Mommy Katie: September 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Learning Made Fun with LeapFrog


When it comes to children, I find it amazing on how much their little minds can absorb and learn. It seems like with my toddler that he finds just about anything to be fascinating, and is curious to learn more about when he finds. And as a parent, I like to find ways to keep my preschooler learning and having fun, like with the products I can find for him from LeapFrog. So when I was asked to be a part of the LeapFrog Mom Squad, I was excited to participate and learn more about the products that will help to keep learning fun and interesting for my toddler along with our other kids as well!


To get us started off on our LeapFrog Mom adventure, we were sent a LeapFrog Word Whammer, a LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum along with 3 packs of Imagicards to review.

With the Word Whammer, my older son and his friends found it to be a fun toy to play with as they challenge themselves and each other in a fun word game! This game is designed for kids age 4-6, and allows the kids to engage in 3 different games that adjust to my kids skill levels. I not only found this toy to be great to give to my older son, but I also found it to be a great toy that will come in handy next year as we prepare our preschooler for kindergarten!

Then with the LeapPad Platinum, my toddler and even my older kids can take turns having fun and learning with the games that they get with the Imagicards we were sent! The LeapPad Platinum offers a Kid-Safe tablet, with Kid Safe Web searching, parental controls that allow parents to manage their kids tablet through WiFi use, app purchases and more. And with the Safe Social Play, I can feel more at ease when my kids go on to play on certain apps, knowing that they are playing with their peers and friends who are on nearby compatible LeapPad tablets!

Aside from the safety features that the LeapPad Platinum offers, I can really appreciate that this tablet is made to be kid tough, and with the learning aspect, my kids can learn through play. They can do this by playing on the various apps available and by adding their favorite characters with the Imagicards that we can add to our collection! In all, making the products from LeapFrog a great selection to get for kids to help with learning and to also help with making learning fun!



Product received, thank you to LeapFrog as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Have a Happy Halloween with Vermont Nut Free Chocolates

Fall is here and with that you have the Fall gatherings, the Fall sports, and the Fall festivities like Halloween. For my family, we like to celebrate whenever the occasion arises, and when it comes to Halloween, we like to decorate, dress up, and have fun. We also enjoy having goodies around the house for guests to enjoy, and with Halloween I like to ensure we have lots of chocolate available for everyone to enjoy. So when we were sent a pack of the Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, I was excited to add them to our candy dishes this Fall for company to enjoy when they come to visit.

I have found that the Vermont Nut Free Chocolates are not only great to have on hand for when we have company over, but they are also a great line of chocolates that will be great for giving out to the trick or treaters this Halloween! They are great for everyone because of the fact that they do not contain peanuts, allowing kids who have peanut allergies to enjoy a night of trick or treating, without the worry of having peanuts in their candy. This also allows those who come to our house to visit, to be able to enjoy the treats we put out, even if they too have peanut allergies, and in hand, allowing everyone to enjoy their Halloween this year!

Of the selection we were sent, I found the Ghoulish Gift Pack to be great for having for those Halloween parties, giving guests a selection to choose from, and also giving your tables a ghoulishly tasty looking piece! With the Halloween Chocolate Drops, the Mini Pumpkins, and the Halloween Medallions, I found that these are great for filling up those candy bowls during a party, and also a great candy to hand out to the trick or treaters this year.

Then with the Boxed Chocolates, we found that these are not only a great selection of chocolates to give the teachers on our lists this Halloween, but also a great assortment of chocolates to have and share with others! Making the selection of Halloween goodies over at Vermont Nut Free Chocolates a great selection to go with this Halloween!




Product received, thank you to Vermont Nut Free Chocolates as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Cinderella on Blu-Ray and DVD + Free Activity Sheets


Since I was a little girl, I have always adored the stories of princess's. I can remember watching the Disney Princess's with my mom, and one of my favorites was Cinderella. The tradition of sharing those Disney Princess movies is something I carry on with my own daughter, and just like me, she also found Cinderella to be one of her favorite movies. So when the new Cinderella out to theaters, we waited in line, so we could watch it on the big screen, and now that it is available to bring home and share on family movie nights, we have found Cinderella to be a must have!

In this version of Cinderella, you get the story, the romance, and the magic brought to life. The story is similar to the Cinderella story that was in the cartoon movie, but brings the beauty of life and magic alive. From the story of a beautiful young lady who has beauty both on the inside and the outside, who takes life for what it is and lives a very simple life, to the amazing carriage, the dress and those famous glass slippers, you find it all and so much more in this amazing movie! Cinderella is available to bring home now, and to help with making the celebration more magical in your home, be sure to download the free games and crafts below!


