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Saturday 9: Moonlighting

Two Characters Yelling at Each Other': Inside Bruce Willis and Cybill  Shepherd's Feud

Moonlighting | TV fanart | fanart.tv

Welcome back, ladies and gents! What a week. What a week!

Forget about what's going on in this crazy country.  Some women (myself included) may have had an online countdown to their baby's due date. Or to their wedding date (not guilty; eloped). And so on. I'm sure I'm not the only one counting down the seconds until election day. Amirite?!

Personally, even more upheaval than I talked about last week. Last time, I said we were going to sell the "perfect house" in the country and get back to the city (aka Boise). Now, we're going to sell the house in the country, the eldest child is going to stay here and carry on with her live, the rest of us are going to move back to the East Coast, and we're going to buy another house. It's crazy town.

Meanwhile, with all of my myriad health problems going on for the last several years, my doc has run a bunch of blood tests and determined, among other swell bits of news, that the mononucleosis I had back as a freshman in college has been reactivated. Which explains why I need a nap every day just to recover from the nap I just had. And then maybe another nap.

Everyone's in a tizzy about moving and packing and house-selling and house-buying, and my sleepy-@$$ is of absolutely no use to anyone. I'm doing what I do best: I'm making a whole lot of lists.

So, let's get on with things. You didn't really come here to listen to my life. Link up here to play along!

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Saturday 9: Moonlighting (1985)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Moonlighting was an award-winning comedy-drama that ran from 1985 to 1989. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan?

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Moonlighting

I watched from time to time. I would have been 9-13 years old then. It wasn't a huge priority, but if it was on and nothing else was, I might've watched. I'm not a huge fan of Cybill Shepherd.

2) The series revolved around The Blue Moon Detective Agency in Los Angeles. There have been countless TV shows and movies about detectives and their cases, yet Crazy Sam doesn't know anyone who has ever hired a private investigator. How about you? Have you ever had anything or anyone investigated?

First day as a private investigator] *Forgets to turn off camera shutter  sound *Gets murdered | Funny Tweeter

^^^ That would be me. I haven't hired a PI, but I have called the police to file a report a few times. I can quickly think of at least three. Fortunately for me in these situations, I'm white, so I didn't get murdered.

3) The agency was named Blue Moon because one of the owners, Maddie Hayes, was a model known as The Blue Moon Girl, famous for promoting Blue Moon Shampoo. If we were to rename their detective agency based on the shampoo you most recently used, what would it be called?

SoapBox Soaps Review + Discount Code — Writings & Worship

Well, I guess it would be the Soapbox Detective Agency. I love my Soapbox shampoos and conditioners, which I get from Grove Collaborative. (If you use that link, you'll get a free gift set.) Soapbox is great for so many reasons, from being environmentally-responsible to being philanthropic: for every product purchased, they donate a bar of soap to someone in need, either state-side or internationally. Aside from all that, it works great on my thin, baby-fine hair!

4) Cybill Shepherd played Maddie Hayes. Cybill believes we can all find romance many times and said she considers the concept of one true love as "dramatic treacle." Do you agree?

True Love : funny

I do agree with her. I think any given person can have many different soulmates throughout their life. I never subscribed to the idea that a person only found ONE "the one" in their life, and that was it.

5) David Addison was played by Bruce Willis. At the beginning of his career he couldn't support himself as a actor and held down part-time jobs as a security guard, shuttle bus driver and bartender. How many different occupations have you had?

Dude. I think I've had just about every part-time job there is. When I got my first full-time job, as a legal secretary, I finally felt all grown up! Of course, my status has been "stay-home mom/homemaker" for the better part of the last 20 years, so it's almost time to shake it up again there, too.

6) The Moonlighting theme was co-written and performed by Al Jarreau. While in college, Al planned on being a career counselor. Yet once he began performing with a jazz trio, he knew that music was where his heart was. Tell us about a time you found joy from an unexpected source.

Pressed Flower Bookmark 2

Oh, I find simple pleasures all around, all the time. I have to, maybe, as a self-preservation mechanism or else I'd go insane! ...Lately, I've been making these bookmarks to include in cards I'm sending as part of a program of support for LGBT youth. A lot of the others involved in this program have raved about how beautiful they are and have asked for one/some. I never expected that and got a nice dose of warm fuzzies out of it.

7) Moonlighting was created by Glenn Gordon Caron. ABC gave him the opportunity based on his work on Remington Steele and Taxi. Of these three shows -- Moonlighting, Remington Steele and Taxi -- which would you prefer to binge watch?

REMINGTON STEELE PIERCE BROSNAN FUTURE JAMES BOND GREAT PHOTO | eBay

Need I say more? I mean, Pierce Brosnan. SEXY!
 
8) In 1985, the year Moonlighting premiered, Coca Cola introduced The New Coke. It was not successful and disappeared from store shelves quickly. What's the most recent beverage you drank?

Trial | Cirkul

I'm still loving and sucking down my Cirkul water! (That link will get you $5 off your purchase.) They have a ton of tasty flavors, many different lines/formulations, and just something for everyone! I'm so happy Cirkul has helped me kick WAY back on my Diet Coke habit.

9) Random question  -- Each day, do you put more time into improving your mind or your appearance?

Keeping Your Mind Fit: Improving Memory as you Age | Regions

Ha! When you're as sick as I've gotten, your appearance is generally an afterthought. I rarely have the energy to care about that. I do, however, experience brain fog and memory deficits, so I'm always working on improving that. I rely so heavily on this brain; can't have it crapping out on me!

