Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Just like her Grandpa!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Family Travel

Growing up I was lucky enough to get to travel with my family. At least once a year we would take off on some relaxing vacation. My parents would fill our time with fun family activities, beautiful sights to see, and delicious meals. Some of my favorite memories are from these amazing family vacations, so I wanted to be sure I could provide that to my daughter.

We took our very first family vacation when my daughter was only three months old. We rented a beach house so that we would be comfortable with a newborn. We needed a kitchen and room to spread out! This was one of the most amazing vacations I had ever been on purely because we were all together focusing on nothing but our family.

As my daughter has gotten older our vacations have become even more fun! We are always looking for kid friendly activities to keep her smiling and enjoying her time. But it's also become challenging. Finding a balance between keeping the little one entertained and getting some time in to relax can be tough. We abandoned the house rental idea because we started to feel like we weren't on vacation. We were food shopping and cooking at home. I was throwing in loads of laundry and we were losing that care free feeling.

We are now indulging in the hotel experience. It's another challenge because when she sleeps, during nap time or at night, we have to turn off all the lights and be completely quiet. So maybe we will experiment with a family suite that has an extra room. Another idea that has crept into my mind is an all inclusive family friendly resort, like Club Med's All Inclusive Resort. They offer so much for kids and parents to do to have fun and relax.

I'm sure as my daughter continues to grow and family continues to change we will still find challenges. But to me the family vacation experience and the memories that are made are more than worth it! I look forward to visiting new places and seeing new things. I can't wait to experience things through my daughter's eyes. I look forward to when she will be old enough to play in pool while I read a book. But for now, I will hold onto her tight because she is growing too quickly!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tommee Tippee at Target!

I am very excited to share the news with you that Tommee Tippee is now available at Target and on! Their Closer-to-Nature baby bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and feeding accessories, as well as their explora-toddler cups and feeding products are part of this great new adventure for two great companies.

I am huge fan of Target and tend to go there for most of my shopping. I am also a huge fan of Tommee Tippee, as my daughter has been using their cups for quite some time now. So I am thrilled to be able to purchase Tommee Tippee products at Target!

If you're not familiar with Tommee Tippee you should definitely check out their website. They are the leading feeding brand in the U.K., and they offer a variety of products for a variety of stages. We recently got the chance to check out truly spill proof drink cups, the easi-roll bibs, and the closer to nature pacifier, nipple, teether, and toy wipes.

I adore the truly spill proof drink cups and so does my daughter. They come in a variety of colors, so she was thrilled to see the purple and pink ones we received. She kept showing everyone her "new cup." I really like the design in that it gives me the option of having a spill proof cup, while still reinforcing the natural drinking technique. My daughter currently uses an open cup when she is seated at the table for meals. But when we are on the go this is my go-to cup of choice!

The easi-roll bibs have solved one of my on going problems. It allows me to roll up the bib so that it easily fits into a small diaper bag to take on the go with me. I am thrilled with the material of this bib as it can be quickly and easily wiped clean. This is the only bib I take with me for meals on the go because of how convenient and easy it is to pack and use.

The closer to nature wipes have come in handy on more occasions than I could have imagined. My initial thought was that I was kind of out of the cleaning things on the go because she doesn't have bottles or pacifiers anymore. But with the warmer weather and our frequent trips to the park I was cleaning dropped sippy cups on a daily basis. These wipes are packaged so that they are easy to toss in your diaper bag and go. Really a must have!

I would definitely recommend you check out their website and look for Tommee Tippee at your local Target!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Get Ready for Spring with Vera Bradley!

I have a true love for all things Vera. The obsession kicked in about 3 years ago and has since grown to an almost unmanageable state. The thing about Vera Bradley is that they are always coming out with new colors/patterns and new styles. So you can keep adding to your collection without repeating!

As many of you know the new colors for spring have already hit the shelves. I was super excited about this new line because of one color in particular. While all four are gorgeous in their own way, Camelia was exactly what I was looking for.  The subtle colors go with pretty much everything and the flowers just scream spring!

I am extremely lucky in that I got to check out this pattern in person! Vera Bradley kindly sent me the fabulous Grand Traveler bag and a matching Brush and Pencil bag. The Grand Traveler is exactly what I was looking for in terms of a good size bag for weekends away. I have the small duffle, but I am often finding that I need to pack a second bag when I'm going anywhere for more than a night. So the Grand Traveler gives me that extra room that I so desired.

This bag arrived just in time for a wonderful event. Over Valentine's weekend my husband and I planned a weekend getaway. My birthday happens to fall on Valentine's Day, so my wonderful hubby always tries extra hard to make it a special day and drag it out a little in terms of celebrating. So I was anxious to pack up and head to a bed and breakfast for a few days of relaxation.