Download Cinderella Majestic Games & Craft




Product received, thank you to the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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On Purpose



One of the best lessons I learned from martial arts and yoga is how we physiologically respond to stimuli in our life, especially stress. Our flight or fight response can change our breathing pattern and set a tone for the rest of our day. Much of our breath during flight is in the upper chest and restricts oxygen flow. The best way to adjust your breathing is to push air to your diaphragm and breathe on purpose from your abdomen. Regulating your breath can help increase your brain function to make sound decisions and reduce stress. It is has the added benefits of massaging your internal organs and kickstarting your metabolism. Since breathing is part of the autonomic nervous system it’s easy to forget to consciously breathe with intention.



This concept of acting with purpose can be applied to many other parts of our lives: How we choose our partners and the efforts we make for each other, or dedicating uninterrupted time to spend with our family. We can choose to have a proactive life, and the little things (but vital) like breathing can act as a reminding catalyst to live with meaningfulness and sincerity. The same can be true of our professional relationships and the businesses we support. When I started Circa Yoga the goal was to create something that is eco-friendly, healthy, beautiful, and supports non-profits and foundations that held the same beliefs as I did. If you look at the project and feel that is resonates with your own values please help this Kickstarter come to life (on purpose:)
Remember to breathe deeply,



~Brice

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#Giveaway Celebrate National Coffee Day with IMUSA Bistro 4-cup Espresso Maker


Today is National Coffee Day, and like any other day, I can not get a true start to my day without that first cup of coffee. For me, I find that having a nice hot cup of fresh coffee helps me to wake up and begin my day, allowing me to be more alert and take on the tasks that are ahead. So when I found that today was National Coffee Day, I was very excited to celebrate the day by using my new IMUSA Bistro 4-cup Espresso Maker that I was sent for review!
With the IMUSA Bistro 4-cup Espresso Maker, I can start my day with that same coffee I might pay to have someone else make at my local coffee shop, in my own home. I not only get a five bar steam pressure to use with my coffee shop style coffees at home, but I can also use the adjustable steamer on the side so I can froth milk for my coffee as well. Making it so like I have my own barista right in my kitchen, and ready to make my coffee drinks anytime of day or night that I might need that coffee!


The filter holder is simple to take out and empty then refill again for each use. I also like that I can brew 2-4 cups, and that if need be, the drip tray is easy to take off and clean out as well. Then when it comes to the choices I can go with when brewing my own barista style coffee at home, I like that I can make a cup of cappuccino or espresso, making the IMUSA Bistro 4-cup Espresso Maker, a must have product to have in any home where a coffee lover lives! And to help with celebrating National Coffee Day and making the celebration a daily event, the wonderful people from IMUSA would like to give one of my amazing readers their own IMUSA Bistro 4-cup Espresso Maker!!





Product received, thank you to IMUSA as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Surgery and Diet: Week 11 with Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem is providing my program free of charge in exchange for participation in the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

This past week has been a hard one for me. I was having pain in my jaw and it was causing my ear and head to hurt, so I went to my dentist. Turned out that those wisdom teeth I have avoided having removed for many years, were the culprit of my pain, and they had to come out. This was not what I had planned on doing this week, but I was in pain and the only way to relieve that pain was to go in and have my wisdom teeth pulled. Now, with the healing process I was given strict instructions on the foods and drinks I can and can not have, and with that, I was very pleased to see that even with a diet that the surgeon gave me for the next week, I am able to stick to the foods from Nutrisystem.

I was also relieved to know that with the soft foods, I was able to enjoy the soups that are in my Nutrisystem plan. And even though I was not that hungry after the surgery, I was able to stick with the diet through Nutrisystem. The downside of having the surgery is, well I have been stuck in bed, trying to deal with the pain, keeping me from going on walks or going to the gym. Making the goals when it comes to losing weight, harder to see, but still a goal that can be achieved with Nutrisystem!

And for the magic number that many are wondering about, I am down another 3 pounds, putting the to a 28 pound weight loss in 11 weeks!!!!!!



