Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates Review

The holidays are coming and to me that always means a time to indulge in delicious treats. As a teacher the classroom is always filled with treats, but with the severity of allergies we need to be extra careful about what snacks are provided to the students or even just in the building. Very often the safest bet is to just make a "nut-free" rule to avoid any risk of a dangerous allergic reaction.

The founder at Vermont Nut Free Chocolates knew this fear all too well as her child had a peanut allergy. So now there is a wonderful solution for those with nut allergies. Vermont Nut Free Chocolates offers a fabulous variety of quality chocolate products that are completely tree nut and peanut free!

About Vermont Nut Free Chocolate
Established in 1998, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates specializes in handmade gourmet treats that are safe for individuals with peanut and tree nut allergies. Its product line includes fudge, truffles, caramels, chocolate bars, granola bars and novelty items. All products are made in small batches with only the finest nut free ingredients available.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try some of their newest fall and holiday products with my family. We received some of their Pumpkin Fudge, a chocolate Advent Calendar, and their Hot Cocoa. Here is a little bit about each of these wonderful new items.....

·         Pumpkin Fudge – Our new Halloween treat, spiced pumpkin fudge, delivers the favorite taste of the fall season! Creamy, smooth and rich with white chocolate, pumpkin and spices. Suggested retail price $7.65.

·         Advent Calendar – Available just in time for the Christmas season, the Advent Calendar is a fun way to count down the days until Christmas - by unveiling a delicious nut-free chocolate behind each door.  This new addition is perfect for celebrating the Christmas season with the whole family.  Suggested retail price $12.95.

·         Hot Cocoa – Another holiday favorite, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates Hot Cocoa hits the spot on a cold winter’s day.  Finally a nut free hot cocoa that has the same great taste as regular hot cocoa and has the slightest hints of vanilla, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates Hot Cocoa mix is available in a 16 oz. container. Suggested retail price $9.95.

Everything comes packages beautifully, perfect for gift giving. But the real treat is what's inside. We started with the Pumpkin Fudge.... oh sweet, creamy deliciousness. I had never tasted anything quite like it. It was rich, so just a small piece left me satisfied until a craving returned for more later on. It would be the perfect addition to Thanksgiving dessert!

Then we moved on to enjoying some Hot Cocoa. It was appropriate as we had just entered a cold front and could use some warming up. The Hot Cocoa was rich and creamy and definitely warmed us all up. Perfect to have on hand for cold winter nights.

We have decided to hold onto the Advent Calendar for this coming season. I know it will be far better quality than the ones I normally pick up in the grocery store. So we may be taking turns each morning rather than letting my daughter eat all the chocolate!

Our experience with Vermont Nut Free Chocolate was wonderful! From presentation to taste it is top notch. These are products I would be proud to send to loved ones or serve at my own holiday meals. And knowing that they are safe to send to teachers, colleagues, family and friends without having to worry about anyone with allergies is just awesome!

I highly recommend you head on over to Vermont Nut Free Chocolate's website and check out all the yummy treats they have to offer.

* I received items free of charge for review purposes. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Monsters University on Blu-ray Combo Pack TODAY!

First Contact - Monsters University Blu-ray Clip on Disney Video

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ornaments With Love

I love the holiday season! One of my favorite things to do is decorate for Christmas and the star of the show is the Christmas tree. My family has always had a love for ornaments. Every year each person gets at least one special ornament. An ornament that reflects something special that has happened that year, something they enjoy doing, or an ornament that reflects their personality. Ornaments With Love is the perfect place to find those extra special ornaments.

I have several ornaments from Ornaments With Love, and have given several as gifts. I have always been so pleased with the quality and love seeing the looks on people's faces when they open up a personalized ornament. This year I was offered the opportunity to review one of their ornaments and I knew exactly what I wanted to personalize for this year....

While my son was born shortly before Christmas last year, we didn't have a name picked out. So we weren't able to personalize any ornaments before Christmas. So this Christmas I wanted to get our very first personalized ornament for our beautiful family of 4! I chose the Personalized Snow Family.

This is the perfect ornament to add to our tree this year. Each hat has our names and our family name and year are on the snow underneath. The names are clear and easy to read. This will be an ornament we will treasure for years to come.

Ornaments With Love has a huge selection of ornaments for every person you can think of. From hobbies to pets to occupations. There truly is something for everyone. Head on over and take a look. Now is the perfect time to start your Holiday Shopping!

