Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Netflix Adds The Clone Wars to its Lineup #StreamTeam #NetflixKids

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows by now what huge Star Wars fans we are in my house. I am talking about crazy, ginormous fans. While my personal preferences is for the orginal trilogy movies and the extended universe books, our four boys absolutely love The Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network. However since we are a non-cable household, we are always at least one season behind as we have to wait for the latest DVD sets to be released. We own four of the six seasons so we've fallend quite behind. Until recently.

The other day imagine my surprise when I received an extremely excited text from my husband letting me know he is watching The Clone Wars series on Netflix. That's right, my husband...not my kids. I mean once they realized it was there, they all became excited, but I don't think any of them topped him. They immediately began watching Season 5, which they got through fairly quickly and wow did that season end with a surprise. now we are moving on to 6 and I am trying to make them go at a slower pace to stretch it out!

Lucky for us The Clone Wars wasn't the only animated series that Netflix added recently, so we've had a bunch of new to us shows to choose from. Two other new Netflix additions that have also been a huge hit in our house lately are Pokemon Black and White and Phineas and Ferb. While to most of the country these shows are old, we had never seen them until they popped up in our Netflix menu. I love the ever growing list of shows and movies to choose from, there is always something to make everyone on our family happy!

Have you or your kids discovered any new favorites on Netflix recently? Or do you have a favorite show that you are really hoping gets added to the Netflix lineup soon?

Spring Fashion Tips from Kohl's #SpringAtKohls

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Kohl’s. I received a gift card as a thank you for participating.

I am so excited that Spring is finally here and I can put away the bulky sweaters and start shopping for cute Spring items to add to my wardrobe. The Kohl’s Spring Fashion Hangout provides tips on what is trending in fashion. Pink is in big this season and while I am generally hesitant to wear too much of it, I like the styles I have seen at Kohl's so far. With warmer weather finally hitting new England next week, I will be heading to my local Kohl's to get started on some much needed Spring shopping and add a little (or a lot) of pink to my closet. Be sure to watch the Kohl’s Spring Fashion Hangout and let me know what you think of this seasons trends.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cascadian Farm & Parents Magazine #Giveaway

Cascadian Farm products are a staple in my house. We've tried so many of their items over the years, but are favorites for sure are the Cinnamon Crunch cereal and their chewy granola bars. Those granola bars usually end up going to school with my boys for their afternoons snacks. They love the taste and I love that everything is organic.

This month (March 2014), Cascadian Farm is featured in Parent Magazine so we though this was cause for a little celebration. I have a pretty sweet prize package to giveaway to one lucky reader. Be sure to check out the details below and enter on the Rafflecopter form.

Connect with Cascadian Farm
Twitter: @cascadianfarm

One (1) winner will receive a prize pack  that includes the following:
  • Current edition of Parents Magazine (March Issue)
  • (1) one-year subscription to Parents Magazine
  • Cascadian Farm prize package including (1) box of Oats & Honey Crunchy Bars, (2) boxes of Chewy Bars with Organic Pea Protein and other swag items.
Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on March 28 at 12:00am EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Potty Training Progress Report #CelebrateFirstFlush #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

OK so it is time for our Potty Training Progress Report; or maybe I should really title this our "Lack Of Progress" report. If I had thought that having potty trained three children already would have adequately prepared me for the fourth and final child, I would have been dead wrong. Apparently, this last one is going to be the absolute hardest. Daniel turned 4 in December and well, I had been procrastinating this for a little bit now. Being a Pull-Ups First Flush Ambassador gave that final push I needed to get started.

Now my first son I potty trained when he was 2.5 years old. I was lucky that he took to it so well and we were done in a matter of weeks for daytime training. With the twins, I waited until they were 4 since they both had significant speech delays and communication was difficult. But once we got started, everything went fairly smoothly. Which once again brings me to my current little monkey. He also has a speech delay and speech apraxia which is why I held off as long as I did. But both myself and his preschool teachers feel he is ready to start this journey. It is just too bad that Daniel doesn't agree with us. No, he wants absolutely nothing to do with the potty.

We're been working on this potty training for over 4 weeks now and we are pretty much at the same spot we were at when we started. When he's at home, I place him on the potty repeatedly throughout the day and his teachers do the same thing when he is at school. I will keep him on there for about 5 minutes in hopes that this time will be THE time he actually goes...but no such luck yet. The Pull-Ups website has a lot of useful tools for parents and I've been using it to help me a long. My favorite tool is the customizable rewards chart. You enter your child's name, the items s/he can get a reward for and the reward for each one. I've got this hanging in our main level bathroom and we've been adding stickers every time he sits on the potty.