Nutrisystem is providing my program free of charge in exchange for participation in the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#Giveaway Go! Go! Smart Friends® Busy Sounds Discovery Home™ from VTech


When it comes to finding those toys that my toddler is sure to enjoy, I like looking for ones from brands that offer not only another toy, but a toy that keeps him busy. One line that we were introduced to last year, that we have been enjoying and adding to when it comes to our collection are the Go! Go! Smart Friends from VTech. So when we were sent the Go! Go! Smart Friends® Busy Sounds Discovery Home™ to review, we found it to be a great addition to our collection!


With the Go! Go! Smart Friends products, I like that like other VTech toys we have, they keep my kids engaged with imaginative fun. The Go! Go! Smart Friends® Busy Sounds Discovery Home™ is a toy that offers hours of fun for my little one to enjoy. I like that on each of the levels of the home, there are MagicPoint™ locations where my son can put Miss Norah on, and when he puts her on the various MagicPoint™ locations, she interacts with the house as the house comes alive!

My son found the elevator to be his favorite part, because when he puts Miss Norah on the MagicPoint™, she talks and the elevator will go up and and back down again, taking her from the second floor to the third floor. He also likes the playground that is attached to his playhouse, giving him a outdoor play area to take Miss Norah and her dog so they can walk down the path, play on the swing, go down the slide, and even have a cookout on the grill that came with his set. Also, once he is done playing, he can fold up the playground that is attached to his playhouse, and put it away until he is ready to play with it again.

Then aside from the elevator and playground that my son really enjoys playing with on this playhouse, he also likes that on the third floor with the bathroom, he can put his Miss Norah on the toilet and it makes real toilet noises. When he takes her to the second floor, he can put her in the chair next to the piano and listen to her play music, when she is downstairs, he can have her sit by the fireplace as she watches the fire, then go out to the front door to check the mail. Making the Go! Go! Smart Friends® Busy Sounds Discovery Home™ from VTech  a great choice to get the little one in your life, and to help with keeping your busy toddler busy with interactive play, the wonderful people from VTech would like to give one of my readers their own Go! Go! Smart Friends® Busy Sounds Discovery Home™!





Product received, thank you toVTech as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Snacking with Love Crunch

The kids are back in school and like so many parents out there, I am finding that my days are quite busy. So when it comes to being on the go, I enjoy having snacks that are simple to grab and take on the go. Recently I was sent such a line of snacks when I was introduced to the Love Crunch bars from Natures Path.


I found that with the variety of flavors to choose from, I can get a selection that is not only filling for when it comes to snacking, but also a selection that will satisfy that sweet tooth of mine. Then when it comes to the nutritional values, I like that they have 4g of fiber, 5g of protein, they are organic, gluten free, and are made with hemp. Making these bars a great selection to put in my purse on those days where I need to have a great snack that is perfect for taking on the go! So if you are looking for a great snacking option for yourself and your family, be sure to check out the Love Crunch Bars from Natures Path!


Product received, thank you to Natures Path as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Littlest Pet Shop: Halloween Fest on DVD


When it comes to those shows my kids enjoy watching, my daughter finds that Littlest Pet Shop is one of her favorites. So when we were sent the DVD, Littlest Pet Shop: Halloween Fest to review, she was excited to share it on our family movie night!

In this DVD, you find Blythe and her Littlest Pet Shop friends as they prepare for some Halloween fun! They do so by going on adventures where they investigate werewolves, ghosts, pet psychics and more! Making the Littlest Pet Shop: Halloween Fest a great DVD to add to your Halloween collection of family favorites!!

Episodes Include:
Door-Jammed
Eight Arms To Hold You
Pawlm Reading
War Of The Weirds
The Very Littlest Pet Shop

Bonus Features:
Sing-Along



Product received, thank you to Hasbro Studios as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season on Blu-Ray



In my house, we enjoy finding those shows for my husband and I to watch, and one show that we enjoy watching on Wednesday nights is, Supernatural. So when we were given the chance to review Supernatural: The Complete Tenth Season on Blu-Ray we were excited to add it to our collection! 

In this season, you find the show right where it left off, where Dean lost against power-mad angel scribe Metatron last season, he was resurrected by the power of the First Blade and transformed into a demon, cursed with the Mark of Cain. You can see where it goes and what happens next by watching the complete 10th season now! 

