Saturday, August 31, 2013

Smart Shield- Serious Sun Protection

This summer meant a lot of outdoor time and fun, we always make sure to use some for of sun protection. What people sometimes forget is as we send our children back to school the sun is still very much a threat. Recently my family received the chance to review a product called Smart Shield. Smart Shield is a Continuous spray sunscreen that you can wear all day every day. It is oil free so it won't stain your clothing or clog your pores. It is made to help let your skin breath, which helps you stay cooler, since it is quickly absorbed into your skin. The product is hypoallergenic, PABA free and DEET free for safe family protection.

Friday, August 30, 2013

PB Crave- The Peanut Butter Your Kids Will Crave

     Lets face it with back to school comes so many challenges. Making a lunch that your child will love to eat is just one of those, but luckily it is a challenge that I have found to be easy to solve. Recently we got the opportunity to review a product that is helping making our school lunches more fun and super tasty. PB Crave is peanut butter with a twist!
     Before we get into what my family and I think about this product lets talk a little more about the product itself. If you are a regular reader you know that my family is really striving to make a healthier lifestyle. SO I was pleased to learn that PB Crave is made with only the finest natural peanut butter, honey and mouth watering flavors. I love that they use healthy ingredients so that my kids can have not only a fun lunch but a healthy treat. The four fun flavors available are Choco Choco, Coco Bananas, Razzle Dazzle, and Cookie Nookie. Choco Choco is a delicious double dose of semi-sweet and rich dark chocolate with premium peanut butter and wild honey. Coco Bananas is a tropical blend of yummy bananas, cocoa and wild honey, this peanut butter adds a taste of island paradise to any kitchen.Razzle Dazzle is a twisted blend of red raspberry, wild honey, cool white chocolate and rich dreamy darkness. Cookie Nookie is a mouth-watering mix of chocolate chips, cookie dough flavor, wild honey and premium peanut butter. 
      My kids have loved trying all these fun flavors and I must admit it was a bit of a surprise what came out as the clear favorite. Two out of three of my children thought that the Razzle Dazzle was the most amazing peanut butter they had ever tasted! Infact we are nearly done with that I love that you can smell the raspberries in the peanut butter and see the chunks and swirls of all the fun ingredients. My daughter and I really love the Choco Choco, my husband actually makes fun of me because at the end of the night I like to just eat a little spoonful of it as a late night snack ;) and at 90 calories for a tablespoon I can add it as part of my diet with no guilt.
The taste and nutrition are not the only reasons to love this company, although they are very good ones, PB Crave does so much more then product a fun tasty product. PB Crave is different because they are actually making a difference. With a goal to help save the lives of 2 million children. A minimum of 2% of the profits from every jar of PB Crave peanut butter goes directly to Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization focused on treating malnourished children. The non-profit organization has helped save the lives of more than 100,000 children through ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) featuring high-calorie, fortified peanut butter-like pastes. Around the world, malnutrition is the leading cause of death for children under 5. It doesn't have to happen and you can help by joining PB Crave and help change the world one jar at a time.
PB Crave have one more great thing to offer, they would like to offer a great giveaway to my fans so please make sure to enter on the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win some PB Crave of your own.If you can't wait to try this PB Crave is now available at Walmart Supercenters and Cost Plus World Market stores across the US and to find a store near you check out their store locator at the bottom of their homepage on and don't miss out some fun and excitement with Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern on his OpenSky Page
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
*I received the above mentioned products in order to help facilitate this review. Regardless all views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced*

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Improve Your Skin and Body With NeoCell

