good perch for me to lay on in the pool while I keep an eye on them all and stay within arms reach. Now all we have to do is find out who's pool we can invite ourselves to next weekend!

The Swimways Spring Float is available at retailers nationwide and on Swimways.com for $29.95 in a variety of styles and colors, including blue/aqua, white/aqua, pink/blue and aqua/blue.

One (1) lucky winner will receive a Swimways Spring Float for themselves. Color may very. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

I am participating in this review and giveaway as part of the Swimways Swim Steps Swim Team. 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Duplicate Fortunes

Last week we had a special treat of Chinese take out. When we opened all of our fortune cookies after dinner, we felt pretty cheated that we had so many duplicates. Obviously they need to do a better job of mixing them up at the fortune cookie factory. Has this ever happened to you?

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