You can also follow Ornaments with Love on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for all the latest news!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Clumsy Duck - by Britta Teckentrup

Poor Clumsy Duck! Not a day goes by without her stumbling, tripping, or falling over her huge webbed feet. But with the help of her special friend Little Chick, Clumsy Duck discovers exactly what those big feet are good for - and what a fabulous swimmer she is. With delightful illustrations and a most endearing character, Britta Teckentrup has created a charming story about finding your own special talents.

My Thoughts:
This is an adorable story that sends a wonderful message to small children. I sat down to read this with my 4 year old and she had such compassion for Clumsy Duck. We were able to talk about the challenges he faces and how that must make him feel. Then when he meets a new friend, Little Chick, we were able to discuss all the ways that Little Chick was a good friend and how she helped Little Duck have confidence and discover her hidden talent.

This story is a relatable one for children who are starting to notice difference and compare themselves to other children. It breaks my heart when my daughter comes home from an activity feeling sad because she's "not as good" at this or that as some of the other children. This book makes children realize that they aren't alone and everyone feels that way about something and everyone has their own special talent.

The characters are lovable, the illustrations are cheery, and the message is important. This is an all around great book. Recommended for children ages 3-6.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monsters University on Blu-ray Combo Pack on 10/29

After scaring up big laughs in theaters, the in-home release of “Monsters University” opens its doors to the movie in stunning high definition Blu-ray, and provides hours of all-new bonus material, in-depth behind the scenes features, deleted scenes, the animated theatrical short “The Blue Umbrella” and much more.  Directed by Dan Scanlon ("Cars," "Mater and the Ghostlight," "Tracy"), produced by Kori Rae ("Up," "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc."), and written by Dan Scanlon and Robert Baird & Dan Gerson (“Monsters, Inc.”), “Monsters University” marks Pixar’s 14th consecutive film to debut at number one at the box office.

Ever since college-bound Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) was a little monster, he has dreamed of becoming a Scarer—and he knows better than anyone that the best Scarers come from Monsters University (MU). But during his first semester at MU, Mike's plans are derailed when he crosses paths with hotshot James P. Sullivan, "Sulley" (voice of John Goodman), a natural-born Scarer. The pair's out-of-control competitive spirit gets them both kicked out of the University's elite Scare Program. To make matters worse, they realize they will have to work together, along with an odd bunch of misfit monsters, if they ever hope to make things right. “Monsters University” bravely explores themes of self-discovery and the revelations that come with growing up.

My Thoughts:
As a mom of a almost one year old and a 4 year old....we don't get out to the movies much. But this movie came out in theatres on a Friday and had it's first showing at our local theatre at 10 am.... and we were there. We just love these monsters... so when they were coming to Blu-ray we were thrilled because now we can watch this monstrously funny movie any time we want!

This prequel takes us back in time to the beginning of Mike's dream to become a scarer and his bumpy road to get to Monsters Inc. Along they way we get to meet Sulley and are witness to an unlikely friendship that blooms during silly, nerve wracking, and sometimes heartbreaking events. We also meet a whole new crew of monsters that are silly and lovable.

I loved how this movie connected to the original. My daughter was so excited to see Randall make his appearance at Monsters U, and she was even able to figure out why Randall becomes so mean to Sulley. Not to mention a fabulous cameo by Roz! I was so happy to see that it led us right up to Monsters Inc and we now have the whole picture of where these two monsters started out.

While I adore Mike and Sulley I have to say that my favorite characters in this movie were their team of misfits. Art, Terri with an I and Terry with a Y, Squishy, and Don are the most lovable monsters you will ever meet. They are the best friends Mike and Sulley could ask for and are braver than they think.

This is a must own film that will make family movie night a real scream!

Download Professor Knight's Top Tips

ABC Animals - from The Museum of Natural History

Twenty-six letters -- 26 animals friends! From Armadillo, with it's long sticky tongue, to chimps that greet each other with kisses, to the slow-swimming manatee and plant-munching zebra, this delightful board book from the American Museum of Natural History introduces children to both the alphabet and some of the most interesting creatures displayed in the museum's galleries.

Featuring extra-large letters, fun facts, and bright eye-catching photos on every page, ABC Animals will enchant and teach preschoolers important reading skills.