BLU-RAY, DVD and Digital HD FEATURES
·         A Very Special Supernatural Special
·         Supernatural Theatre: Staging The 200th Episode
·         The Winchester Mythology: Battling the Mark and The Blade
·         Supernatural Fans
·         Supernatural at Comic-Con 2014
·         3 Audio Commentaries
·         Deleted Scenes
·         Gag Reel

 

23 ONE-HOUR EPISODES


1.    Black
2.    Reichenbach
3.    Soul Survivor
4.    Paper Moon
5.    Fan Fiction
6.    Ask Jeeves
7.    Girls, Girls, Girls
8.    Hibbing 911
9.    The Things We Left Behind
10.  The Hunter Games
11.  There's No Place Like Home
12.  About a Boy
13.  Halt & Catch Fire
14.  The Executioner's Song
15.  The Things They Carried
16.  Paint it Black
17.  Inside Man
18.  Book of the Damned
19.  The Werther Project
20.  Angel Heart
21.  Dark Dynasty
22.  The Prisoner
23.  Brother's Keeper




Product received, thank you to Warner Bros Home Entertainment as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Four Reasons We Love Old Navy Canada

There’s a lot to love about shopping at Old Navy Canada. The reasons only get better when you make the decision to do your Old Navy shopping online. These are just four of the best reasons to keep Old Navy on your list of must shop online stores.

Something for Everyone

Old Navy offers clothing and accessories for people of all ages. From the youngest members of your household to those who are wise in years and young at heart. Old Navy offers seasonal casual and outer wear that’s perfect for everyone.
Old Navy carries clothing for children, infants, men, and women in regular, slim, and plus sizes making it truly a one-stop shop, on the World Wide Web, for most of your everyday clothing needs.

Affordable Daily Prices

One of the best things about Old Navy for anyone living on a tight budget for clothing is that they offer stylish clothing at affordable prices. You don’t have to rob your piggy bank or cash in college savings funds in order to pay for a perfectly functional wardrobe with a few exciting pieces too!
While Old Navy may not offer designer fashions, they do offer fun, functional, and even flirty clothing options for people of all ages – especially important when shopping for babies that seem to outgrow clothes and need new wardrobes every other month or so.


Frequent Discounts

The other great thing about Old Navy Canada online is that they offer frequent sales, bargains, and discounts. As an online shopper you get access to the same bargains and discounts announced on television advertisements and in stores. This means you have even more opportunities to save over Old Navy’s already low clothing prices.

The Power of Stacking

Stacking, is something you have the opportunity to shop Old Navy Canada online. It involves using Old Navy CA coupons and stacking them with discounted sales prices for even bigger savings. However, when you shop online you have the added opportunity to being your shopping experience through the Ebates.ca portal. Doing this allows you to earn a percentage of the total price of your order, in the form of a rebate that’s sent to you. It’s just another way to stretch your dollars more when you shop at Old Navy.

While Old Navy Canada has plenty to offer Canadian shoppers, it’s only when you harness the power of all the discount opportunities online shopping presents that you can truly get the best return on investment.

Numerology: Insights Behind the Letters and Digits


What is the meaning of life?  More personal, what is each individual’s role?  These are integral questions addressed by religion and science as well as numerology.  Whether passing interest or a reliable source of life decisions, numerology, and the associated insights offered by letters and digits, attract many followers and practitioners.

A Study of Numbers

Simply put, numerology uses numbers as mirrors to underlying intentions and vibrations of the spiritual and actual world.  One’s associated numbers (those related to one’s birthday) can lead to insight about character, purpose, motivation, and talent.  Expert readers help listeners assess when to move, change jobs, get married, and have children.  For some, numerology is a distant interest, but others make it a way of life.

A Calculation of Character

Numbers one through nine, as well as eleven and twenty-two (‘master’ numbers) are recognized by readers.  Each number represents individual characteristics and implications.  The master numbers are the only exceptions, which represent intensified versions of their respective summations (2 and 4).  Most beginners assessing the numerical equivalents of their date of birth as well as the numeric evaluation of their birth name.

A Path to Insight

Some host unwavering devotion for numerology while others engage for entertainment or immediate interest.  Regardless of speculation as an exact science, numerology does have a clear method.  Each letter of the alphabet is paired with a number.  Calculating names, dates, and events help some understand the present and act in the future.  While gazing in a crystal ball inspires speculation, it’s much easier to understand how a numerologist comes to a conclusion.

Measuring Energy

The word, love, is equivalent to the number 9, which represents generosity and self-sacrifice – two traits associated to our definition of love.  12, 15, 22, and 5 is equivalent to the four letters in ‘love.’  Breaking the numbers down further, ‘l’ becomes 1+2 (3).  Adding each number’s summation equals 18, which then becomes a 1 and 8, 0r 9.
Numerologists believe life is not a random chain of events, but the universe offers order, and people and events are prescribed and described based on the vibrations and order of the universe.

