{CLOSED} Kids do Summer in Style With Babiators {Review and Giveaway}

Living in the Sunshine State, sunglasses are a necessity between May and September. Why not add a little style to your child’s selection of sunglasses? That’s what Babiators are for!

Her future is SO bright…

 

…she’s gotta wear shades. Even indoors.

 

We recently received a pair of Princess Pink Babiators sunglasses in a size small for Miss A, and she totally loves them. She calls them her “rock star glasses” — even if she does look more like a miniature fighter pilot. We have many pairs of sunglasses for her, but she goes for these time and time again, and I’m guessing it’s because of their style and comfort.

Miss A rocking her Princess Pink Babiators at a local splash park.

The perks of Babiators don’t end there! They are also incredibly safe — meeting or exceeding CPSIA and FDA standards for safety. Babiators are 100% non-toxic. they’re made from rubber that’s free of BPA, phthalates and heavy metals. The lenses are also effective UVA and UVB filters, which is great for children’s eyes, which are more susceptible to the sun’s rays than an adult’s eyes.

I also love that the durability of Babiators. They’re made from pliable rubber, and they BEND! How many times have you (or your child) stepped on a pair of plastic sunglasses and broken them? That won’t happen with Babiators! They are so confident in their durability that they offer a one-year Wear and Tear Guarantee. (Note: If your child REALLY twists or bends them the lenses will pop out. They pop right back in.)

Babiators retail for $19.99, come in small (Ages 1-3) and large sizes (ages 3+), and in four colors: Black Ops Black, Blue Angels Blue, Rockstar Red, and Princess Pink. They can be ordered from the Babiators website, or from any of their Retail Partners. (Click that link to find a partner near you!)


GIVEAWAY!
Want to win a pair of Babiators for your child? Here’s how you could win!

MANDATORY ENTRY: (this must be done for any other entries to count)
How many pairs of sunglasses does your child own?

EXTRA ENTRIES (comment once for each entry unless it says otherwise)

Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your profile!

Contest ends on JULY 15, 2011 AT 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Babiators provided me with a review package for the purposes of this review and will handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Babiators for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

{CLOSED} Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes: Delicious, Affordable, Vegetarian-Friendly Buffet {Review & Giveaway}

Once upon a time, in February of 2009, I made the decision to stop eating meat. Since Mr Dad is not a vegetarian, that often means we have to compromise when dining out…myself moreso than him, since many restaurants are not necessarily vegetarian-friendly. Thankfully, Sweet Tomatoes (also called Souplantation in some areas) is one place we don’t have to compromise!

I love dining at Sweet Tomatoes because it takes the worry out of choosing veggie-friendly foods. Ever go to a regular restaurant and try to find something vegetarian? A little secret I learned early on in my venture into vegetarianism is that most soups have a beef or chicken base…even soups you’d think are vegetarian, such as broccoli and cheese, french onion, and even straight vegetable soup. At Sweet Tomatoes, vegetarian items are clearly marked as such, so I never have to worry about finding meat in my food.

At $8.49/each (at our location), the price is most definitely affordable!

The abundance of vegetarian options is just amazing, and with their online nutrition guide, you can plan in advance to make smart choices. Here are some items I sampled on our recent visit to Sweet Tomatoes. Each one of these is meat-free and many are low-fat or fat free!

Cherry Balsamic Blue Tossed Salad, Green Chile Ranch Salad, Southern Dill Potato Salad (low-fat), and Aunt Doris’ Red Pepper Slaw (fat free and vegan!) – with a side of beets (I <3 beets), vanilla nut coffee (YUM), and strawberry lemonade. Across the table you see Mr Dad’s caesar salad. NOT vegetarian — caesar dressing has anchovies in it.

 

Santa Fe Black Bean Chili (low-fat – but with just a dab of sour cream, cheese, and chives) with Quattro Formaggio Foccacia

 

Blueberry muffin, Cherry muffin, and Cherry Nut Butter

 

My favorite DIY dessert — chocolate brownie muffin (served warm) with low fat frozen yogurt!

