Friday, August 31, 2012

SwimWays Swim Steps Gear Helps Kids Learn to Swim

Being able to swim is a skill that everyone person should learn well. Of course swimming is fun and great exercise. But knowing how to swim can also be the difference between life and death. Which is why every summer my boys take swimming lessons at our local lake. They  had six weeks of lessons and it is awesome to see the progress they have made. When we are away from the lake, we have been using SwimWays Swim Steps gear to assist with swimming in the pool.

"Ready to help your kids say hello to H2O? Start with SwimWays Swim Steps! When it comes to teaching children how to swim, we have more than 40 years experience creating swim training gear. We've developed all the tools you need to guide your kids to strong swimming skills, right from their very first splash."

With four boys all at different stages of swimming, the Swim Steps gear has been great because there are products for every level. My seven year old has been taking swimming lessons since he was 3.5 and grows more confident in the water every day. The Swim Steps Kickboard (Stage 4) has been great for him to work on his kicking, which his instructor said he needs to work on so he can advance to the next level of lessons.

Our five year old twins just advanced to level two of lessons and are finally starting to use their arms and legs to move about the water. Now at the lake everything is easier for them because they can stand. But since they cannot reach the bottom in most pools, they are obviously more hesitant. The Swim Vest (Stage 2) helps them learn how to balance and paddle and I was floored when last weekend, one of them got right in the pool and started paddling around with his vest on.

Our Swim Steps gear has definitely been a huge help to us this summer as the boys continue to practice their swimming skills. I love that their is something for everyone, no matter what stage they are at, and the gear gives my boys confidence in the pool so that they actually practice and move around. We will absolutely be continuing to use these products as they keep progressing through the different stages.

Here is a short video of the Swim Steps products I've talked about here in action. We definteily had some fun the last weekend before school started!

Check out my review of the SwimWays Swim Steps Swim Sweater that has been a great help with our two year old.

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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Green Giveaway 8/31

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
$50 Novica ~ worldwide artisans 9/12
Barre - a real food bar 9/4

Diaper Deals
Funky Fluff $500 Cloth Diaper Stash & $300 PayPal Cash! 8/31

Family Focus Blog
KIND Bars 9/4
Eco Lawn 9/6
Organic Yoga Clothing 9/10

Zuvo Water Filter 9/24

Food Family Finds
$25 PayPal Cash or Amazon GC 9/30

Resourceful Blogger
Nature Box 9/12

Wee Share
XTrema Cookware 9/5

Stonyfield YoKids Lunch Tales Sweepstakes plus a Giveaway for 10 Free YoKids Coupons

Do you remember what your school lunches were like way back when you were in grade school? I remember hating the sandwiches I brought from home, but also not being very fond of the lunches sold in school either. I much preferred the snack stand where they had cookies. (Shhh, don't tell my kids).

In light of National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day presented by YoKids and Kiwi Magazine on October 17th, share your tales about your and your kids’ school lunches for a chance to win coupons and a grand prize of $2,500! Visit to submit your story and enter for a chance to win big!

Are you and your family big fans of YoKids yogurt like my family? Our spare fridge in the basement is packed with various YoKids yogurts. My boys love their yogurt and we always make sure we have enough on hand. And since there is four of them, we go through a lot of yogurt. Well now is your chance to win! To help spread the word about the Lunch Tales Sweepstakes, Stonyfield and I are giving away coupons for FREE YoKids!

One (1) winner will receive a Preserve sandwich container filled with ten (10) FREE YoKids coupons, valued at $45. Giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on September 14, 2012. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good Luck!

I received YoKids coupons. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Avishi Organics Intensive Repair Oil #Giveaway & Coupon Code

When I was pregnant with my first son, I was fortunate enough to escape with really no stretch marks. However with the twins, the pregnancy gods were not as kind to me. It wasn't really a big surprise since two babies equals extra stretching. Many women will spend a good amount of money on stretch mark creams to try and help lighten them. I stayed away from them because so many contain harmful or toxic chemicals.

Avishi Organics Intensive Repair Oil is a natural solution for stretch marks and scars. Not only will it reduce the appearance of stretch marks when used during your pregnancy, but it will also help fade any existing stretch marks that you may have. I am a big proponent of using only natural products on my skin, and this is even more important when pregnant since what you put on your body also affects your baby. The Avishi Organics Intensive Repair Oil is safe to use while pregnant and breastfeeding and does not contain chemicals, fragrances, colors, parabens, sulfates or other toxic ingredients.

"Made from pure botanical extracts and oils that are renowned for their powerful healing properties, Avishi’s Intensive Repair Oil is not watered down by cheap fillers such as mineral oil - a common ingredient in mainstream skincare products to bring down price-points. It is a powerhouse of potency and you can expect to see visible improvements in your stretch marks and scars within 8- 12 weeks."*
*Individual results may vary.

