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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Garage Sale Finds = SCORE!

I absolutely love going to garage sales. It is the thrill of never knowing just what you might find. I mostly look for kids stuff, well because that's my life. But lately I've been finding great deals on clothing for me too!

We live in a small town so there usually isn't but a handful of sales each weekend. So I usually just load up the boys in the double buggy and we go to any within walking distance. I figure by the time I drive all over town and unload the boys from their car seats and then load them back in it would defeat the whole purpose of going.

Big Brother LOVES garage saleing almost as much as I do, if not more. We have been going together since he was a baby and he always gets to pick out a new toy if we hit a sale with kid stuff. This past Friday we had to travel to his 4 year doctors appointment in the neighboring city where there are endless garage sales. We wouldn't have too much time so I picked out a couple that sounded great on Craigslist and off we went.

The first and only sale we hit was a major score! Kid toys, kid clothes and more more more! I spent a total of $40 for 29 items! Everything was name brand and in excellent condition.
Here is what I came home with...

(for me)
• Hollister Sweatshirt 
• American Eagle Shirt
• Wet Seal Tank Top
• Nike Tank Top
• Book

(for Big Brother)
• 4 pairs of 5T jeans (for next year)
• pair of Carter's Sweatpants
• Quicksilver Hoodie
• 5 pairs of shorts
• 4 T-shirts
• 2 boxes of flash cards
• 4 Transformer Cars
• Word World Movie
• Crayola Magic Finger Paint (not pictured)
• Fisher Price Basketball Hoop

I was able to get numerous 5T items to put away for Big Brother next year and the big find was the basketball hoop for $5! It adjusts up to 6 feet! So averaged out each item was only $1.39! Can you tell how excited I am about it!

I also hit one local sale on Saturday and found four shirts for myself. All name brand and super cute for $1 each!

I'm already starting to panic as garage sale season only has a few good weeks left! It's a long winter waiting for good weather and sales to start back up again, usually not til early June if your lucky!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lakeshore Learning - Pop & Win Bingo Game Review

Summer may not yet be on the downhill, however Back to School is everywhere and on everyone's minds. And whether you homeschool or send your little ones to the bus each morning Lakeshore Learning has the products to make learning fun!

Big Brother is not yet ready for school yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not preparing him and trying to teach him as much as possible before he does go. And having the opportunity to review the Pop & Win Letter Sounds Bingo game from Lakeshore Learning helps make my job just a little easier.

About Lakeshore Learning
Lakeshore Learning is dedicated to creating educational products that make learning fun. They have products for infants to 6th grade and strive to develop products that will appeal to children of all interests, backgrounds and abilities. They are strong enough to be used daily in classrooms as well as for at home use.

Lakeshore Learning & Pop & Win Bingo Game Review
We have been having a blast with this Pop & Win game. It is targeted to kids age 3 to 6 years so it is perfect for Big Brother. We can play it together or he can play on his own. We can also all play as a family as it is good for up to 4 players.

The game is played like traditional bingo, however it comes with 3 different pop bubbles (think the game Trouble) each bubble has a dice with different letters on it. Whichever letter pops up you match that sound to the pictures on your game card. Such an easy simple concept, however this makes learning so much fun and Big Brother is catching on so quickly to the sounds this way.

The Pop & Win Letter Sounds Bingo game is priced at $29.95 and you can purchase it here from Lakeshore Learnings web site.

I really love the Lakeshore Learning web site and plan to stock up soon for pre-k learning items for Big Brother. I admire and have total respect for homeschooling parents, but I myself need a little assistance. You can search their website by category or by age/grade. They have tons and tons of products and each one looks like so much fun. They also carry unexpected items like costumes, musical items and my favorite are the sand/water tables.

Lakeshore Learning is currently offerning 20% off hundreds of their favorite products and you can get free shipping when you spend $79 or more. But keep up to date with all promotions, coupons, giveaways and fun information by following them on Facebook and of course Twitter! They also have and Apps store where you can purchase learning apps for your iphone, ipod touch or iPad!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.

Organic Forever Cloth Review

I cloth diaper, recycle and try to be as "green" as possible. However one thing I use and don't know if I could live without is my paper towels. I use them for anything and everything and love that the mess can just be thrown away. Especially when it comes to my pets!