Not pictured above (since the pan was empty when I went to the soup bar): Sweet Tomatoes has one of the best vegetable soups I’ve ever had! They call it Vegetable Medley. I recently got the recipe from the company and while it takes quite some time to make soup from scratch, it’s pretty easy to make….and since it’s so good, I want to share it with my wonderful readers!

Vegetable Medley
© Garden Fresh Restaurant Corporation

VEGETABLE STOCK:
11 ½ cups water                                                               In a pot, combine ingredients and bring to a boil.
2 ½ cups V8 juice                                                             Simmer for 90 minutes with a lid. Strain broth
1 cup ½” diced celery stalk                                            through cheesecloth.
½ cup ½” diced brown onion
5 peeled garlic cloves – finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetarian base
2 teaspoons table salt
½ teaspoon white pepper

SOUP RECIPE:
11 ½ cups vegetable stock                                           In a pot, combine ingredients and bring to a boil.
1 teaspoon canola oil                                                    Simmer for 10 minutes with a lid.
2 cups 2” long fry cut carrots
2 cups ½” cubed red potatoes
1 ½ cups ¼” sliced brown onions
1 ½ cups 2” long fry cut turnips
1 cup ¼” sliced celery
1 cup 1” sliced green beans
1 ½ cups cauliflower florets                                       Add ingredients to pot and simmer for 5 minutes
1 cup ¼” sliced green cabbage                                  with a lid.
2 cups 2” long fry cut zucchini                                   Add ingredients to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
1 cup 2” long fry cut yellow squash                          Season to taste with salt and pepper.
1 cup corn
¾ cup peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Yields approximately 1 gallon.

And check out these nutrition facts! You get a whole lot of flavor for very few calories:
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 90
Calories Fat: 11%
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 520mg
Total Carbohydrates: 14g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 2g

If the items I tried today don’t sound appealing to you, here’s some more information on Sweet Tomatoes vegetarian options:

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes Vegetarian Specials
Throughout the year Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation restaurants offer guests more than 45 different vegetarian options, many of which are also vegan, along their 55-foot salad bar and among their soup, pasta, fruit and dessert stations. The all-you-care-to-eat buffet offers something for everyone and is a great opportunity to encourage not only kids, but everyone, to try new things, whether they’re an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarian and vegan offerings are marked throughout the restaurant and also highlighted within the nutritional guide, available inside the restaurant and online, so guests can check out the choices before even stepping foot in the restaurant. And with a featured rotating monthly menu, which always includes a vegetarian offering, there is something new and exciting to try each month.

The current lineup of meat-free options is as follows (check with your location to find out for sure what’s available):

June 17-28 Vegetarian Menu Offerings:

  • Cherry Balsamic Blue with Toasted Walnuts Salad
  • Southern Dill Potato Salad
  • Aunt Doris Slaw (vegan)
  • Sweet Tomatoes Onion Soup (vegan)
  • Vegetable Medley Soup
  • Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup
  • Spicy Garlic Alfredo Pasta
  • Mac & Cheese

Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation also offers to-go options from the buffet, as well individual take-home desserts, such as as these delicious lemon sugar cookies (also vegetarian)!

You get 13 of these yummy cookies for just $1.99!

Want to find out if there is a Sweet Tomatoes or Souplantation near you? Check their locations and menus page to find a location near you, and see what good food they’re serving!

GIVEAWAY!

If you have a Sweet Tomatoes or Souplantation near you (you’re so lucky!) and would like to go with a friend for FREE, you’re in luck! One lucky reader will get TWO complimentary meal passes (does not include beverages).

MANDATORY ENTRY (Must be done for any other entries to count):
Have you ever been to a Sweet Tomatoes or Souplantation restaurant?

EXTRA ENTRIES (Comment once for each unless it says otherwise):

Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your profile!

Contest ends on JULY 8, 2011 AT 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation provided me with a review package through the their PR agency for the purposes of this review and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

{CLOSED} Purex With Zout Gets the Stains Out! {Review & Giveaway} TWO WINNERS!