       By now it is no secret that I am working to become the healthiest person I can and I am taking my family with me. Recently I got to review a couple of products from a company called NeoCell. Founded in 1998 after a health scare the creator of NeoCell wanted to share the knowledge he had gained about Collagen and what it could do to help the human body with the world. Today, NeoCell is the #1 collagen brand in the world and a leader in the field of nutritional science. Now on to the products :)
        The first product I got a chance to review was the new NeoCell Beauty Bursts Soft Chews. I selected the chocolate mint flavor because, well I love chocolate mint, but they are also available in fruit punch. NeoCell Beauty Bursts deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in yummy soft chews. Now for some reason to me it was very important to have something I could chew. When you are going from a lifestyle filled with processed foods and take out to a life style of natural products it can be very tough. These NeoCell Chocolate Mint Soft Chews have really help to curb some of those cravings. The taste was pretty good, although for me a little more mint flavor could be there, but they were and easy product to take. I simply unwrapped on in the morning and one in the evening and enjoyed them as more of a little treat then a supplement. I feel like I am really noticing a difference in the texture of my skin, primarily on my arms right now but I am hoping as I continue to take these I will see the difference else where. My favorite part though is that the ingredients are natural, they are gluten free, and lactose free!
       The next product I was able to try was the Collagen Sport Ultimate Recovery in chocolate. This protein powder provides just the right amino acids necessary to replenish the body’s collagen supply. It also helps minimize fine lines & wrinkles, and improves elasticity in the skin. While building and supporting bone matrix, correcting weak, broken, split and damaged nail beds. It is also said to thicken fine hair, add body and slow down hair loss, repair connective tissues for improved elasticity, improve circulation, and promotes wound healing. Glycine builds lean muscle to help burn fat while you sleep. Now are all these statements true?? Well maybe lol. Let me tell you about my experience. First the flavor, I was really surprised how mild the taste was. I usually mix my protein with less water so I can drink it faster, I really don't like the taste of most protein powders. While it had a slight chocolate taste it tasted more like water. Now honestly this isn't a bad quality to me. It actually made for the perfect powder to mix in with my smoothie to give it a great balance. I have always had nice nails so that was something I couldn't judge on. As I said earlier in the post my skin is starting to look better, and what woman doesn't want that! No the big change I have noticed is in my hair. My hair has always grown very slow and I have always had fine poor looking hair. I have noticed the growth has nearly doubled over the last month and I have actually received some complements on my hair for the first time ever. So to me this product is doing everything I could ask for. It is giving my body the nutrition that I need, making my skin look younger then it has in years and giving me the hair I never had. It gets my seal of approval.
       These products are available at GNC store nation wide. You can also purchase them online HERE.
*I received the above mentioned products in order to help facilitate this review. All views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced*

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bio Ionic and Agave Hair Care Trio Giveaway

 I am extremely excited to share more fabulous hair products with you from Bio Ionic! I recently received the Bio Ionic PowerLight NanoIonic Pro-Dryer and the Agave Hair Care Trio for evaluation purposes. I will be perfectly honest I will only use Bio Ionic appliances on my hair. I certainly love every single product that I have tried and the PowerLight NanoIonic Pro-Dryer is no exception.
 Bio Ionic (10) 
The dryer features: 
Bio Ionic (9)
2 Ionic Nozzles one for styling and one for speed drying

Bio Ionic (1)
A removable filter on the back with an addition filter
Bio Ionic (8)
Variable heat settings Cool Shot Button

Bio Ionic (5)
Hang ring and Heavy duty 9 ft cord
Hang ring Heavy duty 9 ft cord The dryer is also the fastest dryer with a powerful airflow (1875W) for fast drying without damaging the hair. It is light weight and easy to use. It helps eliminate frizzies and static. The NanoIonic mineral hydrates and conditions hair while the conditioning Nano Beads accelerate drying while also promoting shiny, soft, hydrated hair. Additionally the negative Ions cleanse and deodorize hair. Furthermore, it comes complete with a 5 year warranty! I am absolutely delighted with the PowerLight dryer. It is extremely light weight, fast, effective and easy to use. I also think it isn't as loud as other hair dryers. I love the fact that this dryer comes with 2 nozzles, and the cool shot button actually stays on if you just push it in. I genuinely appreciate that feature. I don't have to hold the button while I use the cool shot. I also spend less time drying my hair! In addition to receiving this magnificent dryer,  I also received the Agave Hair Care Trio.

Bio Ionic (3)
Agave Trio
 The trio includes Smoothing Shampoo, Smoothing Conditioner and the Healing Oil. The shampoo is sulfate free, is acid balanced that removes debris, dirt and styling build-up and is ideal for everyday use. The conditioner is paraben free and is also acid balanced. It gently conditions the hair while also detangling the hair. It does all that without weighing the hair down. The oil smoothes and restores the hair making it more manageable; while conditioning the hair to eliminates frizzies. These Agave infused products instantly makes the hair smoother and shinier without weighing the hair down or creating build up. I absolutely love the Agave products. Not only do they make my hair more healthy and manageable, but the products smell quite lovely too. Bio Ionic (12) Bio Ionic (2) 
 I will only use products on my hair that are sulfate free because my hair is not only bleached but also color treated, I certainly need products that can restore moisture in my hair. The Agave trio is ideal for color treated hair because it is sulfate free and paraben free. You can currently get the Agave Trio at Sephora. You can also find the latest photos on Agave Instagram Feed #ShineNaturally. You can also enter to win Bio Ionic PowerLight NanoIonic Pro-Dryer and the Agave Hair Care Trio right here! The giveaway is open to US and Canada. a Rafflecopter giveaway My So Called Balanced Life and the other blogs promoting this event are not responsible for prize shipment or fulfillment.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stock Up This School Year With Bigger Packs From Fruit of the Loom