Receive 25% your order at Avishi Organics by using coupon code greenmama25 at checkout. Coupon expires September 30, 2012.

One (1) winner will receive one bottle of Avishi Organics Intensive Repair Oil, valued at $38.50. Open to US residents only and ends on September 13, 2012. Please use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Unless

We are big fans of The Lorax book (and the movie now) around here. I love this quote; it can be a very powerful message. If only more people would listen.

I Dream of Hawaii

If you could go on a dream vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? For me, I would definitely choose Hawaii.Now I am sure that I have some family members reading this right now, shaking their heads while saying I should pick Italy. Thanks to my grandparents, I already got to go on a dream vacation to Italy way (WAY) back when I was 18. So while I plan on visiting again some day, I figure my next dream trip should be to somewhere that I have never been.

Now that the kids are back in school, I have a few minutes a day I can dedicated simply to daydreaming and planning the special vacation. After learning a little bit about the islands of Hawaii, I decided that I would want to stay on Kauai. Kauai is known as the "Garden Isle" because hundreds of years of growth have created tropical rainforests, forking rivers and of course cascading waterfalls. Everything about Kauai just sounds beautiful. Of curse I didn't stop there and even started looking at where to stay. While looking at Kauai vacation rentals on, I found so many condos and villas with breathtaking views of Kauai's beauty. It is hard to choose but I have settled on one that not only has ocean views from your condo, but an ocean side pool as well.

Poipu Shores Condos in Kauai
Poipu Shores Condos

Now that I have the start of my trip planned out, I just need to start buying lotto tickets so I can actually go. It would definitely be a dream come true.

Where is your dream vacation destination?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Educational Gaming to Go with VTech MobiGo 2

We are big fans of video games in our house, especially ones that we find our educational for the kids. Of course with four boys who have school, religious classes, sports and so on to be driven to, mobility is also extremely important. The VTech MobiGo 2 Touch Learning System gives our kids a variety of fun gaming options that they can take anywhere with them.

About the MobiGo 2 Touch Learning System
  • The MobiGo 2 is a multi-functional, educational handheld system that allows kids ages 3-8 to enjoy on-the-go play and hone their creativity.
    • Helps Kids learn basic skills such as math, vocabulary, spelling, reading, logic, drawing and more.
    • The QWERTY keyboard also helps kids become familiar with a keyboard layout.
  • MobiGo 2 comes equipped with a NEW motion sensor and microphone in addition to the touchscreen..
    • The NEW motion sensor provides total game control, allowing kids to create action movements within games and programs while playing 
    • The NEW microphone provides different methods of game play. Blow into the microphone to move objects, blow of dust, or initiate other special effects. Or speak into it to give a command or trigger an action  
  • MobiGo 2 also functions as an e-reader, photo album, photo viewer, art studio and coloring book, and is a great value as it comes pre-loaded with three game.
  • The expanded on-board memory allows kids to store more fun. More than 80 other apps are available for download at

Initial setup of our new MobiGo 2 took a little bit of time. First you have to install the Learning Lodge software which only take a few minutes. Then you have to connect your device to your computer. The USB connection on it is very sensitive so you have to make sure you lay the device flat and don't move it in order for the connection to work.

When you register your new MobiGo 2, you get 3 free downloads which is pretty neat. I let my oldest son, who is seven, pick 3 free game apps for this. Once you download them through Learning Lodge, it takes mere seconds to transfer them to the device. When I had everything all set up, my boys couldn't wait to get their hands on it!

The MobiGo 2 comes with a coloring book feature that they enjoyed. The kids can choose a scene to color in, play around with lots of colors and then save their masterpiece to finish later.

The on-board game they seem to enjoy the most is Hamster Highway. I say that because that is the one I hear playing the most. This game uses the motion sensor feature so you just tilt it side to side to make the hamster race along.

Even though the MobiGo 2 Touch Learning System is recommended for ages 3 through 8, our 2.5 year old was NOT going to be left out. So whenever he saw that his older brother's weren't paying attention, he would quickly snatch up the MobiGo and head into the corner to play a little Hamster Highway himself.  He doesn't fully understand how to play, but he knows how to navigate to the game and he cracks up watching the hamster in his sphere.

We have all been so pleased with our MobiGo 2 that it has been a challenge getting the boys to stop arguing over who's turn is next. It has been great for them to bring in the car for long trips and with soccer starting up soon, I know this will be a lifesaver while they have to wait an hour on the sidelines. (My Saturdays will start with two hours on the soccer field and I am really not looking forward to it). As a parent, I like that this system offers fun, educational games that can help my boys with letters, numbers, etc. and I love the apps aspect of it. they start at about $2.99 which is very affordable.