If you’ve got a toddler or pre-schooler, you may be thinking that stains are just a way of life. I can’t even begin to tell you how many adorable outfits I’ve had to throw away because Miss A’s spilled chocolate milk on it, or rolled in the mud and gotten some unknown outdoor stain on it, or done something to wind up with the mystery toddler stain. (You know the one I’m talking about…the stain that looks like couldn’t possibly have come from anything in your house and yet there it is!)

I recently tried Purex with Zout, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed! This laundry detergent + enzyme remover gets out most toddler/preschooler-related stains (Yes, even the mystery kind) and comes in both Fresh Morning Burst scent and Free and Clear (both formulas are hypoallergenic, but the Free and Clear is free of dyes and fragrances).

Having used Purex with Zout, I can say that in most cases, these stains are history! (And if not, a good second run through the wash will usually get it out!) With its triple-enzyme power, Purex with Zout does a pretty good job of getting out most stains.

Click to enlarge

Take Miss A’s white shorts as an example. I’ve often wondered why they make toddler clothes in white…and why I keep buying them. These shorts are no exception. She wore these after we got home from her third birthday party. I gave her another cupcake that evening and she promptly smeared chocolate frosting all over the pants. And then they wound up in her hamper for a few days so the chocolate really got a chance to stain the pants.

I swear that’s chocolate!

One time through the wash, without even adding bleach, and here’s how the pants did!

Stain? What stain?

If that’s not a testament to the power of Purex with Zout I don’t know what is!

Want more information? Check out the Purex with Zout Fact Sheet (PDF).

Purex with Zout sells for around $7 in retailers such as Target, but two lucky readers will get a coupon to try it for free! Here’s how to enter:

MANDATORY ENTRY (this must be done before any other entries):
What do you think is the hardest stain to get out of clothes?

EXTRA ENTRIES (comment once for each entry unless it says otherwise)

Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your profile! Contest ends on JULY 3, 2011 AT 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!) Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Purex provided me with a review package through the Purex Insiders program for the purposes of this review. Thanks to Purex for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

{CLOSED} The Unique and Adorable Petcakes Series Two! {Review & #Giveaway}

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be able to review the first series of ADORABLE Petcakes and give a pair away to a lucky reader. Since then, Well Made Toys has released the second series of Petcakes, and I have to say, we’re loving these deliciously cute plushies even more than the first!

Petcakes are a collection of plushie critters for ages 3+. Each Petcake comes with a frosting “hat” and lives in a removable fabric cupcake wrapper. They are a treat to snuggle with but not to eat (besides, they look too cute to eat anyway)! The Petcakes Series two features: Honey Cakes the Bear, Roco Coco the Raccoon, Nutty Nicky the Squirrel, and Bamboo Berry the Panda. Since the first series was all dogs, these new additions bring some variety to the Petcakes family. Miss A’s favorites are Roco Coco and Nutty Nicky, mainly because we have squirrels and raccoons that come and go in our backyard which she loves to scream at.

As you can see, Miss A just LOVES her new Petcakes!

Petcakes retail price is around $13.99 in stores such as Toys R Us and in the Petcakes online store.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Well Made Toys provided me with the Petcakes for review and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Well Made Toys for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

{CLOSED} Research Shows You Can Eat Potatoes and Lose Weight! {Review & Giveaway}

As a vegetarian, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate satisfying and healthy, natural foods into my diet. Staying satiated within my calorie range is a big factor in the foods I choose to eat, and one of my favorite ways to do this is with potatoes. They’re delicious, they’re starchy, they’re filling, they’re natural, they’re full of vitamins…and did I mention, they’re delicious?

A medium potato only has about 110 calories, half the daily requirement of vitamin C, and more potassium than a banana. I don’t know about you, but if I can pack in some of the healthy vitamins and nutrients that I need while eating something that will satisfy my hunger and taste good, you can bet I’m going to!

That’s right, potatoes are for more than just french fries and tater tots! There are many healthy ways a potato can be prepared – don’t fry it or slather it with butter. My favorite? Mashed potatoes with broccoli and peas mixed in, and maybe just the tiniest bit of butter for taste. I’m talking less than a tablespoon. I’m easy to please.