     It is a part of nearly every homes back to school routine, school clothes shopping. It never stops amazing me to see how much each child grows over the course of the year. To help ease the pain and help you stock up Fruit of the Loom and Walmart have joined together to offer a bigger pack of your much needed undergarments and t-shirts. Recently I was given the chance to review some of this school years new Fruit of the Loom products.I have to say I was really surprised by the size of these packages the little girls panties came in a 12 pack, and the little boys boxer briefs came in packages of 8 each. We also received 2 packages of traditional Fruit of the Loom white t-shirts.While obviously as a mother  3 I do laundry on a more then regular bases, but it seems there is never enough underwear. Or should I say, no one ever puts enough underwear in the laundry room. lol 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Camouflage Corset

Over the last year I have really began to love wearing corsets. It all started when I started gaining a little weight really lol but then began to grow into something that I just really loved. Corsets can be used for more then just an adult attractant, they are also great to help reshape your waist line and give you a more slimming appearance. Most then a year ago I did a review for a company called Corset Chick, recently I was given the chance to review another one of their great products. This time I selected something a little more adult, yet appropriate enough that I could let me children see me in it. 

The Army Camouflage Corset has many great features which include:
•Finished in army camouflage design
•Fully adjustable criss-cross ribbon laced back
•Mild sweetheart cut
•14" in length  (front of the corset)
•Cut shorter at the back for added comfort
•Sturdy row of metal clasps on the front of the corset
12 light-weight bones through-out

Corset Chick has many great things to offer it is not just this corset, but my favorite feature is the availability of sizes. Most corsets are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, 3XL/4XL, and 5XL/6XL.
Now lets talk more about this corset! When I selected my corset I ordered the same size as I wore last time......ummm....not that size any I can get it on but my tie is still about 3 inches to While I have made great strides in losing weight over the last month a picture of me in the corset at this time was not possible. Now the size chart does read that they run small and it not fitting is completely my fault, however it will only take me probably another month to fit it properly so I cannot wait to show you guys! I did take some pictures of the quality of this product. 
You can see how heavy duty this fabric is, I love that it has a strip of fabric that you can use to cover the back if you chose. This feature to me really makes it a little more comfortable and I won't lie it hides that last little bit of back fat The ribbon is heavy duty and can withstand quite a bit of pulling, I tried hard to fit in it.
Not the best front picture but I feel it shows what I would like to highlight. The fasteners are metal and well secured, so when you get it tight it isn't going to pull apart. The metal ribs in this one seemed very solid to me which really helps to define the waistline.While I haven't completely gotten to wear this corset yet I can tell it is going to be one of my favorites. Between the quality and the pattern it will be the perfect fit for me, and a little bit of a waist cincher to ;)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rocky Mountain Popcorn- A Pop You're Gonna Love

There are many things in life that I love, the crunch of popcorn is one of those. So of course when I got the opportunity to review Rocky Mountain popcorn from Open Road Snacks I was beyond excited. When it first arrived my kids and I were both very eager to dive right in and review, we did :). I was really shocked at how many different flavors of popcorn there were. White Cheddar(my personal favorite), Butter, Caramel(okay so maybe this is my favorite I think it is a tie), Kettle, Jalapeno, Naked(lol plain), Cinnamon with Sugar and Southwest Cheddar(I didn't get to try this one but sounds yummy).
A little Jalapeno popcorn please :)
When shopping for snacks for my children it is so important to find not only something that is good for them, but also something they enjoy. Of course at the end of the day fruits and veggies are the best for you but sometimes you just need a special treat. Rocky Mountain Popcorn offers that for us. You can have either a sweet treat, something a little more savory or we can add just a little crunch to our day with the Naked flavor. Rocky Mountain Popcorn offers something that many popcorn companies just do not. Rocky Mountain Popcorn is all natural, gluten-free, and certified non-GMO kernels . Popcorn is a great source of protein, with more protein than any other whole grain, and has more iron content per serving than spinach or eggs! What most people don’t know is that popcorn is high in antioxidants, most notably the plant extract polyphenol. Honestly I didn't know that and I thought it was a really neat fact :)
We have really enjoyed reviewing Rocky Mountain Popcorn from Openroad Snacks. I was really excited to learn that I was able to buy is fairly locally. No worries though if you cannot find it near you it is available to buy online at their site as well!
*I received the above mentioned products in order to help facilitate this review. Regardless all views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced.*