Well I recently moved in the right direction of at least cutting back when I had the opportunity to review Organic Forever Cloth by The Willow Store.
What is a Forever Cloth?
The Forever Cloth is two layers of cloth. One side is a soft layer of organic hemp/cotton fleece and the other is a rough scrubbing organic hemp/cotton terry.
12" x 10.5" in size. Machine washable and meant to last for years!

Forever Cloth Review
So I have to admit the Forever Cloth is pretty cool and useful. You could absolutely use these cloths for a hundred different uses. I really love to use mine in the kitchen, but here is a list from The Willow Store for suggestions on use:

• Soaking up spills
• Dishes
• Reusable Napkins
• Windows
• Bathing
• Carpets
• Appliances
• Camping, Swimming, Hiking, Outdoor Sports
• Drying hand washed clothes in half the time!
• Pets
• Picnics
• Home Medical
• Polishing
• Dusting
• Office - Safe for computer screens
• Restaurants
• Travel
• & More!

They remind me of cloth diaper inserts and I've noticed the more you wash them the more absorbent they get, just like a diaper. And they absorb very very good. I like to dry the high chair tray with one of mine. I keep one aside for just this use and that way I know it is fresh, clean and no bacteria lingering.
They are a generous size and I love the two different sides. One for soft wipe up cleaning and one for a little tougher scrubbing. The soft fleecy side is so soft you could easily use them on your skin for bathing or perfect for wiping the little ones faces.
The cloth is sturdy nice quality and you can tell these will last through a million washes. And for just $4.95 for a single cloth or $27.95 for a 6 pack, you could save a lot of money by eliminating paper towels. They also carry a Mini Forever Cloth too that is 10" x 8" and a tad bit cheaper.

So weather you are ready to completely rid you life of those expensive paper towels or just take a step in the right direction like me, I would totally recommend trying the Forever Cloth. Big enough to soak up spills and keep your hands free of whatever unexpected mess might be waiting for you next!

Purchase your Forever Cloths here at The Willow Store and while your there check out their other fantastic products! They carry a wide range of products from Cloth Diapers, Natural Laundry Care, Natural Feminine Care & more! They truly care about the earth and you will see this reflected in their products.

Make sure you also follow The Willow Store on Facebook and Twitter for fun facts, giveaways, products and more!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Schlage Keyed Entry Door Handle w/Alarm Review

I've had the pleasure over the last 3 months to thoroughly review the Camelot Style Keyed Entry door handle with a built-in alarm made by Schlage. I chose the aged bronze finish, and this lock set is very classy and well built.

I first spotted this door handle in my Handyman magazine. Yes my Mom got me a subscription to Handyman as a gift. See in my family (I have 2 sisters) all us girls are the DIY type. We want something done we usually do it ourselves. Especially my Mom. Not that our husbands can't, we just  usually don't wait for them to do it.

Anyways, I spotted this door handle in Handyman and they were describing the features and I knew that this was something that every family needs to have on their doors. Let me tell you why.

This door handle has a built in alarm. And not just one alarm, it has 3 different options depending on the type of alarm you want at the time. You can also adjust the sensitivity of each alarm and how easy you want it to go off.

Alarm Types
• Activity Alert
• Tamper Alert
• Forced Entry Alert

Activity Alert: This alarm gives two short beeps to let you know when the door has been opened or closed. This is a great feature for families with small children, like mine, where they are big enough and smart enough to open the door but should not be headed outside alone. The alarm is loud enough to be heard through my entire one level house. This would also be great for families with teenagers, sorry kids no sneaking out this day and age. Or will alert you when someone is home past curfew :o) Also just a great everyday use for the comings and goings of the household.

Tamper Alert: This alarm gives one long alarm sound when the lever has been disturbed. Perfect for at night when everyone is home and inside. Or when you are home alone and not expecting anyone. A great feature for single mom's, or a family where the husband is gone a lot. If anyone touches the door handle and messes with it the alarm will sound and you will be notified.

Forced Entry Alert: This is perfect for when you are out of town or again home alone. If someone attempts to mess with your door with some force or tamper with the lock a steady siren alarm is triggered and acts as a theft deterrent. This is the most common use for all the time usage.

You can easily turn off any alarm settings as well with the simple push of a button.