A Hard Science or Hard to Believe?

Numerology’s origin is well associated to Pythagoras and his followers, who determined theorems about numbers and spatial planes.  Pythagoras and followers also believed numbers held mystical properties.  Proving the Pythagorean Theorem is easier than convincing people that numbers behold special powers though.  Is numerology a convenient way to make sense of the unexpected, or do numbers really comprise the genetic code of the universe?  Psychic readings and other forms of spiritual exploration help beginners gain more experience to prepare for added learning.

Start Small

Start small, and find the numeric equivalent of your birth name.  Next, calculate the numbers associated to your birth date.  Do the numbers reflect who you are or choices made?  If so, other esoteric interests, such as tarot cards, may interest you.  Furthermore, search online for occult vendors and personalities who offer books, literature, and additional resources.  Procure knowledge and resources with added interest in numerology.

Karla Jones is a yoga instructor that enjoys researching psychic phenomenon. Over the years she has found her greatest influences to be numerology and tarot readings. She enjoys finding new ways to incorporate her insights into everyday things, which she often blogs about.

How to De-Clutter Your Home

Getting to a clutter-free home, especially for those who have packrat tendencies, can feel like an overwhelming task. It’s not as impossible as it may seem, however, if you stick to the following simple steps.

1.       Tackle the Clutter
                                                                                                                        
Identify the themes that run through your excess belongings – it’s easier to eliminate things once you have a clear picture of what to hone in on. Look at key areas and make decisions on each thing as you go.

2.       One Area at a Time

Instead of feeling daunted by the vastness of the project, focus on a small area to start with, such as the kitchen pantry.

3.       Fight Packrat-itis

Develop a strategy for dealing with belongings that have sentimental value, by enlisting a friend to help, for example. Ask yourself questions about what to keep/toss and be honest in your assessments about what’s of value and what’s just taking up space.

4.       Organize Your KEEP Items

Create a designated area for belongings you are holding onto. Make storage space and buy any necessary organizers (The ContainerStore has some great options).

Make a Plan for 1.       Moving Forward

Have an agenda for the best way to keep a clutter-free living space in the future. These tasks might include cleaning as you go, getting rid of things when you bring new things in, and doing a 15-minute clutter clearing stint if you see a problem beginning.

Cutting Down The Clutter
via Seville Classics

Monday, September 21, 2015

#SavingSummer with Flowers and Gifts from ProFlowers


Wednesday is the first official day of Fall, and with that means that those Summer days we so enjoy are to come to an end. We are already seeing the changes of Fall coming, with the leaves changing colors, the weather cooling down, and the stores putting out those Fall and holiday decor items. The thing is, even though the calendar says Summer is ending, there are still ways to keep Summer alive in the home by having items that remind us of Summer.

For me, when I think of Summer, I think of those beautiful sunflowers with those bright yellow petals on them, and those delicious and juicy strawberries. So when I was asked to find some pieces that reminded me of Summer from ProFlowers, I found that the Gourmet Dipped Fancy Strawberries with a Sunflower Bouquet, from the selection of products from ProFlowers, were the perfect selection for helping me to keep the idea of Summer going in my home!
With the Sunflower Bouquet, I found that having those bright yellow flowers in the home, brighten up any room, just as the sun does on a warm summer day. Then with the chocolate covered strawberries, I was able to share a reminder of those fresh strawberries, that my family and I enjoy picking in the summer, dipped in a chocolate shell! Making the selection of Summer flowers and gifts from ProFlowers a great choice to go with to help with keeping the idea of Summer alive in any home for those who are not quite ready to say goodbye to Summer, and helping with #SavingSummer!

So if you want to help with #SavingSummer in your home or in the home of someone you know who adores the Summer, then head on over to ProFlowers today, and help them by welcoming Fall with a piece of Summer! Also get your coupon code by going here: http://www.proflowers.com/coupons.aspx 



Product received, thank you to ProFlowers as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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#Giveaway Chicco NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding & Soothing System

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Chicco. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


When we prepare for a new baby to be welcomed into our homes and our families, we as parents want to ensure that when baby gets here, we have everything we will need in place for them. I think one set of items that most of us like to have in place are the bottles and pacifiers. I know that as babies grow, so do their mouths, and I also know that as they grow they need bottles that will be the right fit throughout their stages. So when we were introduced to the Chicco NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding products, I was very pleased to see the selection that we were sent for growing babies, and also interested in learning more about the line of products.