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Poplets-Add the Perfect Crunch to Your Lunch

      Packing lunches for 3 children and making them happy can be nothing short of a miracle to say the least. My family going gluten free has made that even more of a challenge. Recently I was given the chance to review a product that not only gives my that gluten free option I have been searching for but it adds a little crunch to an otherwise boring lunch. Poplets Toasted Corn Centers are a crunchy snack that is available in three flavors, Asiago Ranch,Chili Picante and Sea Salt & Butter.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TerraCycle- Outsmart Waste This School Year

     As a family we try to do our part to help the environment, it isn't always easy though. Finding ways to live a greener life, while getting the things we need for back to school has been quite a challenge. Recently I learned about a company called TerraCycle that creates great new products from hard to recycle or previously thought of as non-recyclable products. Products that most families just throw away such as binders, candy wrappers, glue bottles and more! We received so many great products to help us stay green this school year. I can't wait to show you some of the amazing things this company is doing with "trash" and maybe even encourage your family to get in on the action.
The Skittle Bag Lunch Bag

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

KIND Snack Bars - Is Your Lunch #Kindawesome

     I can't believe how fast the school year is coming, it seems like only yesterday that summer had just begun. As I think about the school year it is only natural to start thinking about what I am going to put into my child's lunch this year. Recently I was given the chance to review and consider KIND Snack Bars. We received 5 great flavors to try, and of course like all reviews I do for food, the kids were more the eager to lend a hand!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tuesdays Giveaway Link Up

Tots and Me
Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me and Emily @ Emily Reviews

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

Our co-hosts this week are Ashley from Forgetful Momma and Mellissa from Something Like Life.

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

As The Apple Tree Grows- Weeks One

Last week when my son was cutting up his apple he found an apple seed that had a root coming out of it. Right away we planted it root down with in some loose local dirt, watered it and cover it is plastic. By day 3 we had to remove the plastic and on day 9 this is what is growing! I will be updating once a week now, probably on Saturdays I hope you come by and see how our apple tree grows :) I wish we could get more seeds to sprout!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Start the School Year off Right With Nature's Own Oatmeal Toasters

     It amazes me to think the the school year is only days away for our family. As we get back on schedule and the rush, rush, rush begins I can't help to think of fast and nutritious breakfast that I can feed my family. Recently I was given the chance to review a great new breakfast item that not only gives me something that is fast, but is also good for them. Better yet it is something that I can give my children a an on the go item. Nature's Own Oatmeal Toasters are such a neat idea to me. We have all seen traditional toasters covered in icing and filled with sugary substances, and of course our children would love those. Nature's Own has made something that is still appealing with sacrificing the great taste.

     My kids were a little leery to try these at first, of course because they looked healthy and what child just wants something healthy, they want it covered in sugar. As soon as I popped them into the toaster though their minds started to change. The house filled with the smell of oranges, it was really just beyond being able to describe how good in When I separated them to toast them it was really neat to see actual pieces of fruit throughout the toaster, real fruit, not a paste or a sugary slime but chunks of fruit. It really helped me feel even more comfortable that these would be a healthy option for us.
You can see the oranges and cranberries!
     First we tried them plain to see what they actually tasted like. We all really liked the taste, although my oldest was a bit put off by the orange flavor I told him not to worry they were available in Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Toasters as well. So he was really excited about that, since that is one of his favorite flavors of well......anything. We have really enjoyed trying these Oatmeal Toasters  out and I can't wait to pick up some more for the first day of school!
To learn more about this and other Nature's Own products head to their website. Or you can see what is new by connecting with them on Facebook. Don't forget to check your local store for these new Oatmeal Toaster.
*I received the above mentioned products in order to help facilitate this review. Regardless all views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced.*

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Woolzies Eco-Friendly Dryer Balls