My Thoughts:
With a one year old and a 4 year old in my house we have a ton of board books and lots of them are about animals. This is by far my favorite! I love this book because of the versatility it allows me when reading with my kids. I can introduce my son to animals and make some animals sounds while showing the same animals to my daughter and providing her with the letter identification and fun animals facts. There is just so much you can do with this one book to bring learning to kids of a variety of ages.

One of the qualities about this book that really stands out to me is that they use different animals then just the ones you typically see in toddler/preschool animals books.... and they use really fun facts that my daughter enjoys hearing and then remembers! It is so much fun to share this book with my kids!

Recommended for ages 2-5.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Second Screen Live

Exclusive Engagements Begin in Select Theaters October 18

This is my daughter's favorite movie! I hope it comes to a theater near us. Are you a Jack and Sally fan?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Win a Joovy Scooter Stroller!

I am a huge fan of Joovy products... so I am excited about this stroller! Enter for your chance to win one!

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Sprinkles! - A Book Review

by Jackie Alpers
Release Date: October 15th

Here’s a guide to baking delicious desserts with a colorful twist: sprinkles! Of course you can scatter them over cakes and pies—but you can also swirl them into waffles, “embroider” them on cookies, and freeze them in pretty popsicles. Jackie Alpers shares dozens of creative, colorful, super-fun recipes, plus quick-and-easy projects (ideal for little kids), holiday treats, party-perfect sprinkles crafts (great for gifting!).

She also offers simple tutorials for tinting sparkling sugars, concocting homemade pop rocks, and even crafting your own sprinkles from scratch. Sprinkles! is an awesome rainbow explosion of a cookbook you won’t want to miss.

JACKIE ALPERS is an award-winning photographer who writes, cooks, and styles recipes in her sun-lit studio and documents food and travel adventures on location. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

My Thoughts:
If there is one thing my little girl loves... it's sprinkles! So having an entire book filled with recipes and ideas for yummy treats that my daughter and I can make together is priceless. Sprinkles! is the perfect addition to our cook book collection. It focuses on all things yummy and pretty. My daughter and I sat down to flip through and look at the pictures. She got so excited and began pointing out all of the things she wanted to make.

I love this book because it's full of all kinds of fun information I never thought I needed to know... but will be a far better baker now. From the different kinds of sprinkles to the different ways to put them on. Decorating will be more fun and more successful! And did you know... you can make your own sprinkles?

We have a list of recipes to try from home-made pop tarts to Sprinkles-Stuffed French Toast. We can't wait to get sprinkling!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Purex UltraPacks Review and Giveaway!

As a busy mom of two I am always on the lookout for any kind of products that can save me time and money. This is especially true when it comes to my daily chores..... like laundry. I prefer not to spend my life or life savings getting laundry done. Especially since every time I turn around the hampers are full again!

Purex has been making my life easier with their fantastic laundry detergents. I can always find them on sale at my local grocery store and they offer me the stain fighting power that I need in order to keep my kids clothes looking like new. They already grow out of clothing way too fast... I really don't want to be replacing clothes because I can't get the stains out that kids are so famous for!

So I am very happy to share with you a product that I have fallen in love with. New Purex UltraPacks plus Oxi combines the convenience of easy-to-use Purex UltraPacks with the stain fighting power of Oxi. That one sentence pretty much says it all... but let me tell you more.

Just one little UltraPack is all you need to tackle your toughest load of laundry. I love how easy and convenient these packs are. I no longer have to lug around the big liquid detergent bottles or juggle to pour without spilling as the baby tugs on my leg. I can simply toss one in and get back to playing with my kids.

I put these single dose laundry packs to the test! My daughter had her very first soccer practice this weekend and came home with more than I had bargained for. Her knees were covered in grass stains! I figured this was as good a time as any to test out my UltraPacks int he hopes that the DirtLift Action formula would save the pants... and my mood. Success! The grass stains came out and we all survived to see our second practice. That obviously ended with more grass stains. But this time I stayed calm because I knew I had the stain fighting power!

You can learn more about this great new product and all the other products offered by Purex on their webiste.

And their is a great giveaway for you to enter! To help celebrate the release of Purex UltraPacks plus Oxi, the Purex Brand is hosting a sweepstakes where one grand prize winner will win $500 and a year's supply of Purex UltraPacks plus Oxi. Talk about saving money! And 365 second place winners will receive a coupon for a free pack of Purex UltraPacks plus Oxi. Enter HERE!