The MobiGo 2 is avialble to purchase at national retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart for approximately $59.99

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech. I received product samples to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Playlists

I like to listen to a variety of music throughout the day. My taste is somewhat eclectic and you will find a little bit of everything on my iPod. Even a little Phantom of the Opera. The current blog hop over on MomDot asks "What is on your Playlist?" This is what I am currently listening to on my iPhone.

My Pandora stations:

Current Hits playlist on my Amazon MP3 Cloud Player (love this app by the way and I prefer buying music on Amazon over iTunes).

What is on your playlist?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Back to School Humor

Around the country parents are rejoicing for back-to-school time. Just 5 more days left for us. When do your kids head back?

Fight Fracking in Your Community PSA

Have you ever heard of fracking? Do you know what fracking is? A few months ago, I knew nothing about it. I didn't even know something like this was going on. Fracking is a method of natural gas extraction that involves drilling deep into shale deposits within the earth. Millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and hundreds of toxic chemicals, are then blasted underground at high pressure to break apart the rock, releasing tiny pockets of natural gas. Learn more about fracking.

When my good friend Lee at enlightened me on this we knew we needed to do something to help spark change. To make everyone aware of the dangers of fracking. So we started and hoped to use our collective blog influence to spread the word. Our first big project was putting together the following Public Service Announcement video about fracking, along with actors Ed Begley Jr. and Raphael Sbarge. It is finally done and we are so proud of it. So please take a moment to watch the video below. Share it on Facebook, on Twitter, on your blogs and wherever else you can. Help us make it go viral and help us educate the world on why fracking needs to stop.

Bloggers and Celebrities Unite to Educate Public On the Effects of Fracking

Participants Include Ed Begley Jr, Raphael Sbarge, Lee Allport, Marianna Nichols, Nichol Haskins, Jackie Pletsch, and The Mom Bloggers of

(Los Angeles, CA August 21, 2012)- Bringing together the voices of actors and celebrities such as Ed Begley Jr. and Raphael Sbarge with bloggers and online influencers, and have created a PSA to help educate the public on exactly what fracking is and how it can harm their communities.

“Fracking is a method of natural gas extraction that has the potential to poison our families. However, few people even know it’s happening, and that means there is something wrong with this situation,” said Lee Allport, Creator of

"I'm so happy to be a part of the initiative," said Raphael Sbarge, an actor and founder of the environmental awareness organization Green Wish. "Fracking is of great concern to those of us in the environmental movement, so it's so wonderful to take part in a grassroots effort led by many of those most directly affected by the practice. These are the voices that need to be heard."

Beyond this PSA, and the various participants ask that viewers at home get involved in fighting fracking in their communities by writing to your elected officials or supporting organizations such as

The PSA can be viewed online at For additional information on Bloggers Inspiring Change, please visit and to learn about how fracking has affected people by visiting

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Giveaway Friday 8/16

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
$25 Visa Card 8/21
PlanetBox Launch Complete Lunch System 8/27
Wean Green Glass Food Storage 8/29
Set of TerraCycle School Supplies 8/30
Family Focus Blog
Culturelle Probiotics 8/19
Eco Shower Curtain 8/29

Kiddies Corner Deals
Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Containers 8/22

Apple iPad 8/26

To the Motherhood 
Naturepedic 2 in 1 ORGANIC COTTON ULTRA Baby Crib & Toddler Mattress 8/20

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Interview With Myself

Another fun blog hop from Trisha over at MomDot. This time the topic is An Interview with Myself with a few questions that will help you get to know me better.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 
The first thing that comes to mind is related to college. Do not let anyone pressure you into choosing a major just for the sake of having one. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but pressure from my school guidance counselor and others led me to choose accounting as my major.  I hated it and after two years ended up switching to what I really wanted to do. If you aren't sure what you want, pick something general like liberal arts or communications that way you can get all of your core classes done.

If you had a plane ticket in your hand right now to go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hawaii because I have never been and I desperately want to go. I know it will be breathtaking.

What did you want to be when you grew up and did you follow your dreams?
I always gravitated towards art and design in school and for a while I wanted to be an Interior Designer. By the time I graduated high school though I had no idea. I did end up going to school for web and graphic design and have an Associates Degree in Multimedia Development and Management. So yes, I still ended up choosing something design related!

How many pets do you own?
None, and I am quite happy that way. I grew up with lots of pets: dog, cats, birds. But right now I am very content not having any. Four kids is enough to take care of for now. When the kids are all grown and I have an empty nest, I may get a dog. A girl dog so that that I can finally dress someone in purple tutus. 