        Whether we like it or not there is one thing in life we just have to do, laundry. Recently I was given the chance to review a product that I had heard a little about but wasn't really sure how they worked. Woolzies Dryer Balls are 100% New Zealand wool dryer balls that are said to do everything a traditional fabric softener would do, PLUS reduce drying time by 25%. This was very interesting to me, because as we have spoke before i am always looking for ways to save money! In the home the dryer can cost you nearly $20 a month for the average family. Take into account the expense of fabric softeners and you could be saving a minimum of $10 a month. I know I could use an extra $120+ a year! With 1,000 or more loads guaranteed per load, these will last for years on end to!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Be Ready For Your Day With Blender Bottle #GoStak

     With school starting I am back to running, running, running. Some days I feel like I don't have time to take care of myself. I always have on hand though my Blender Bottle and some protein powder. Recently the Blender Bottle company gave me the chance to review a great new revolutionary item to help me stay prepared for those busy days. The Blender Bottle GoStak is a portable protein & supplement carrying system and offers some great features.
Ready for the day!

  • Twist n' Lock™ System connects jars with ease
  • Secure Seal for worry-free portability
  • Durable Eastman Tritan™ material resists stains & odors
  • Fits Inside your BlenderBottle Classic™  or SportMixer™
  • Mix and Match jar sizes for a perfectly customized stack

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Hydration Movement, Join in This School Year #Sponsored

As the summer rolls on I fall more and more back into the life of a stay at home mom. The last year I had devoted my life to helping my students so much that I think perhaps I had neglected my own family a bit. I'm not just talking about my children and husband(although they had to much of not enough), but about my mom. If you remember back a couple of months ago I talked about my mother and her impact on my life. If you didn't get to read it you can HERE. Recently I have been able to do something I missed more then probably anything in the world, I got to talk to my mom. Sure I always had her there, I would make a noisy after school call as the children tried to relax for the day by fighting like mad! Actually being able to have a conversation for the first time in a year with my mom has really taught me so much now as an adult.

Of course a big topic has always been health, I think we kind of keep each other in check. Those little things that have been passed down from one generation the the next. "I'm hungry mom" I'm sure we have all heard that from our children, or maybe you are the one saying how hungry you are! One thing my mom always tells me is "Have a glass of water, you are probably just thirsty." Did you know that the human body can pass the feeling of dehydration off as hunger? It's true I promise you :) ask the mighty Google Gods, or Bing if you don't believe me. Another thing she always said was to drink two cups of water when I first wake up. I mean if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You are suppose to consume 8 glasses of water a day. Sure we have those in the 16 hours we are awake, but then your body goes 8 hours with nothing to fuel it, nothing to hydrate it.
Water is important for so many functions in the body, the most important function is your brain. Your brain controls every function within your body, so keeping it well fueled is very important. With school starting again it is important to realize the effect that dehydration can have on our kids. Did you know that up to 64% of children leave for school each morning without the proper hydration? Yet we expect them to learn. So this school year join up with me and Nestlé® Pure Life® in the Hydration Movement. simply visit Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water Facebook page to take the Pledge to drink more water and share your own Mom’s Wisdom story. 
By taking the Pledge, you have the option to enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to win the grand prize trip for four (4) to Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, or one of the 100 first prizes of a one year’s supply of Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water and receive a downloadable coupon to save $1.00 on two (2) .5-Liter or 8 oz. Multi-Packs of Nestlé® Pure Life® Purified Water (15-pack or larger). 
Thanks to my mom I will always be hydrated, and hopefully pass on a little #momwisdom of my own.
*This post has been sponsored by Nestlé® Pure Life® as part of a Linqia campaign all thoughts are my own and have in no way been influenced.*

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Take a Quite break Sweepstakes

Bosch home appliances, long recognized as the quietest dishwasher brand, has partnered with the Jamaica Tourist Board, Delta Vacations and the Palladium Hotels & Resorts to launch the Bosch Dishwasher Review Sweepstakes, giving one lucky winner the opportunity to leave the dishes behind and embark on a four-night  beach getaway for two at the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

From now until January 31, 2014, Bosch dishwasher owners can enter the sweepstakes by writing an online review about their dishwasher on the Bosch home appliances U.S. website at

Wordless Wednesday-Looking into the Past

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Your Little Champion Will Flip For Chobani + Giveaway

       Around my house yogurt has always been a big favorite. With so many options these days it can often be hard to find a yogurt that is not only healthy, but something that my children will enjoy. Recently my family was given the chance to review a new line of Greek Yogurt products from Chobani. When our package arrived I was nothing short of amazed by the variety that I had been sent.
The amazing selection we received for review

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hallmark Pics N Props Back to School Giveaway