And to make things even better.... I have a coupon to give away! a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a free pack of Purex UltraPacks plus Oxi for review purposed. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition on Blu-ray Combo Pack - Review and Giveaway!

The Little Mermaid
Diamond Edition on Blu-ray Combo Pack
Available Today!

Film Synopsis:
Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson), is a free-spirited mermaid, who is off on the adventure of a lifetime with her best friend, the adorable Flounder (voiced by Jason Marin), and the reggae-singing Caribbean crab Sebastian (voiced by Samuel E. Wright) at her side. But it will take all of her courage and determination to make her dreams come true—and save her father’s beloved kingdom from the sneaky sea witch Ursula (voiced by Pat Carroll).

My Thoughts:
The Little Mermaid has been a favorite movie of mine since I was a little girl.  I remember going to see it in the movie theatre and anxiously waiting for it to come out on VHS. My how times have changed! And now here I sit watching it with my own little girl and loving every second of it!

This movie is filled with Disney magic. With adventure, romance, lovable characters, and of course an evil villain... this is a must own classic. With the vibrant colors and upbeat music you will truly be taken under the sea. And Ariel will have you rooting for her in her quest to fall in love with the charming Prince Eric.

While the movie is centered around Ariel and her adventures, it wouldn't be the hit it is without her silly sidekicks. From the anxiety ridden Sebastian (how will he ever tell King Triton all the trouble Ariel has gotten herself into) to her fearful, yet loyal pal Flounder. But I all time favorite is the quirky seagull, Scuttle, who loves to teach Ariel about the human world.... even though he doesn't have a clue!

This is the perfect movie to watch over and over again. A true family classic! And I have your chance to win a copy of your very own! Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below!

Download Puzzler Pages

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Hallmark Loyalty Rewards Program

See what you can get with every 5 cards you give

Now you can get rewarded for any Hallmark cards you buy, whether you buy them at Hallmark Gold Crown stores or more than 40,000 grocery and drug stores and supercenters across the U.S. When you buy 5 cards*, you'll earn a reward of your choice—redeemable for dollars off merchandise, dining or other perks from partners we've selected with you in mind. Plus, you'll also get exclusive offers and ideas just for signing up.

And right now there is a super contest going on! - Starting Oct. 1, every 100th new member (up to eight) to sign-up will receive $250 – Nos. 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and 800 to sign up on or after Oct. 1. That’s eight chances to be rewarded just for signing up! Click HERE to sign up and save!

Win a Joovy Bumprider!

Did you check out my review of the Joovy Bumprider? Now it's your chance to win one!

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Arlo's ARTrageous Adventure! - by David LaRochelle

Arlo's ARTrageous Adeventure!
by David LaRochelle

Who says an art museum has to be a serious place? This ARTrageous adventure will have kids flipping out! Arlo's not thrilled when his grandmother says they're going to the museum WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT. But when the paintings start coming hilariously to life, Arlo's in for a big surprise.

Lift 50 fabulous flaps to reveal hilarious surprises as you join Arlo on his tour of one very unusual art museum. David LaRochelle's playful illustrations reveal just how much fun art can be when you let your imagination run wild!

My Thoughts:
This book has quickly jumped to the top of my list for children's books! I was the child who dreaded the family trips to the museum. My parents and sister would wander for hours and I would find some hard bench to sit on and pout about not wanting to be there and it not being any fun. They would have in depth discussions about people and places that I had never heard of and wasn't interested in. I could not see beyond my own vision that museum were boring, torterous places. 

Then I went to college and took an art history class with a teacher that forever changed the way I looked at art. She told us interesting stories about the artists... things about scandal, romances, and deaths. She then looked at the art and pointed out things that a naked eye would never see. Things like the woman was painted to be ugly because she had been unfaithful to her husband. She made fun of paintings, she shared her love for certain styles, she opened my eyes to a world beyond what  you see on the canvas.

While much of what she taught me would not be appropriate to share with my 4 year old... this book is! This book is exactly what I need to get my daughter excited about museums. Arlo has the most incredible imagination - and so does my daughter. I just know she could look at paintings and see all the silly and fun things Arlo sees. And she adores lift the flap books - so she had a blast finding out what Arlo was imagining next. 

This is a fantastic book that has wonderful illustrations. I love that someone thought to create a children's book that understands kids feelings about museums and encourages them to be creative and find the fun in art!