The US Potato Board (USPB) recently conducted a research study that shows that you CAN lose weight and eat potatoes too! A lot of people get caught up in the low-carb craze and cut potatoes out of their diet, but this study shows that you don’t have to!

The USPB has this great podcast that summarizes the research study in just over 3 minutes, and includes details on the nutritional benefits of potatoes. Download it here and give it a listen!

You can also read the research study on potatoes and weight loss online, but here’s a preview of how the study worked:
Researchers studied 86 overweight men and women over the course of 12 weeks to measure the effects of a reduced-calorie modified glycemic index diet with the addition of potatoes.  The subjects were randomly assigned to three groups and each had a diet that included five to seven servings of potatoes per week.  The results indicated that all three groups lost weight.

Though I’m a vegetarian, and probably wouldn’t try this recipe on my own, the USPB provided me with this recipe and I have to admit, it looks delicious. My husband and daughter are not vegetarians and I’d gladly prepare this for them!

Quick & Healthy Chili and Lime Chicken Potato Tacos

Ingredients

1/2 pound Yukon Gold or red potatoes, cut into bite-size cubes
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 pound diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup finely chopped poblano, Anaheim or bell pepper
1 teaspoon Mexican seasoning blend*
1/2 cup red chili enchilada sauce*
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese*
8 small corn tortillas*, warmed or crunchy taco shells
Shredded cabbage or romaine lettuce, diced tomato, diced avocado, thinly sliced radishes, fresh cilantro leaves and salsa (optional toppers)
8 lime wedges

Directions

Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 5 to 7 minutes. Spray a large skillet liberally with cooking spray. Add potatoes and onion to skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring and coating with cooking spray occasionally. Stir in chicken, pepper and seasoning and cook for 5 minutes more. Add red chili enchilada sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Place equal amounts of cheese on each tortillas and heat in a skillet until cheese is melted. Add potato mixture and any other desired toppings. Serve with lime wedge.

*Soft homemade-style tortillas are best in this recipe and can be found at most grocery stores.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 220, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 200mg, Potassium: 415mg, Carbohydrates: 25g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 19g, Vitamin A: 8%, Vitamin C: 25%, Calcium: 10%, Iron: 6%

(This chicken and potato tacos recipe, with variations can be found on the USPB website.)

You can learn more about the awesomeness of potatoes, including more health benefits, cooking tips, types of potatoes, and recipes, at Potatoes Goodness Unearthed.

I also received this awesome package of potato goodness!

This kit contained:

  • A Potato Power water bottle
  • Bag clip
  • Potato Peeler
  • Magnet
  • Four recipe brochure (including one with kid-friendly recipes)
  • Microwave cooking tips
  • Brochure on gluten-free potato tips
  • Glad Simply Cooking Steam Bags

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. I was provided with with a review package for the purpose of this review. Sponsor will handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to the USPB for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

CLOSED – Get Fresh Breath and Sparkly White Teeth With Listerine! {Review and Giveaway}

This giveaway is now CLOSED. I will be contacting the winner shortly! Thanks to all who entered and keep checking back for more chances to win other giveaways!

Moms — do you love coffee as much as I do? Let’s face it, during the early days of parenthood, when your baby is has that new baby smell, and you get to cherish it all day long because they’re not sleeping, coffee, tea, soda, or other caffeinated beverages become a way of life. And sometimes, a little glass of red wine to take the edge off your frazzled nerves goes a long way to keeping you sane.

Along with that comes stained teeth and coffee breath. I remember when Miss A was about six months old thinking how much duller my teeth looked than they did in the months before she was born. Being a full-time working mom with a new baby, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend on whitening my teeth at home, and I certainly didn’t have the time or patience (or money) to go sit in a dentist’s chair and have it done professionally.

This is why I love the one-two punch of Listerine’s Whitening Vibrant White and Cool Mint mouthwash!