The first day of school is such a rush. You need to remember exactly what time to set the alarm, exactly when the bus is coming, and exactly what to pack for lunch. Wouldn't it be great to take one moment to just pause during the first day rush? Hallmark has come up with a way to do just that. Hallmark created the Pics ‘N’ Props School Days Activity Kit. The kit comes with a chalkboard your child can hold, with cards that read each grade level, from pre-school to graduation. You can take one photo on the first day of school each year, then place it in the accompanying album. You can also fill out a card that summarizes your child's school year with things from teachers' names to friends' names. This is such a sweet way to look back on your child's education. Living Frugal with Erika had the chance to review the awesome and adorable Pics 'N' Props School Days Kit. YOUR BLOG HERE is joining with Living Frugal with Erika to give away this activity kit -- plus a set of cards (including cards from the SO SO Happy collection) to give your child throughout the school year. ADD 3 -5 Sentences for SEO!   One lucky winner will win this Hallmark prize pack. The giveaway starts now and ends at 11:59pm EST on August 17. To enter, just use the Giveaway Tools Form below. The winner must be a US resident who is 18 or older. The winner will be contacted via the email address in the Giveaway Tools Form and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. Failure to complete the mandatory blog entry comment will void all other entries. The mandatory blog comment is the only entry you MUST complete. All other entries are option to gain more entries in this giveaway! There are some options that have a daily entry option, so be sure to come back and get your daily entries! For additional chances to win, enter to win this same prize pack on Drugstore Divas and BB Product Reviews

My blog received no compensation for this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Don't Count Me Out - Book Review

        I have talked a handful of times about my middle son. He not only struggles from many health challenges but he also suffers from many learning disabilities. When a review came available on the book Don't Count Me Out by Barbara Dianis, MA ED I was excited to give this book a read. Like most people I started with the back cover lol, but I found some facts that just blew my mind! Did you know that every day over 7,000 teenagers decide to drop out of high-school?? That is more then 1.3 million children annually! To me that is just an amazing number of children who feel like they can just not do it any longer. Seeing my son struggle this past year it became a strong reality that if this path continues my son could very easily be part of that statistic. Don't Count Me Out is a book of hope though, more accurately two books put into one. A guide to better grades and test scores, pre-k through 12th grade. 
       I liked a lot of things about this book, first off I LOVED the positive outlook that was kept throughout the book. Reading about real life stories of struggling children succeed really helped me to feel that their was hope. One of my favorite parts was though at the end of many of the chapters were ideas to help struggling students. As a parent and a former educator in special education they were things that I needed to be reminded of. I am going to include just a couple of he ones that really struck me the most.
  • Celebrate the small successes that will lead to larger ones.
  • Keep reminding your child they are bright. Tell them their talents and abilities.
  • Just because the last test or quiz was a low grade, doesn't mean this one will be.
  • Review the basics a few minutes a day.
  • Think before you speak, to many negative words can create a bigger problem.
       Now I did put those into my own words and there are probably almost 100 great ideas in this book. Little tips and tricks to help  you help the child in your life. Honestly I think these ideas should be given to all children, not just those who struggle, it could do no harm to use all the ideas in this book for your children.
       I mentioned earlier that their are two books within this one great book. In the second half of the book the author takes you grade by grade and discusses various things. From the problems that the child may be facing in their grade level to a solution for that problem. Problems like my 8 year old is facing like building good vocabulary skills and his low reading comprehension. Or the things my soon to be 5th grader may encounter, like grammar and creative writing(my down fall). Reading this book may not solve every problem that I will come across, but I feel like it would be a great starting point, not only for myself but for anyone who may have an influence on the education of children.
        If you would like to purchase this book, or learn more about it you can use the following resources:
*I received the above mentioned product to help facilitate this review. Regardless all views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced.*

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Princess Twilight Sparkle is at Build-A-Bear + Giveaway

        If you have a little girl then likely you know all excitement behind My Little Pony and the joy they bring. Build-A-Bear has listened and created a great line of stuff friends for your little one, or inner child. The newest addition to their My Little Pony family is Princess Twilight Sparkle.
        It is always a fun moment when your new friend arrives in their little house. Unfortunately we are 6 hours away so most of our pets arrive by mail. They are always packed with care and love in their own house. Princess Twilight Sparkle was no different because Build-A-Bear gives every friend the royal treatment. Measuring 16 inches tall she is very large and filled how you want her. In our case she has a nice firm filling so she is able to stand on her own, after all you cannot rule a house without being able to stand on your 4 golden shoes.
        As you can see when we received Princess Twilight Sparkle it was love at first sight for my daughter. Like all the Build-A-Bear friends we own she is very well put together and handles play time without any noticeable wear. If you have  a Build-A-Bear in your area I highly recommend taking a trip to find your favorite new friend. If you don't happen to have one in your area no worries at you can find the perfect friend for your family. They are sure to have one for you and treat it with the love and care you would see in store. Build-A-Bear offers great in store parties for your little one. We plan on arranging one very soon when we head to see family :) After all you only turn 6 once, and Princess Twilight Sparkle is missing Rainbow Dash dearly.