The Grand Traveler really was grand. I was able to pack for three nights with no problem. I love that it has inside pockets to help keep me organized. It also has pockets on the outside. I love that it has a shoulder strap and a trolley sleeve for slipping onto the top of rolling luggage. Once the bag was fully loaded up it was pretty heavy. So if I were traveling by plane I would either try to keep it light by not packing my cosmetics and such in that bag, or I would plan to use it on top of a rolling bag. But since we were traveling by car and my time actually carrying it was limited it worked great! And I loved having a matching bag for all my make-up brushes to be kept separate.

We are planning a trip where we will be flying and I am planning on bringing the Grand Traveler as my carry on. It meets the size requirements for a carry on and will allow me to pack a change of clothes, activities for my daughter, some diapers and wipes, and her blankie and favorite stuffed animal. I love that I will be hands free walking through the airport so I can push the stroller and tend to her needs.

I am really pleased with my new bags. Vera Bradley really makes quality products that have style and function in every design. I would highly recommend you check out all of their great colors and styles to find something that is just right for you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kiddie Cooking with Clorox!

One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is cook! We have the best time finding the ingredients in the cabinet, measuring them out, mixing things up, and eating the final product. It's a great way for us to spend some time together and have a lot of fun.

Clorox has launched a brand new website where you can find all kinds of fun recipes to do with your kids. They have everything for creating science experiments with food, arts and crafts projects, and cooking ideas. Of course we all know that cooking with kids is not the neatest thing, but making a mess is half the fun. Let loose and have a ball knowing that the clean up will be a snap with Clorox! Visit to learn more!

To celebrate this new website and all the fun to be had with it, Clorox is hosting the Ultimate Mess Sweepstakes! You can tell just by the name that it's got to be fun. Sign up today for your chance to win $10,000 towards the Ultimate Mess Party... you could really make a mess with that! Plus, you will have the chance to win instantly daily. By sharing recipes you could win great prizes; and just for sharing you'll receive a coupon for $1 off Clorox Cleanup.

The new website and the sweepstakes are great ways to get started with sharing your awesome recipes and trying others. Cooking isn't only fun, it's educational too. It's a win win for you and your kids.

To kick things off I am going to share a fun recipe with you that I love to make with my daughter. She's a baker at heart and just adores using the mixer. This recipe doesn't really call for the use of the mixer, but we use it anyway because she loves it so much! This is a super easy, super delicious, and super messy treat! It's a huge hit in my house.

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring:

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, opt.
1/4 C. chopped almonds, opt.

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray.

Combine your butter and syrup in one bowl. In another bowl combine your sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (I didn't use any nuts in mine).

Pour half of your syrup/butter mixture into the bottom of your pan. Then sprinkle half of your sugar mixture on top.

Lay your biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping to form a ring.

Pour the remainder of your syrup/butter mixture over the top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375. I started checking at 15 to see when they were golden brown and ended up taking them out at 18 minutes... so keep an eye on them.

Let them cool for one minute in the pan and then invert them onto a serving platter. Enjoy!

These are super easy and incredibly delicious!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on this program, click here and see the Terms link.

Wordless Wednesday

Ok, I know this is supposed to be "wordless" but these are the first flowers my daughter has ever gotten... and they were from her daddy! i just think it's the sweetest and cutest thing. Her face lit up! Such a daddy's girl :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love

101 Stories Celebrating Special Times with Family and Friends... and Recipes Too!
Food is an expression of love — both the romantic kind and the comforting kind between family and friends. With its savory, sweet, and sometimes spicy stories, this delightful collection will sprinkle in laughs, warm hearts of readers, and stir up memories that certain aromas and tastes always bring. Readers will relish the stories on how love and food together played a flavorful part in life. Some recipes included too!
I am a big fan of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I love that they are made up of short stories that you can quickly read one or two. I often find myself getting so wrapped up in the inspiring stories of others that I can't put them down! A major bonus with these books is that there is one (or more) for everyone. From kids to adults, cat lovers to football fans there is a book for you.

This latest addition, Food and Love, is a great one for me. I love to cook and cooking for my family is the best. From hosting big holiday meals to a quiet night together, there is something special about sitting down to a meal made with love. This book is full of stories about special traditions, cooking together, memories, and more. And some of the stories even include recipes.

This is a great book to warm your soul and your belly! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dora The Explorer: Dora's Easter Adventure on DVD

My daughter is a huge Dora fan and so am I. There aren't too many shows that I feel comfortable putting on and letting my daughter just sit and watch. But Dora has so much to offer in terms of educational value and lessons about friendship.