With the NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding & Soothing System, I can really appreciate that the products are designed to grow with baby as their feeding needs and styles change. I can also appreciate that with the nipple designs that the bottles have, that they are perfect for using with baby as they transition between bottle and breastfeeding!


In fact, when it comes to baby and keeping up with their feeding needs, I like that there are 3 stages that I can choose from with the NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding products.

Stage 1: Newborn Flow (Available as 5 oz and 8 oz bottles)
This stage helps to encourage proper feeding by using a wider nipple that is angled. This nipple also has a wider base than others, which helps babies to latch on properly and as well as help with babies neck positioning during feeds. With the angled nipple, the nipple stays filled with milk, which helps to keep baby from taking in extra air during feedings. Also, to help when it comes to taking in any extra air, and to help with reducing gas and spit up,  there are two anti colic valves.

Stage 2: Adjustable Flow (slow, medium or fast 8 oz bottles)
You find the angled nipple from the Newborn Flow is replaced with a straight nipple. With the rounded base, it helps for baby to adapt to their own advancements when it comes to their feeding skills! This is great for babies that are around 4 months old, where they have better head and neck control and issues with colic begin to fade away. And with the adjustable flow nipple, parents can adjust flow rate for baby’s growing appetite

Stage 3: Fast Flow (11 oz bottles)
These bottles from Stage 3 are designed for feedings with older babies and offer a increased suction strength. The base is a lot smaller and is not as rounded, which allows for tighter lip support. The nipple is longer than the ones you find on the bottles from the first 2 stages, which helps to encourage correct swallowing as baby grows!


Making the NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding a great choice to go with as you prepare for baby! You can find the line of the NaturalFit® Advanced Feeding & Soothing System products from Chicco by heading to your local Babies R Us or by going over to the Chicco site! Also, be sure to check out Chicco on Facebook! Enter to win one of 18 prize packs from Chicco by filling out the form below, contest will end on September 30th.

I-C will randomly select 18 winners from all tiered program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Chicco Natural Fit Contest!




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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cookies to Decorate, Cutout Cookies Ready To Decorate!

The holidays are something we look forward to in my house. We enjoy the changing of the seasons, watching as the leaves on the trees change colors, and also kicking off our holiday season with Halloween! With that said, when it comes to getting everyone excited for Halloween, we like to not only find those costumes and decorations, but also add fun DIY projects to the mix. So when we were sent the Cutout Cookies Ready to Decorate kit from Dolce and Biscotti to review, we were very excited to begin personalizing the cookies!


The cookies we were sent were a Halloween themed pack. And to get started we first followed the instructions on making the icing to put on the cookies. The kids liked that they were able to help then put their own icing on their sets of cookies that we gave them. Once they were frosted, the kids then had fun decorating the cookies with the sprinkles that came with our pack. This allowed for the kids to be able to put a personal touch on each of their cookies, and made the process a lot of fun. Now with this pack we did have the option to change the color of the frosting, but my kids chose to leave the frosting the white color for their cookies, and were able to make them the way they wanted which allowed everyone to have fun and enjoy the process! Making the Cookies to Decorate a great selection of cookies to get for any occasion!



Product received, thank you to Dolce and Biscotti as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Healthy Room, Healthy Child



Expectant mothers paint, carpet and buy everything under the sun they can think of in hopes of creating the most perfectly beautiful little space for their precious new baby. What they usually don’t know is that most of the products that they are using contain harmful chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic, and as we sleep through the night we are breathing in the off-gassing of these poisons. Now think of this…what is toxic to us is about FIFTEEN times more toxic to our itty bitty baby!

Lung Disease and breathing problems are the number one cause of infant deaths who are under the age of one, according to the American Lung Association.  The reason for this is pretty simple.  The airways of babies are small and can easily shut down when inflamed.  They also breathe more times per minute than adults do which in turn means that they breathe in more toxins then adults do.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air. VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. They include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. Most scents or odors are of VOCs.  Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment.  Since people today spend most of their time at home or in an office, long-term exposure to VOCs in the indoor environment can contribute to Sick Building Syndrome (Wang, et al., 2007). Studies also show that relative leukemia and lymphoma can increase through prolonged exposure of VOCs in the indoor environment (Irigaray, et al., 2007).