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*I received the above mentioned product in order to help conduct this review. Regardless all view expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced.* 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back to School Trends with Style Expert Nicole Feliciano and Walmart

     We all know what a hassle back to school can be, this is cool, that is cool..........what is cool now?? Recently I was given a chance to meet up with style expert Nicole Feliciano and discuss this school years hot trends, and ways to help your family get ready for the coming school year.
     Trends this year seem to be headed back to a time I know to well........80s here we come! That's right just think of it this way, if Madonna liked it your daughter will probably want it to. Popular jean brand l.e.i. is back at it with their colored denim, which is not only going to be popular with girl but with boys as well. Oh yes you heard me colored jeans are coming back for boys as well. While I am talking about jeans and boys the rocker look is coming back. I'm not talking skin tight skinny jeans but buying them a little snug this year is sure to please. If you have a boy with a smaller waist then Wrangler has the product for you, with their new adjustable waist jeans even the most difficult waist can find a good fitting pair of jeans. When it comes to shirts it may surprise you a little what is coming in. Vintage wear for girls is a big big yes this season! I bet you wish you were a hoarder now huh?!? For boys and tweens there are character print t-shirts as well as plaid. The layered look is going to be very popular this fall, and don't be afraid to let them layer their plaids and prints together. Looking for something more basic?? Hanes has a great new line out that won't fade or shrink. You can layer short sleeve with long sleeve as the weather gets cooler. Doing this will also help stretch your budget.
     We didn't just talk about the new products that were available but how you can help your family save money this school year, and keep in style.  First great tip was to shop your closet, bringing a great fashion trend to life doesn't just mean going out and buying what is on the shelf. Going through you closet can help you establish a baseline of what you have. Get three containers (keep, sell, wear) and clean it out good. Besides when you bring home the new clothes you don't want to have to buy new hangers to. You can also dress up those old pants, skirts and shorts. For pants find some nice belts, glitter and neon are in this season for girls so make it sparkle! For your shorts and skirts pick up a couple pairs of leggings. Footless leggings are really popular not only with kids but at school, no more hassle when dealing with those slips and falls of traditional leggings. Walmart has a great selection of everything you need this school year.
     Uniforms? While I am so happy we don't have to wear them here I know it is a growing trend all around the country. Help your child find their individuality with great head bands and socks. Neon and glitter all around this season, good news is you won't lose your For younger kids spice things up with superheros and Hello Kitty. Backpacks are also a big trend setter when it comes to uniforms so let your child pick out the one they love.

     Drama? We have your  drama...and some great ideas to help survive. Pre-shop, yep get out some catalogs and jump online and look around. You and your children can discuss outfits before those embarrassing store meltdowns happen. If they know what is acceptable before they head into the store then you will be saved a big headache. On your first shopping trip spend only a portion of your budget, we all know it is coming, that first day jealousy moment were Bridget has cooler stuff and it is no fair! If you wait to finish your shopping till after school starts you can make your wallet and your child happy.
     Remember back to school doesn't have to be hard at all :) with some time and planning everyone can be happy. Most states have a tax free weekend so look for yours, here is Texas it is August 9th-11th.

Pilot Pens- If You Need a Pen They Have It For You!