What was your first car? 
My first car was a teal Ford Tempo. I don't remember the year, maybe a 1993 or 1994? Sadly I do not have any pictures of it. It wasn't very pretty, but it lasted me 4 years so I can't complain.

What about you? How would you answer some of these questions?

OASAP Fashion Hunters Program & August Fashion Review

I am not going to lie, I am not a fashionista. That doesn't mean I don't love clothes, because I do. Clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry - yes I love them all. offers women's high street fashion with tons of cute clothes and accessories with free shipping worldwide. If you are a blogger with at least 300 followers, you can join their OASAP Fashion Hunters Program. If you qualify, you can choose a new item to review each month.

Latest Street Fashion

August is my first month, hopefully of many, participating in this program and so far I have really enjoyed it. Choosing the items I wanted to review was a lot harder than I anticipated because there are so many products to browse through. I ended up choosing two items of clothing and one purse. Because really, a lady can never have enough bags.

I will admit that I was very nervous about ordering clothes online. To say that I am curvy is a bit of an understatement, so trying clothes on before buying is usually a must for me. And most of the models showing of the clothes on OASAP are skinny minnies. So I did my best to select clothes that I thought would work with my figure and then, well I just hoped for the best.

Lately I have been into skirts, probably because they do a nice job of hiding my thighs. I decided to give the Long Elegant Pleated Skirt with Elastic Waist a try since I liked the length and the little bit of sheerness to it. I wasn't sure how well this would go over since it is a "one size fits all" item, but after reading the specifications and seeing how far the waistband stretches, I thought it would be good. I was absolutely thrilled when it arrived and it fit me so nicely.I love how the inner layer of the skirt is shorter than the sheer outer chiffon therefor showing a little calf and ankle. I plan on wearing this skirt to a bridal shower next week.This skirt is also available in grey and I am seriously contemplating getting it in the future.

Continuing with my "hide the thighs" theme, I started looking for a casual dress. I spotted the Elegant Medium Sleeve Irregular Hemline Dress with Coffee Waistband and it looked not only cute but comfortable since it is cotton. This is another "one size" item but at this point I was feeling daring and went for it. This dress is available in three colors: green, black and and grey. Since green is not a good color for me, I went with black. Once again I was thrilled, and surprised, that the one size fits all actually fit my curves nicely. This photo of me wearing it isn't all that great but it gives a good idea of how it fits. I like that the front stops above the knee, it isn't too short but still flirty. I do feel a little self conscious in it since it has been years since I wore anything above the knee.

Lastly it was accessory time - I couldn't not get a purse. I prefer messenger style bags that I can wear across my body, but the only one I have is enormous. After spending I cannot even tell you how long going through all the bags on OASAP I decided to go with the Check Printing Rectangular Shoulder Bag in black. When it arrived it was bigger than I had expected, because apparently I don't look at dimensions, but I liked it. In fact, if it was any smaller I don't think it would have worked as well for me. The strap is adjustable so you can make it short and just wear it on your shoulder or fully extend it to wear across your body messenger style like I do. I love the way the straps are attached to the bag because it allows the bag to lay flat against my body when I am wearing it like that. There is a front outside zipper pocket and some pockets on the inside. I am able to carry my iPhone, ginormous wallet and my Kindle in here with plenty of room for lip gloss and such. This has now become my daily bag as it is very casual. I am beyond pleased with it.

Overall I am beyond pleased with the OASAP Fashion Hunters program as well as the products themselves. The three items I received all seem to be of good quality and will get good use from me. Now I just need my husband to take me out on a date so I can wear my new dress!

A huge thank you to my seven year old for taking pictures of his mommy for this post.

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.

Five Things I Could Not Live Without Daily

This week I am participating in a fun blog prompt / carnival over on MomDot asking what are five things you could not live without. As you can see, mine mostly include technology.

What are five things you could not live without? Here are mine:

I love to read. LOVE. I have over 250 books on my Kindle and I am slowly making my way through them all. Lately I have been reading one book per day. When I first got it I wasn't sure how I would like reading on something digital, but it is awesome. I have a library of books to choose from at any time that I can carry around in my purse.

I start and end my day with a cup of organic coffee brewed in my Keurig. Even though it is deaf, I still couldn't live without it.

Whether it is on my very ancient iPod or just listening to a local radio station, I need music to get through my day. It makes the tedious tasks like after meal cleanup more bearable.

Water Bottles
Other than my coffee, I only drink iced water. But if I don't fill up a large bottle and leave it out on the counter, I am usually so busy that I forget to drink. So it is important that I keep one filled and ready. I probably have at least a dozen various water bottles shoved in my cabinets.

I could not, would not live without my iPhone. Seriously, probably the most important thing and I don't know what I did before I had it. I love having my social media networks easily accessible to me whenever I want. And email. And the MomDot forums. get the point.

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