Listerine’s Whitening Vibrant White pre-brush rinse is SO EASY to use. Simply rinse for 60 seconds twice a day with the Vibrant White before brushing your teeth, then brush your teeth, and use the Cool Mint mouthwash as you normally would after brushing. After about 12 weeks you’ll have noticeably whiter teeth…and at around $5-$7 a bottle (depending on the size of the bottle and the retailer), that’s a fraction of the cost you’d incur getting your teeth professionally whitened!

The Cool Mint Antiseptic mouthwash by Listerine has been a staple in our household for years. It’s one of the best out there for getting fresh breath (and eliminating that coffee breath) and eliminating germs in your mouth. It’s good stuff!

Buy it! Listerine’s Vibrant White and Cool Mint mouthwash is available at retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Walmart, and most likely, your local grocery store for around $5 – $7, depending on the size of the bottle and the retailer you’re purchasing from.

WIN IT! One lucky reader will receive the same Vibrant White and Cool Mint package that I received!

MANDATORY ENTRY: (This must be done before any other entries)
Leave a comment telling me why you want to win!

Extra Entries (Optional): (Please leave a separate comment for each entry)

Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your profile!

Contest ends on May 5, 2011 at 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Golin Harris provided me with a review package and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Golin Harris and Listerine for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

Boogie Wipes Helps Teachers Celebrate National Provider Appreciation Day {Review & Giveaway}

Earlier this year, I got to do a product review and giveaway for Boogie Wipes! In case you missed that review, Boogie Wipes are a unique saline nose wipe that are free of harsh chemicals and come in fun scents that kids love! (Miss A loves Great Grape!)

Since then, Boogie Wipes have become a staple in our household…and for grown-ups, the adult version, Achooz, is just wonderful for colds or seasonal allergies!

I recently spoke with the wonderful folks at Boogie Wipes and they told me about another really great promotion they’re doing!

In honor of National Provider Appreciation Day, which is May 6th, is National Provider Appreciation Day, Boogie Wipes has created an exclusive Boogie Wipes Teacher Kit which contains:

  • A poster with Save the Sleeve pledge guidelines
  • 50 Boogie Wipes samples
  • $.50 OFF coupons
  • 2 classroom canisters and 10 Free Boogs

The Boogie Wipes National Provider Appreciation Day Kit is available for at limited time only. The cost of the kit is $15 and it will be available until May 6, 2011.

And, because the folks at Boogie Wipes are so great, they sent me this awesome review package. Miss A LOVES the Grape scent, so I am really happy that we have a full package of it now!

Not familiar with Boogie Wipes? Or love them already and just want to get some for free? One LUCKY winner is going to get to try Boogie Wipes for FREE! The winner will receive:

  • 2 30-count packs of Boogie Wipes
  • Boogie Wipes Coupons

Mandatory Entry: (This MUST be completed in order for any other entries to count!) 
Just tell me why you want to win!

Optional (Extra) entries: You can receive ONE extra entry into the giveaway for completing the following actions:

Contest ends on May 18, 2011 at 9 PM EST MAY 22, 2011 AT 9 PM EST (Extended due to Blogger outage on 5/12-5/13). Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Boogie Wipes provided me with a review package and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Boogie Wipes for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

CLOSED – Five Silly Monkeys Children’s Book {Review & Giveaway}

This giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered! The winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond. Keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

If your child is like mine, he or she probably LOVES reading. Since my parents read to me on a regular basis, I learned to read early in life and grew to love it as a child, teenager, and adult. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s never too early to start reading to your child, so from birth, I read simple picture books to Miss A and she loved it. (This article on BabyCenter about the importance of reading to your child pretty much covers all you need to know.)

When she was about ten months old, we added a bedtime story to our evening routine. Now, at almost three years old, she knows our bedtime routine by heart. She gets her bath, puts on her PJs, brushes her teeth and then picks two books to have read to her before “lights out”. Of all the parts of this routine, she most looks forward to reading books.