The handle and lock was so simple to install. I easily installed this in less than 10 minutes. And this was including removing the old handle and lock set. There is no wiring required and the lock comes with two AAA batteries to it is all ready to use. Batteries are said to have a three year battery life as well as a low battery indicator.

Inside AFTER

(Please disregard the ugly brass deadbolt lock. This will be next to go. Very soon I hope.)

The lock set also comes with a handy feature of removing the strike plate on the door lock if you door is not equipped to have one. I was so happy it had this feature or I would have spent some extra time chiseling on the door. The lock is guaranteed to fit on all existing pre-drilled doors.
Outside BEFORE

Outside AFTER

Programming the alarm is a breeze. Simply press the alarm button and scroll through the led lights. Each led light represents a different alarm. Choose the one you want for that time and your done. Easily change the alarm to different settings anytime you want.

Now what I think is so cool about this built in alarm/handle system is that for one it is so affordable. For the safety of your family this handle set costs right around $100. For $100 bucks you can manage the comings and goings of your household and be pre-warned or cause an intruder or attempted intruder to flee before entering your home.

Did you know? 70% of home break-ins are kick-ins to a door. Exactly why the factory setting is defaulted to the forced entry mode. (fact from Schlage)

I also love there is no wiring or programming. Simply install the lock and your done.

Now there are a few things I didn't like or wish could be possible with the lock. First I wish that you could utilize all three alarm settings at the same time. As I would like to have the activity alert setting on at all times with my little ones as well as the forced entry alarm for at night time.

I also locked myself out of the house with this lock. Yes this was mostly my fault, but let me tell you why. The door handle can be opened from the inside even though it is locked. I'm sure this is a security feature, however going to take out the trash, walk, etc if you are not careful and shut the door your are stuck. Me and my boys headed out for a short walk and I had yet to put a spare key out for the new lock. And as soon as I shut the door I knew I was in trouble. We have always had to have a key to lock the door when going out, so this new lock has been an adjustment. But you can be sure I won't do that again.

Third thing and it is more annoying than awful is that on the forced entry setting, if I have my hands full of groceries or kids or whatever and I kick the door too hard to close it, the alarm will go off. Again not awful but I find myself doing this more and more lately. And perhaps I just need to adjust the sensitivity of the lock, but I do still want it to go off easily if someone attempts to break-in.

Overall for right around $100, I think every family needs to have at least one of these lock systems on their main door. Add a little extra piece of mind for you and your family.

Schlage has been making homes more stylish and secure for over 90 years. And did I mention they have a lifetime limited warranty on mechanical components and finish! So you can't go wrong!

You can purchase this system as well as other Schlage products at many different retailers. Most popular include, The Home Depot & Lowe's. But you can check out a full list here.

Make sure to also check out Schlage on Facebook. They currently have a contest going on for the chance to win 10 lock sets for your neighborhood and to help keep it safer!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Best Cookies EVER Recipe (Oatmeal Monster Cookies)

This is by far our families most used cookie recipe. This is the recipe my Mom made for me growing up and nearly the only cookies I make now for my family. This recipe is so easy and the cookies are so delicious. You can customize them a little by switching up the add ins too if you want.

These are a must have for traveling, camping or for a quick snack too. They are a hearty semi-healthy cookie that I know you will love too!

Monster Cookie Recipe
3 egg whites
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup oil ( I usually use about 1 cup of applesauce instead. I also used about a cup of greek yogurt when I was out of applesauce too with great results.)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
4 1/2 cups oatmeal ( I use the old fashioned oats)
1 cup chocolate chips

I always add butterscotch chips to mine as well as the chocolate chips. Also craisens if I have them. I have also recently been adding pumpkin seeds. And M&M's are always a favorite to add as well.

Directions: Mix egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda, oil (or applesauce/greek yogurt) & peanut butter. Stir until smooth. The stir in the oatmeal.
Now add chocolate chips and any other add-ins you would like.
The trick to a moist sticky cookie is the batter should be pretty sticky looking. Not dry and crumbly. If you feel it is too dry add more applesauce or yogurt.

Scoop with a cookie scoop or a small spoon and drop the dough onto your cookie sheet. You can shape them a little, but don't press and compact them. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

7 minutes is just about perfect. You should see a tiny bit of browning on the tops but they will still look a big doughy. Once cool they will set up nicely.