        I have talked many times on the blog about how much I love a good pen. Recently I was sent an amazing selection of pens from Pilot Pens, so many in-fact I will be dividing this review into two parts! 
All the great pens that will be reviewed, in a cute little lunchbox!
        With the school year coming pens are on my mind more then they normally would be, I need black pens and red pens, blue pens and cool pens. It amazes me these days how different they make them all and how as a child even the wrong pen can seemingly make you the target of being bullied. My oldest son is getting to that age. Pilot offers so many different pens it is hard to know where to even start, I guess I will start with the basics.
This is the Pilot Precise V7
        The Pilot Precise V7 is an extra fine tipped pen, with a unique liquid ink technology this pen offers a consistent flow of ink. We are really enjoying this pen, I actually have exchanged my normal pen that I keep in my wallet for this pen. The main reason being I hate when it is time to sign a check or a receipt and my pen misses part of my name. I have horrible hand writing already, going over it a second time. Or even better having to put a little twirlly to get my pen writing again, is nothing short of annoying. The smooth flow of this pen avoids that. We received the basic black pen which is great for every day use, but this pen is available in 7 great colors(black, blue, red, green, purple, pink and turquoise). With its visible ink supply there is no guessing game about when it is time to replace it either!
The Pilot G2
        Another great set of pens we received was the Pilot G2. We were lucky enough to receive two different packages of this great pen. The G2 has a gel ink that is meant for smooth writing and is also smear proof. I loved the smear proof feature of this pen. I am the worse when it comes to dragging my hand across the paper as I write. When I am writing just one sentence it doesn't come into play. But sometimes I like to sit down and write out my blog posts first, and that is were it becomes an With this pen the problem is solved and I can continue to drag my lazy hand around the paper. The Pilot G2 is available in 4 sizes(Ultra Fine, Extra Fine, Fine, and Bold) as well as 15 different colors(black, blue, red, green, purple, burgundy, pink, turquoise, navy, orange, caramel, lime green, periwinkle, teal, and hunter green.) The G2 is also available with neat pen designs! If you are looking for a pen with a million possibilities you will surely find a G2 for you.
       We are having so much fun with these pens and the fun has just begun! Make sure to swing by tomorrow, as the days go by the pens will get even cooler! You don't want to miss all the great products I have left to show you.
*The above mentioned products were received in order to help facilitate this review regardless all views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Time PEEPS Flavors Review

You may remember a while back I posted about some great new PEEPS flavors for the summer. If you missed that post you can head over HERE and check it out. Recently I was given a chance to try these two new flavors. While I have to say I was a little bit leery to try something new I love traditional PEEPS so I figured these were worth a try. 
The first one my kids and I tried was the new Bubble Gum PEEPS.
I love that they come in a large 10 pack, because in a family of 5 anything less might have caused a I was really shocked when I opened them how much they smelled just like original bubble gum. I have to say these were by far the freshest package I have have had as well. Another fun thing was they are all pink. Unlike traditional PEEPS that are covered in colored sugar, yet remain a white marshmallow.
How neat is that?
We really enjoyed these, the flavor was light and sweet. It was so funny my son kept asking if he was suppose to eat it like gum or a PEEP.
We also tried the Sweet Lemonade flavor of PEEPS. It was different, it was the sweet PEEP flavor with just a little taste of lemon, luckily I LOVE lemon and was more then eager to try this one. Unlike the Bubble Gum flavor they only come in a 2 pack so I had to sneak this one after bed time had hit ;)
Aren't they cute :)
PEEPS have always been a holiday favorite around here, now we can brighten up our summers to!
*The above mentioned products were received in order to help facilitate this review. Regardless al views expressed are those of my own and were in no way influenced*

Wordless Wednesday-Black Bear Pass

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Simply Snackin a Great Snack for Your Lunchboxes

         With the school year fast approaching, we are constantly looking for great snacks to add to our children's lunchboxes. Something not only fun but healthy as well. Recently we were given the chance to review some great products from Simply Snackin. Are dried meat snacks packed with protein and low in calories. One of the best parts for our family is they are Gluten free as well. We received a great variety of snacks to try from which included the following flavors.
  • Beef Sirloin with cranberries & blueberries
  • Beef Sirloin with apples & cherries
  • Teriyaki Beef Sirloin with pineapples
  • Chicken Breast with black bean salsa
  • Italian Chicken Breast with Romano cheese
  • Teriyaki Chicken Breast with mangoes & papayas
         I was really surprised what a great size these were. They seemed much larger then a "regular" dried meat snack. I really loved the flavor of them all but the two Teriyaki flavors were really my favorite. The dried Teriyaki Beef Sirloin with pineapples had little chunks of pineapple that not only gave it a nice texture but really added to the flavor. In fact all the these great flavors were like that, from dried cherries to pineapples each had little bits of flavor throughout. Another great part was the ease of chewing, I know that sounds really weird but have you ever had a piece of jerky that hurt your jaw?? Not with Simply Snackin.
       At 60 calories a piece, with a half of a gram of fat or less there are a  perfect snack to add to your lunchbox line-up. And with 8 grams of protein or more it will give you that boost you need to keep going.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.