Dora and her buddy boots are great examples for children on how to be good friends, cheer each other on, and be there to lend a helping hand. In this special Easter DVD they team up to help save the day when Swiper swipes the Hip-Hop Bunny's basket filled with treats for the big egg hunt.

Dora and Boots are great about involving the audience in their adventures. From figuring out which way to go to picking the right tools from their backpack, they keep the viewers engaged and involved. Dora is geared towards preschoolers and supports a lot of the skills that they are learning. From counting to shapes to ABC's. They even solve puzzles and complete patterns. And the kids just love it!

This DVD is a ton of fun and gets kids in the Easter spirit. It also offers two bonus episodes; The Grumpy Old Troll Gets Married and Dora in Troll Land. With these 3 episodes on one disk you get about 66 minutes of adventure! And you won't want to miss the special features where you can sing karaoke.

The suggested retail price for this DVD is $16.99 and can be found at most major retailers. And starting on March 30th until April 8th you can score a $3 off coupon HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Toy Machine Review and Giveaway

A couple of weeks ago I had the most unique opportunity. I had the chance to sit down at the computer with my daughter and build a friend on a website called Happy Toy Machine.

She was able to start by picking what type of friend she would like; bear, puppy, bunny, monster, are a few among the choices. Once she chose her critter (she picked a kitty cat) she then got to completely customize it. She picked the colors for the feet, legs, hands, stomach, head, tail.. the whole nine yards. She decided that she wanted to add wings and she wanted her name on the front. She even picked what kind of eye and the color of them. From head to toe this friend was completely created by her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Adventures of Chuck and Friends: Friends to the Finish on DVD Today!

I thought this DVD was perfect for preschoolers! I was surprised when I put it on that it had 10 episodes on one disk and runs for almost two hours. It's great because it's easy to watch one or two and then pick up where you left off for another couple of episodes. It keeps it interesting and exciting for several days as you work your way through the DVD.

Chuck and his buddies, Digger, Boomer, Rowdy, Soku, Biggs, and Handy, all have such big personalities. Chuck is the leader of the pack and takes his pals on all kinds of adventures. Boomer is my daughter's favorite! Her grandpa is a fireman, so she is really drawn to fire trucks. Boomer is also a little like my daughter. He can be shy and need a little encouragement to join in the fun, but he never hesitates to help when help is needed!

This group is one tight group of friends who are there for each other at every turn in the road. I loved the theme of friendship and helping one another that was present throughout. I also loved that music was such a big part of this show. I think it really helped to keep my daughter engaged and bopping along!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

J3LL Watches Review and Giveaway

Does anyone else view their watch as an accessory? I love to mix up my watches to go with my outfits. I have my fancy watch for parties, weddings, holidays, those kind of events. Then I have several casual watches with different color faces, different kinds of bands, and different styles to help me mix it up with what I'm wearing. Well, recently I was introduced to this really cool site that offers an easy and cool way to mix up your watches.

J3LL let's your build your own watch by choosing the color and the type of watch face you would like. But then you can switch out the faces to mix and match and create a watch that matches your mood and style! I think this is so awesome. The watches are more of a casual style, but these jelly watches are perfect for summer!

Enjoy an exclusive Facebook offer from Blo & Go- the amazing hands free blow dry.

Deal: $5off your online order
Date: Monday, February 13, 2012
Original Price: 29.95 + S&H

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cooking with Kids

My daughter tends to be a very picky eater. She's pretty hesitant to try new things and tends to get bored with options pretty quickly. I can't get too excited when I make something she likes because it never lasts too long before she is refusing it. It's challenging and frustrating because I know how important it is for growth, energy, and focus for kids to have healthy, well balanced meals. So I finally came across a trick that helps me to  make sure she is eating right!

Cooking with kids! Yes, it's that easy. The minute I started involving my daughter in the cooking process she became a much better eater. She helps me to plan our meals for the week. I tell her choices and she makes the decision. Then she helps me to shop for all the ingredients and I tell her what they are for. She loves being involved in this process and starts to take ownership of the meals.

Once we have a plan and all the ingredients the rest is just fun. Everyday we spend time gathering our ingredients and then preparing the meal. Her favorite jobs are helping me measure things, pouring things into big bowls, and mixing. She is learning so much about cooking and doing math without even knowing it! And we are having a great time together instead of me trying to throw dinner together while the t.v. entertains her.

Lady and the Tramp Diamond Edition is on Blu-ray Today!

Generations of fans have fallen in love with Disney's 15th animated masterpiece -- an irresistible 
song-filled adventure about Lady, a lovingly pampered cocker spaniel, and Tramp, a roguish 
mutt from across the tracks.  