In between potty breaks, he has been running around in his Lightning McQueen Pull-Ups and with the help of the Big Kids app, we have a timer set up to let us know when it is time to sit again. I started off with the potty breaks pretty far apart as I got him used to the idea and now the alarm is set to go off more frequently as I really try to get things moving (pun intended). The Big Kids app also has rewards and games to help get your child excited about potty training.The app is available for free on iTunes and Google Play.

So it seems like we are at a bit of an impasse here as Daniel hasn't actually gone while sitting on the potty. So I think it is probably time for mommy to kick things into high gear and double my efforts. I'm happy to have Pull-Ups and all of their resources at my disposal because at this point I need every bit of help that I can get. Be sure to stop by in April for my next progress report - hopefully with some actual progress!

Do you have any tips for potty training a stubborn 4 year old?

Pull-Ups Links
Twitter: @PullUpsBigKid
Big Kids App:

Modere Safe & Natural Products For Your Home & Body #MC

I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Modere I received a promotional item to facilitate my review and to thank me for my participation.

Finally, it is officially Spring, even though here in New England, it still very much feels like Winter. But despite the lingering chilly temperatures, it is time to get ready for that beautiful warmer weather. Spring Cleaning can be exhausting but it needs to be done and I prefer to do mine with natural products. Keeping my family healthy and safe is my number one priority so I will only use non-toxic cleaning products and personal care products in my home that I know are derived from natural ingredients.

For more than 25 years, Modere has been crafting some of the safest products on the market. It is important to their brand that they offer products that perform to high standards but that are also inspired by and derived from nature. Because our homes are a reflection of ourselves, Modere wants us to love everything about their products from the functionality to the appearance. Their website, much like their product packaging, is clean and invites you to stay and shop at your leisure.

Modere offers several home cleaning products that would be perfect to get your seasonal cleaning started. Right now you can pick up their Spring Cleaning Collection for $24.99 which includes 32 Laundry Pods and 32 Dishwasher Pods plus as a free gift you will receive their Multi-Purpose Wipes. Both sets of pods are natural, non-toxic, and chlorine-free and are available in scented or fragrance free.

Now I took a slightly different approach to my Spring cleaning. I know that at this time of year we are focused on cleaning up our homes after the long, dreary Winter, and that's great. But I also think Spring is a great time to rejuvenate ourselves. Perhaps try out a new skin care regimen or new hair products? For my review, I decided to test out some of Modere's facial products. Prone to breakouts, my skin is always a trouble spot for me so I am constantly on the hunt for natural products that work well. 

Cleanser: Combination Skin
I am really, truly loving this cleanser! It provides a creamy lather, which is usually not easy with our hard water, and leaves my skin feeling soft. I have been using it with my Clarisonic brush and have been happy with the results so far. My combination skin is super tricky as I have spots on my face that are simultaneously oily and flaky but this has been giving me a good balance without being greasy. It is also fragrance-free which is a huge plus to me since I tend to be sensitive to strong fragrances.

Day Lotion: Combination Skin
I would like this product so much more if it were fragrance free. I like the texture of the lotion and the way it feels on my skin, but the added fragrance is just too strong for me. I'm hoping that Modere can add an option down the road for those of us who like things to be unscented.

Toner: Combination Skin
I have been using this toner after washing with the cleanser and sometimes just during the day when I feel like my skin needs a little refresher. There is no added fragrance in this product which just leaves a barely noticeable natural sent from the ingredients.

Overall, I am pleased with the products that I chose from Modere and I would certainly purchase from them again in the future. In addition to home cleaning products and personal care products, Modere also offers some health and wellness items from vitamins and energy bars to protein shakes.

Connect with Modere
Twitter: @ModereUS

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Cleaning with OxiClean #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for OxiClean. I received three product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I first discovered OxiClean about nine years ago after my first son was born. Until you have a baby for yourself, you don't realized just how much laundry they create! Messy, messy laundry. My son tended to explode out of his diaper more often than not, and regular detergent was not getting those stains out. So I got myself some OxiClean pretreatment spray and a tub of the OxiClean Versatile powder. My daily routine would be to take whatever stained onesies I had, spray the pretreatment on them, then soak them in a bucket of warm water mixed wit OxiClean. And well, I have been using those two products regularly ever since then.
Over the year OxiClean has continued to expand their product lines from stain removers to now laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. Recently I was sent three of their new products to test out to get ready for some Spring cleaning!