One of her first favorites was Five Little Monkeys (jumping on the bed), which she had committed to memory. When I was given the opportunity to review Five Silly Monkeys, which is a cute spin-off of the classic Five Little Monkeys story, I was so excited. I just KNEW she would get a kick out of this humorous twist on one of her favorite books.

Along with Five Silly Monkeys, we received a copy of Five Little Ladybugs. Both of these books are now bedtime favorites!

These books are great for any age, even the littlest baby. The colors are bright and interesting, and the little raised monkeys and ladybugs provide a way to encourage touch. As you turn the pages, one by one the monkeys or ladybugs disappear, so for the older child, this can prove to be a useful counting tool.

As you can see below, Miss A is thoroughly enjoying reading these books to herself in bed…except, she can’t read yet. She really loves that the books are small enough for her to hold and look through by herself, and then really enjoys having mommy or daddy read them to her.

Buy it! Piggy Toes Press sells Five Little Ladybugs for $5.95 and an awesome Five Silly Monkeys gift set with finger puppets for $12.95.

WIN IT! Piggy Toes Press has generously offered to give a copy of Five Silly Monkeys (book only) to one lucky reader!

Mandatory Entry: Comment and tell me what your child’s favorite bedtime story is! (If you don’t have children, tell me what YOUR favorite story was!)

Extra Entries (Optional): (Please leave an extra comment for each entry)

Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your profile!

Contest ends on May 4, 2011 at 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Piggy Toes Press provided me with a review package and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Piggy Toes Press for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

 

CLOSED – Of the Earth Jewelry: Unique Custom Jewelry for Mother’s Day {Review & Giveaway}

This giveaway has ended! Thanks to all who entered! The winner has been contacted and will be announced as soon as she has confirmed. More giveaways are posted on the left sidebar, so be sure to check them out!

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I’ve been gathering ideas for things to get the special moms in my life. I absolutely love personalized, meaningful pieces of jewelry. Like most moms, my family is my world, and I love to wear jewelry that represents my love for them.

I was recently given the opportunity to review an item from Of the Earth Jewelry by Randee Hofmann, and as I am so glad I did! Since I recently received an item for myself from another company, the review item I chose was also a gift for my sister, who is the mother of my amazing four year old nephew and two year old niece. Since this post would obviously ruin the surprise, I gave her the necklace last week and she loved it! I was also really, really impressed by the beauty and quality of the necklace I picked out for her and wish I had kept it for myself. (I may actually order one or ask for one for Mother’s Day!)

Here is Randee’s philosophy on her jewelry:
Handmade Copper, Wire Wrapped, and Beaded Jewelry Inspired by Nature

Jewelry making is a passion come to life. With inspiration from 10 years of experience as a floral designer and a love of nature, I created Of the Earth Jewelry.

Her shop includes items such as the Robin’s Egg Nest Necklace, Robin’s Egg Nest Ring, Verdigris Bird with Copper Initial necklace, and many other customizable necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other accessories.

For my review, I chose the Robin’s Egg Nest Necklace. Since you can customize the wire, the pearl colors, and the metal used for the bird, I chose the copper wire and copper colored bird with blue zircon and lavender colored pearls for the eggs.

First, the necklace came packaged really nicely, in a box with a customized “thank you” label.

Inside was the necklace I picked out. I chose the nest necklace with copper wire, and a blue zircon and lavender pearl “eggs” to represent my nephew and niece. I was really happy with the quality of the necklace, too. It seemed durable and really well put together.

I fell in love with it, and even though I didn’t get to keep it, I had to try it on…

With Mother’s Day right around the corner (May 8th!) now is the perfect time to start looking at gift options. Any item from Of the Earth Jewelry is sure to impress the special mom in your life.

Buy it: Of the Earth Jewelry has items ranging in price from $14 – $78 (the necklace I reviewed sells for around $19, depending on the number of pearls you add).

  • Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Of the Earth Jewelry by Randee Hofmann provided me with a review package and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Randee Hofmann for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.

 

CLOSED – Teach Your Kids Healthy Money Habits With the Money Savvy Pig {Review and Giveaway}

This giveaway has ended! Thanks to all who entered! The winner has been contacted and will be announced as soon as she has confirmed. More giveaways are posted on the left sidebar, so be sure to check them out!