Be prepared for these to go quickly! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

12 Days of Christmas in July Giveaway Hop #12DaysCmasJuly - Go Mommy Designs Hand Stamped Jewelry

12 Days of Christmas in July hosted by Weidknecht Events Going Crazy {July 20-31}

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas in July Giveaway Hop hosted by GoingCrazy!! WannaGo??!! and Planet Weidknecht!!
This giveaway hop is open from July 20th to July 31st.

I am so excited to share with you my review and love of Go Mommy Designs and offer you a chance to win a $35 credit to Go Mommy Designs shop on Etsy and pick out your very own custom hand stamped necklace. Mine is a Mommy Necklace and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

See my review of Go Mommy Designs and my necklace here!
(a few of my favorites offered by Go Mommy)

Enter my giveaway and then hop on over to all the other participating blogs for more chances to win fantastic prizes for Christmas in July!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hand Stamped Mommy Necklace by Go Mommy Designs Review

Little Brother was born just a couple months prior to my 30th Birthday. My husband had asked me what I wanted and all I really wanted was a Mommy Necklace. So I started my research of trying to find the "perfect" necklace.

In my search I came across Go Mommy Designs on Etsy and instantly fell in love with all of her designs. I loved the mixed metals, charm style, hand stamping and rustic look and well just everything. I also loved that I would be supporting a stay at home mommy to THREE babies! But as life goes, my birthday came and went and other things became priority and my mommy necklace was put on the back burner.


I've had the pleasure to work with Jennifer the owner and designer of Go Mommy Designs and not only is she super sweet and so creative, her jewelry is even more amazing in person than on screen! I absolutely am in love with my mommy necklace and get comments everywhere I go.

A little about Jennifer and Go Mommy Designs

"I am a stay at home mommy to my three babies, and a adoring wife to my amazing husband :)
 I love to be creative and find that it gives me such joy to create something personal for someone. 
Creating chic and fresh jewelry with a rustic feel is what I enjoy most!
 I find much of my inspiration right here at home from my two energetic boys and adorable little girl."

Go Mommy Designs Review
I was so excited and honored to review the Name Tag Charm Mommy Necklace. It arrived all safely and perfectly wrapped in a cute little gift box.
It has two sterling silver tag charms hand cut, hammered and oxidized! Two swarovski crystal birthstones and a sterling silver key charm. All hung on a 18" cable chain. Each item is hand made to order so of course I had mine customized with my two boys names and their birthstones. You can also add additional tags and stones by request as well if you have additional children.
This necklace is perfect for everyday wear, I never take mine off. Yet it is beautiful enough to wear for dress up as well. I love how the tags hang as a charm necklace and the chain itself sparkles when it catches the light. The hand stamping is spot on and just beautiful quality craftsmanship.
My necklace is definitely a conversation piece and would make the perfect gift for any occasion. Go Mommy Designs are not only beautiful but affordable too. The Name Tag Charm Necklace is just $50. Keep in mind too that this supports a wonderful work at home mommy and her family, and you get a one of a kind, made in the USA necklace to treasure.
me and my sweet boys

Here are just a few of my other favorites by Go Mommy Designs...

WIN IT! I would highly suggest visiting Go Mommy Designs on Etsy and picking out your favorite... just in case you win my upcoming Christmas in July Giveaway starting July 20th where Go Mommy has generously offered a $35 credit toward her store! Or if you just can't wait and want to purchase your own necklace right away! ENTER HERE!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

JetPens Review

Let me just start out by this review is NOT a joke. But it is good for a laugh!

When I do a review for a company I usually know exactly what will be arriving in the mail. NOT THIS TIME. I signed up to review for JetPens. Thinking OK a new pen of some sort, some stationary maybe. But when this little bad boy arrived, I wasn't sure what to think, or what to do with him. So Big Brother and I just laughed and laughed and laughed!
He is the Iwako Zoo Novelty Eraser. And yes you can actually erase with this little thing. Now considering is an online retailer of hard to find, unique Japanese pens and stationery I guess this makes sense they would carry fun little novelty items. You can even buy the whole Iwako Zoo eraser set!
You can of course get pens, pencils, paper, office supplies and much more at too, I was just lucky enough to get a giraffe eraser instead :o)

Both Big Brother and Little Brother think he is just too funny and love to pack him around. I'm not sure I will be using him for any kind of writing correction, but he does bring a smile and laugh to our house!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.