Aside from giving them all the love and care in the world- the next best thing we can do for our children is to provide a safe and healthy environment in which they can grow. Creating a healthy nursery and maintaining a healthier space for our baby requires some research and taking a good hard look at our indoor environment. What all of this means is that when we are building and furnishing the living areas for our children, we need to pay extra attention to keeping out chemical and biological pollutants.

As a culture we are moving toward healthier life standards. As the consumers demand for more sustainable, durable and healthier products continues to grow, suppliers must change to remain relevant. Two important  terms to know when shopping for your nursery furniture are JPMA and GREENGUARD. JPMA and GREENGUARD are both certifications that a product receives which shows the product has gone through specific rigorous testing that ensures a higher standard of product safety.

 GREENGUARD:

In simple terms, a certification from GREENGUARD means the product in question has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is closely tied to health, and is therefore recognized as an important concern in homes, schools, healthcare environments and commercial spaces. Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from building materials and furnishings are a major source of indoor air pollution. GREENGUARD Certification has been widely adopted as a trusted standard for low-emitting products. In fact, more than 400 green building codes, standards, guidelines, procurements policies, and rating systems give credit for GREENGUARD Certified products (GREENGUARD, 2013). The GREENGUARD Gold standard includes health based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total VOC emissions levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities. In addition to limiting emissions of more than 360 VOCs and total chemical emissions, GREENGUARD Gold Certified products must also comply with requirements of the State of California’s Department of Public Health “Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.1 (2010)” (also known as California Section 01350) (GREENGUARD, 2013).

 JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association):

JPMA is a Certification Seal on a product which tells the consumers the product has been verified as conforming to the requirements established by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), through independent laboratory testing and follow-up on-site inspection of the manufacturer’s production line. The JPMA currently sponsors 20 certification programs for juvenile products such as cribs, strollers, car seats, bedding and a wide range of accessories and decorative items (Intertek, 2013). As a national trade organization, it represents 95 percent of the prenatal to preschool market, translating to 250 companies across the United States, Canada and Mexico (Intertek, 2013).
Here are some easy and helpful tips from KidsOnlyFurniture.com

 1 The best choice for children’s furniture is solid wood with a low-VOC finish. Some good brands to look for are Natart, Baby Appleseed, New Port Cottages, and Romina.  However, if your budget is limiting you to pressed-wood products, do not worry! You can contain most of the VOC’s by sealing any of the exposed edges.  The same idea goes for your baby’s closets and shelves, seal what you can.

2 Try your best to avoid window treatments or blinds made with PVC. When picking things for your children that are made of plastic use common sense and trust your nose.  If it smells like plastic, then it probably shouldn’t be around your child.  The harder the plastic the better it is, as the softer ones are more likely to contain harmful chemicals.

3 Any paint, paintings, decorations or adhesives should be checked to make sure they have low VOC’s.  Try to avoid using vinyl. When covering your walls try your best to use paper materials and check the adhesive for low VOC’s.  If low VOC’s can’t be avoided in the adhesive, make sure it is thoroughly dry and the room has been aired out before the baby sleeps in the room.

4 When in doubt use your nose! Most manufacturers make 2 versions of the same thing, scented and non-scented. Always go with the non-scented version. 

5 Take the time to air things out.  When you buy new furnishings, unwrap them and let them sit outside for about a weeks so they can air out. Don’t forget the little things like your dry-cleaning. Unwrap anything and everything you can before bringing it home. 

6 When it comes to painting try to do it in the spring or fall when it is easier to comfortably leave windows open for ventilation. If you are able, purchase non-toxic paints approved for the use of your nursery.  A good brand to look into is Lullaby Paints. Also, it’s a good idea to first paint a room then instal any carpeting or new textiles.  This way you have the opportunity to ventilate the room for a few days then instal because most carpets and textiles can absorb many of these harmful chemicals and re-release them into the air. 

7 As far as flooring, try not to use synthetic wall-to-wall carpets.  They can gather dust mites and mold and they emit VOC’s.  Linoleum, wood and tile are better choices.  You can make them more comfortable and child friendly by using washable wool or cotton throw rugs.



Friday, September 18, 2015

Prep your Home for Halloween with Oriental Trading


The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and with that comes all of the things I look forward to with Fall. From the visits to the pumpkin patch to decorating our home, I find that Fall is my beginning for the upcoming holiday season! Well to help when it comes to prepping the home and my family for the Fall and Halloween, I was sent a great selection of products from Oriental Trading to review.
I was very pleased to find a great selection of home decor items from the selection of Halloween and Fall decor. When it came to the Fall and Halloween decor, I like that I could choose from both indoor and outdoor decor, and that I could also find items that I could have personalized. One of the pieces that everyone seems to really like when they come to our home, and one that I think is really cute, is the Pumpkin Express Train. This train is great for putting on the mantle or on the table as a great centerpiece item, and with the characters that are on board, we find that it helps to bring some of that Halloween fun into the home!