OxiClean Laundry Detergent
OxiClean Laundry Detergent works deep into fabrics with three powerful stain-fighters and leaves with clean, fresh smelling clothes. The stain-fighters can lift away many complex stains, like grass, oil, grease and red wine and it is available in both liquid form and in detergent paks. Being that we are in the never-ending Winter over here still, grass stains isn't something I have to contend with right now. You know what my biggest stain issue is currently with four boys? Ketchup and pizza sauce and you mom's know that anything with tomato in it can be a chore to get out. Thankfully with the OxiClean Laundry Detergent, I was able to pour some on to the stains as a pretreatment and then wash them in the regular load and had great results. I also make a point to treat any stains immediately and get them in the wash as soon as possible because I always feel like the longer it sits the harder it is to get out.

OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover
OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover offers strong whitening just like bleach but without the damaging effects and dangers of chlorine. It removes the most stubborn stains, and keeps whites looking new. This powder can be added to your wash along with your detergent to help revive dingy whites and maintain brilliant whites. When I started using OxiClean Versatile way back when, I also stopped using chlorine bleaches. Chlorine is a known carcinogen (read: causes cancer!) and it is not something I want near my children or to be polluting our waterways. Since then I have never once missed using chlorine bleach on my whites. The new OxiClean White Revive Laundry Stain Remover takes that powder to a new, stronger level. We don't have a lot of whites in my house, just some of the kids socks and a towel or two every week. But if you compare the whites that I wash with the OxiClean White Revive to the whites my husband washes with just detergent, there is a noticeable difference as his whites are pretty much grey. What is also great is that it is color safe, so you can add it to any load of laundry you want. I like adding it to my towel load or a particularly smelly batch of the boys clothes. Since we are taking about Spring cleaning, I also find that his powder works well outside of the laundry room as well. This is the time of the year when I really start noticing stains in out carpet, so I walk around with a bowl of warm water with the powder dissolved in and work on any stains I can find. They usually come out with a few strong swipes with a towel. Be sure to always test on an inconspicuous area before cleaning, just to be safe with the color.

OxiClean 4x Extreme Power Crystals
OxiClean 4X Extreme Power Crystals is a strong dishwasher detergent that breaks up food on dishes, while leaving your dishwasher smelling fresh. The Power Crystals dissolve cloudy film and spots off of your dishware and glassware and lift away stains, even lipstick! OxiClean 4X Extreme Power Crystals are available in two scents: Fresh Clean and Lemon Clean; and comes in either a bottle or time-saving pak. At our home we have well water which also happens to be extremely hard well water. So finding a dishwasher detergent that works well with our water has always been a challenge. I found that the Power Crystals were good on getting caked off food (especially tomato sauce) off of our dishes and left our glasses almost spot-free. Again with hard water, spots are inevitable but I felt like they were really at a minimum. And yes, it does even get off lipstick! I can't tell you how many times I've run and rerun a glass through the dishwasher only to have a lipstick stain still there. (Because heaven forbid I wash it by hand!)

After trying all of these three products I was extremely happy with how they worked and how clean everything was. I do have one complaint that applies across the board to all three though. It has been 6 years since I stopped using scented detergents. There are two reasons for that:
  1. I am sensitive to smells and they can trigger headaches so I try to avoid them when I can
  2. With my light green lifestyle, I avoid the chemicals that are generally used to create fragrances in detergents and cleaning products.
That being said, the fragrances for these products were very strong. Now for most people that might not bother them so that's fine, but for me it was an instant headache. I would hate for someone to miss out a on good product over something like the scent so I think it would be beneficial to OxiClean to offer an alternative. I mentioned earlier that I have been using the OxiClean Versatile powder for almost a decade now. I was able to manage the fragrance because it wasn't too strong. When OxiClean started making a Free & Clear version I was thrilled and quickly made the switch. So hopefully that is something we will see down the road for these new OxiClean products.

Connect with OxiClean

Do you use OxiClean products in your home? What are some of the most difficult stains it was able to remove for you?

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