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, Scott and I have been following the Dave Ramsey plan for getting out of debt over the better part of a year and have seen tremendous success with it! As Dave would say, we’re “changing our family tree” (in the financial sense, that is), and we’re always looking for ways to teach Miss A about how to handle money.

Even though she’s still young enough to consider a penny a REALLY big deal, I figure it’s better to start introducing her to the very basic concepts now so that as she grows and understands more, the concepts of saving, giving, investing and spending will already be familiar to her.

Enter the Money Savvy Pig from Money Savvy Generation!

 

The Money Savvy Pig is a piggy bank which introduces the four main uses for money in a way that is perfect for kids to understand. With Miss A being almost three, I showed her the piggy bank and then explained how it works to her in a way that I thought she would best comprehend. Below is a paraphrasing of how this went:

  • Save: This is money you save in case you need it for something really important. (You’ll see in a moment what Miss A deems “really important”.)
  • Spend: This is money that you use to buy things you need, like food, or sometimes things that you want, like a new toy…but you need to spend on the things you need first.
  • Donate: This is money that you give to someone else who needs it, like how mommy and daddy give money to church, or how you can give money to a friend who doesn’t have any.
  • Invest: This is money that you put in and it makes more money. (I then showed her how if she put a penny in, I would put a penny in too.)

Then I gave her a pile of pennies and let her go to it:

 

If you look closely, you can see that she’s putting most of her pennies into the “Save” section. That’s my girl!

We also talked about what she was doing as she was putting money in the bank. This video will show a little bit of how our conversation went. (Warning: Cuteness ahead!)

As you can see, she TOTALLY gets the idea of saving for what’s really important. Hehe.

Even for kids at this young age, the Money Savvy Pig introduces concepts far beyond the basics that a normal piggy bank does, and I think it’s a fantastic tool for any parent who wants to introduce financial concepts to a child of any age.

To make the piggy bank even more appealing to your kids, there are six great colors to choose from! We got the pink one, but it also comes in black, red, green, purple, and platinum (which is super shiny and would make a great baby shower gift).

The Money Savvy Pig also comes with a set of stickers so that your kids can customize their piggy banks with their favorite eye color, and use stickers to represent a goal for each category. There are even blank stickers in case the pre-designed stickers don’t match up with your kids goals. Here’s what we did with ours!

Finally, since April is National Financial Literacy Month, Money Savvy Generation is posting ideas on Facebook to help parents start a text message conversation about money with their kids and teens. Simply text one of their messages to your child or teen and post the response you get back on Money Savvy Generation’s Facebook page and you could win $100 in Money Savvy Generation products!

Buy It! The Money Savvy Pig sells for $16.99 ($19.99 for the Platinum pig, though it is on sale for $3.00 off right now).

WIN IT! Money Savvy Generation is giving away a Money Savvy Pig to one LUCKY reader of Angelica’s Awesome Adventures!

MANDATORY ENTRY: (This must be done before any other entries)
Like Money Savvy Generation on Facebook!

Extra Entries (Optional): (Please leave an extra comment for each entry)

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  • Tweet about this giveaway – can use the following tweet: (Good for one entry DAILY)
Teach your kids financial literacy! #WIN a Money Savvy Pig from @angelicasmommy (Ends 4/25) http://ow.ly/4zQ26 #giveaway
  • TWO Bonus Entries: Add my button to your blog and leave a link where I can find it! (Comment twice)
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Contest ends on April 25, 2011 at 9 PM EST. Open to US Residents only and the prize cannot be mailed to a P.O. Box. Winner will be chosen by random.org and contacted via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours of the email being sent or another winner will be selected. (Please make sure you check your spam and junk folders frequently to make sure you don’t miss out!)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this review in any way. Money Savvy Generation provided me with a review package and will also handle prize fulfillment. Thanks to Money Savvy Generation for providing the review package and giveaway prize! All content in this review is my opinion.