To help with decorating outside this year, we found a fun witch which will look great on one of the trees in the front of our house. Also when it comes to decorating the trees, we found the Glow in the Dark Hanging Ghosts will look great in the dark as people pass by at night. When it comes to the hedges that are in the front of our house, we found the Zombies Caution Tape to make for a great decor item!


Then when it comes to finding those items to hand out at your Halloween parties and for those Trick or Treaters this year, we found the selection of Peanuts Halloween products to be something the kids will love this year! We chose to go with the Peanuts Halloween Finger Puppets along with the Peanuts Halloween Mini Bubble Bottles will not only be great to have to give out at our Halloween party and for the trick or treaters this year, but also some great items to have for our kids class parties! In all, making Oriental Trading a great place to check out when it comes to prepping your home for Halloween!



Product received, thank you to Oriental Trading as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Must Haves for Girls this Fall from Skechers

Wednesday will be the official first day of Fall this year, and for me that means pumpkins, hoodies, and the Fall fashions that are coming out! To get us ready for the Fall we were sent some of the new Shoutouts Zipsters in Gold to review from the line of Skechers Girl products!


With these shoes my daughter and I love the retro look they give, giving them that feel and look of the shoes I adored in the 80's with a glittery twist to them! The upper part of these shoes has a metallic faux leather to them, along with that high top look and laces that go all the way up. Along the front with the laces, you have a zipper edge that wraps around to the back, and a bedazeled look with the gems that are on the tops, giving these shoes a look that is unlike other high tops that we have found. The inside of the shoes have a soft lining inside with a cushioned insole, making these shoes not only fashionable, but also comfortable to wear for everyday use!

Then aside from the adorable must have shoes for Fall from the Skechers Girl line, we were also sent one of the very adorable, Skechers Twinkle Toes Girls to review. We found this doll to not only be incredibly adorable, but also a doll that has great taste when it comes to fashion. She has the fashion from head to toe, and on her feet she has a pair of the Skechers Twinkle Toes Shuffles, that light up and also look just like the high top design Skechers Twinkle Toes Shuffles that you can buy! Making the shoes and dolls from Skechers, a great selection to get for your girls to gear them up with that must have fashion for Fall!!


Product received, thank you to Skechers as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.
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Menu Options With Nutrisystem: Week 10

Nutrisystem is providing my program free of charge in exchange for participation in the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.


Here I am, 10 weeks in, and something I think I really have not mentioned in the previous posts is, I AM LOVING IT! I mean, if you would have told me that just 10 weeks ago I would be 20+ pounds lighter, I would have said, "Sure..." and probably rolled my eyes. But here I am, and with that 20+ pound weight loss I have noticed I have more energy and I have noticed that it is time to go out shopping! I have been putting off the shopping because well, I wanted to wear my clothes as long as I could, so when I go out to buy some new clothes, I will not be having to go back again and again every few weeks.

Well, one of the things I have gotten from friends and fans seems to be some of the same questions, like how does the food taste, can you add to your menu, what about those who are junk food junkies? I have posted the foods, and how even when I have been skeptical about various meals, I find that they are pleasing to the pallet. I also like that I can add to my menu daily, and that I have tools I can utilize when I am grocery shopping, allowing me to find the addons that I want! Also, one of my biggest things is the junk food, kinda what got me in the situation with my weight in the first place.

I mean, as a mom, I am on the go a lot during my days, leaving me feeling like when it came to food options, fast food and other quick grab junk food options were what I had to choose from, and I thought that was okay. I found that even when I get those cravings for sweets, I can go for them by choosing the desserts on the Nutrisystem Menu. Then when it comes to those things that I love, like burgers, I can grab one of those too! In fact, I can grab a burger for lunch, then if I wanted to, I could eat a brownie with it, instead of eating my dessert at dinner time, eat it with my lunch if I want. Allowing me to not get bored with my diet, and enjoy the menu options I have available to me!

And when it comes to this weeks magic number, I am pleased to say I am down 2 pounds from last week, putting me at a 25 pound weight loss!!!!!!

Nutrisystem is providing my program free of charge in exchange for participation in the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.
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