When Aunt Sarah moves in with her devious felines Si and Am to baby-sit, the very protective 
Lady soon finds herself being fitted for the unthinkable -- a muzzle! In her bid for freedom, she 
meets and is charmed by Tramp, dog-about-town. Together with friends Jock, Trusty, and Peg, 
they share thrilling adventures on an enchanting evening as Lady learns what it means to be 
footloose and leash-free.  

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: I Heart Minnie on DVD Today!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: I <3 Minnie has been packaged to include five, fun-filled episodes - each underlining the themes of friendship, teamwork, sharing and problem solving – and an all new bonus feature “You’re Invited to Minnie’s Birthday Party,” as well as two complimentary Best Friend necklaces to keep as mementos and/or to share with a very special someone this Valentine’s Day. 

The five classic episodes include:·       
Minnie & Daisy’s Flower Shower (All-New, Never-Before-Seen) - The botanical highlight of the year is in trouble, unless Minnie and Daisy can get their flowers to bloom! Together, they board the glove balloon to help coax the clouds to sprinkle much needed rain.      

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wholesale Halloween Costumes Review

In my house costumes are an all year affair. My little one loves to dress up and pretend to be someone or something else. It's not unusual to see a dragon roaring through our home or have a ballerina show up at the dinner table. I fully encourage my daughter's creativity by providing her with a variety of costumes that transport her and her imagination to magical places. Getting costumes during the off season is easy and affordable with Wholesale Halloween Costumes!

Wholesale Halloween Costumes can be your one stop shop for any costume need. From animal costumes to princess costumes, you can find them all in one place and at great prices. So when we started to plan our daughter's first visit to Disney World that's the first place I started looking!

Treasure Buddies on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Now Available!

The Buddies are off on an all new adventure, and this time their journey takes them all the way to the ruins of ancient Egypt where, with the help of some new friends, including Digger the Archeologist dog, Cammy, a baby camel, and a mischievous monkey named Babi, they’ll explore mysterious tombs, dodge treacherous booby traps, and race against a devious cat in search of the greatest treasure known to animalkind, the lost collar of Cleocatra.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Blog Spark: General Mills and Star Wars: Episode I

On February 10th, Star Wars: Episode I will be leaping off the screen in 3D! This blast to the past to relive how the saga began is also being celebrated by General Mills. Participating Big G cereals are going to Star Wars pens in their boxes. These collectible pens will feature some of the most famous and beloved characters, such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, R2D2, Darth Maul, Queen Amidala, C3PO, and Jar Jar Binks.

With 8 pens to collect you will want to be sure to check boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Reese's Puffs, Cheerios, and Cookie Crisp. So you can get your whole grain and a cool collectible pen all in one box. Win win!

Be sure to check out General Mills for more info and take a look at the Star Wars Trailer.

Disclosure:  Prize pack and information have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Popcorn Factory Love Ya Gift Giveaway

The Popcorn Factory is full of delicious treats that would be sure to make your loved one smile this Valentine's Day. From buckets of flavored popcorn to candy and sweets, there is something for everyone on your list.

The Popcorn Factory is making this Valentine's Day extra special with a limited edition Love Ya Gift! This popcorn heart comes with 4 foil wrapped chocolates and is only $4.99! It also comes with a special coupon for the recipient to receive 20% off their next order.
You can learn more about The Popcorn Factory and all it has to offer on their Facebook page. You should also check out this perfectly corny video!

3 Lucky Winners will receive a Love Ya Gift!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unique Gifts from Novica

If you're like me you are always on the hunt for unique gifts. I love to give gifts that are different and unique enough to make the person go "Oh where did you ever find this!" Novica is the perfect place to find these gifts.

Novica gives artists and artisans around the world the opportunity to share their work with the entire world, and you the opportunity to have these pieces of art in your home. Their website is designed in such a way that when you view a product you get to see and learn about the person or people who create it. You are introduced to an artist who may be on the other side of the world who has something beautiful to share.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Fairy Tale Books Review

As a mother and a teacher and I am a huge advocate for reading. I believe that reading to your children from a very young age is so important. Not only is it beneficial for them, but it's a wonderful time for you to bond with your children and go on some exciting adventures!

My Fairy Tale Books offers a really unique reading experience. It allows you to personalize a story with your child's name, hometown, their friends names, age, and so much more. This brings the idea of going on an adventure through reading to a whole new level! It makes the book incredibly personal and special to the child.

My Fairy Tale Books is the perfect place to find personalized books because of the variety they offer. They have a ton of titles and genres to make finding the perfect one for your toddler or young child easy. Some of the titles also feature some beloved characters, like the gang from Sesame Street. They even offer personalized kids DVD's.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to check one of their personalized books out in person for this review. Since my daughter loves the story of Beauty and the Beast I decided to go with that title.