Monday, July 16, 2012

SAMM's Back 2 School Bloggie Boogie Giveaway - Chobani Champions - #b2sboogie

Welcome to the Back 2 School Bloggie Boogie Giveaway hosted by The WIC Project! 

Save and Make Moola Logo
Help get your back-to-school shopping taken care of by entering the grand prize giveaway, sponsored by Save and Make Moola! Find the best coupon codes, savings, and deals to your favorite online stores at Save and Make Moola (SAMM). From back-to-school clothing to school supplies, you can save big with SAMM.

I am excited to help plan ahead for back to school! My giveaway, Two lucky winners will win an entire box (24 count) Chobani Champions Greek Yogurt for kids! Perfect for back to school snacks, breakfast or to throw in the lunchbox! See my review of Chobani Champions here!
Once you have entered my giveaway, hop on over to all the other blogs and their giveaway's for more back to school prizes! And don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway, a $300 gift card to Amazon! 

Disclosure: The WiC Project and the Back 2 School Bloggie Boogie bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that fail to fulfill their prizes.
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chobani Champions Greek Yogurt for Kids Review

My kids LOVE yogurt! I usually buy just plain greek yogurt, and well because you can't make me gag down plain yogurt I don't think it is fair to make my kids eat it plain either. I usually mix it with some kind of fresh fruit or a tiny spoonful of low sugar jelly to add a little bit of flavor. I especially love the greek yogurt because of how much protein it has. And as yogurt is usually the breakfast of choice it is a great way to start the day off right.

Already of fan of Chobani Greek Yogurt I was excited to see and have the opportunity to review their new greek yogurt made especially for kids, Chobani Champions!

About Chobani Champions
Chobani Champions are made specifically with kids in mind. They are made with only natural ingredients, pre-portioned into 3.5oz cups, contain 20% daily value in vitamin D and comes in 4 tasty kid-friendly flavors! I reviewed Orange Vanilla and Vanilla Chocolate Chunk and you can also get Honey-Nana and Verry Berry as well. They are also made with 2% milk as the fat is good for kid's growth and development.

Chobani Champions Facts
• Only Natural Ingredients
• No Synthetic growth hormones, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners
• Good source of protein
• Excellent source of Vitamin D
• Five live and active cultures, included three strains of probiotics
• Gluten-free and Kosher certified
• Free of nut, soy, wheat, and shellfish allergens

Chobani Champions Review
So I knew my boys would really like the Chobani Champions yogurt, however I didn't think it would be requested for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner! As far as they were concerned the yogurt was as good if not better than ice cream or some other equally tasty treat. Orange Vanilla was by far the favorite over Vanilla Chocolate Chunk which surprised me as well.

The yogurt is very thick, smooth and very very tasty. Just the right size for kids and in such kid appealing flavors. My favorite part is all the ingredients are natural and the list is short, not a bunch of weird unrecognizable items.

Big Brother helped me put away the yogurts when we got them and put a few in the freezer by accident. They froze up pretty hard and needed a little bit of de-thawing before you could eat them, but it made for a really delicious frozen treat. I honestly think you could use these yogurts instead of ice cream for your kids and they would never complain and be getting a much healthier treat.

I'm pretty sure Chobani and Chobani Champions will be a staple in our house from now on. An excellent healthy snack or breakfast you can feel good about! And not to shorten the summer months, but these would be perfect for back to school breakfast, to throw in the lunch box or even an after school snack.

Make sure to keep up with Chobani Champions on Facebook where you'll find recipes, updates and of course more giveaways! They also have their own fun blog and a link for COUPONS too!

WIN IT! So not only is Chobani Champions awesome but the people at Chobani are also just as cool and are offering TWO of my readers a chance to try Chobani Champions. Each winner will receive a box of Chobani Champions! And when I say box I mean a box of 24 yogurts! You can feed and have at least one happy healthy kid for nearly an entire month of breakfasts!
How do you enter? Watch for my upcoming Back 2 School Bloggie Boogie giveaway staring on July 17, 2012! You can enter to win not only Chobani Champions but hop to other blogs for other fantastic back to school prizes! ENTER HERE!
Disclosure: I received this product for the purpose of review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions in my reviews are my own, and others’ opinions may vary. This post was written by me and not edited by anyone.