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Well, I hope you all have the day ahead that you're hoping to have. When things go according to plan - or better than we imagined - that's just the best feeling, isn't it? I wish that for you today.

Fin.


Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Howdy, Pardners... 

So in this post, I'm going to be giving you my recommendations for apps, products, and services that I, myself, use and love (or have in the past but, for whatever reason, no longer can). I will not endorse anything that I do not love or believe in.

I'm going to leave this at the top of the blahg semi-permanently, update it when necessary, and add/delete/change things when appropriate. Some links will be my referral links. Some will not.

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Ella + mila nail Photo Collage

The first company I'm going to introduce you to, if you haven't already met their acquaintance, are ella+mila.

Ella + Mila Order

The first items I bought from ella+mila are these: the 4-oz Soy Nail Polish Remover, which is a bit surprising in that it's oilier than I expected but also works beautifully to remove every last drop of colour; the Two-Pack Base & Top Coat Duo, because duh, I need both if I'm going to have a proper mani-padi; and the Cup O'Latte polish. I  this shade! If I weren't so capricious, I'd have it on all day, every day!

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So here are some pretty epic things about ella+mila that you should know, in order to help you make your decision about whether to purchase:

They are a 7-FREE company, meaning their products do not contain:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • DiButyl Phthalate (DBP)
  • Formaldehyde Resin
  • Camphor
  • Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP)
  • Xylene

Additionally, ella+mila products are VEGAN & cruelty-free, which as a fellow vegan, y'all know I adore. 😍🌱💚

Hand 1 ella + mila

And finally, because I loved the Cup O'Latte and the entire manicure in general - it dries super fast and lasts and lasts, y'all, I purchased another color polish from ella+mila: Dulce Amor. It's beautiful and performs just as wonderfully as the previous products I'd tried.

Lip Scrub | Peach Smoothie

I can't wait to get lots and lots more colors of polish, and I'm really excited to get a lip scrub or two (that Peach Smoothie) one is calling my name! 

PLUS right now, you can get 40% and FREE SHIPPING with the code HIP749 (limited time!!!) - so jump on that and get yourself some goodness at ella+mila!

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Full Circle Farms 1st box 02072019
Next up, we have the vegetarial (sure it's a word, because I wrote it!) goodness at Full Circle. 

I have a code for, I think, ONE person to get their first box free, a $33 value, here:

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Try that first, and then if that doesn't work, and you still want to order, visit here and use my referral code:

MELA5473

CSA Share 02212019

That code will give you $15 off your first box. There is no permanent commitment, and you can cancel at any time. What's more, the boxes are fully customizable, and you can add or change or delete so. many. different. items. to your box to make it perfectly perfect just for you.

These two photos represent what's been in our first two boxes, and I must say, I have been beyond thrilled. Very high quality of fresh, organic, local to the Pacific Northwest, fruits and veggies have come our way, and IMHO, it's a terrific value. Try it today!

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And now for some apps I use:

Image result for fetch rewards icon

For Fetch Rewards, you simply scan your receipts - mostly grocery, but from anywhere really, and you get points for doing so! If none of your items match up with point-rewarding products, you still get about 25 points for that receipt; but if you do have some matching items, you get a lot more points. I usually wait until I have 3,000 points on Fetch Rewards, and then I cash it in for a $3 Amazon.com gift card.

And now, if you use this link and my referral code: VD4KY, you'll immediately get that 3,000 Fetch Points just for starting! Whee! So what are you waiting for? You can get it in both the App Store and the Play Store.

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Related image

ibotta is actually a fun one, too. You scroll through the grocery, bar, hotel, and other offers (which is a lot easier now that they have added the dang search option) and add the ones for the items which you plan to purchase. Sometimes they just add when you click on them, and sometimes you have to watch a short video, but honestly? I just checked my own ibotta app, and I have gotten back $697.70 since I signed up. Totally worth it, y'know! That's not  a small chunk of change.

What you do is scan your receipt, and you can add and add and add sections for longer receipts, and then submit. Once it uploads, it will select those offers you've already chosen. Once you confirm those, you submit again, and boom! Within 24 hours - and sometimes, within 24 minutes, I swear - you have the money you've earned in your account!

If you use this link right now, you can get up to a $20 bonus - and cash that out for rewards like PayPal, Amazon, Starbucks, and lots more!

Again, ibotta is available on the App Store or the Google Play store.

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Like I said I'll keep this post updated at the top of the blahg, so more to come...

Fin.


Product Review: Brooklyn Cloth Clothing, For Always Fashionable

Jack's Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 1

Check it out! I was contacted by a company called Always Fashionable to get complimentary clothing items in exchange for my opinions.

Full Disclosure: I received this shirt for free, in exchange for publishing my reviews on social media and on Amazon.com. As with all other product reviews I have published, all opinions on this post are 100% my own. No other compensation has been offered or received.

The first item Always Fashionable gave me was this fun Hawaiian-print boys' shirt from Brooklyn Athletics. My son Jack will be 16 in mid-March, but thanks to his pituitary dwarfism, he's about the size of your average 12-year-old boy. So based on the size chart provided on Amazon.com, I chose a size Large for Jack to wear. The shirt fits perfectly! It's made of 100% cotton and runs true to size.

Jacks Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 2

Jack reports that his shirt, which we opted to purchase in the "Black Palm" pattern, is extremely comfortable - especially after a few washes! (We do not use fabric softener sheets but rather choose to use wool dryer balls for our laundry. I don't know if that makes a difference to any of you, but there you go!)

Red Floral Shirt

The shirt is also available in the "Red Floral" pattern shown above, at the same $14.99 price point, and runs from Small to XX-Large. I was torn between this print and the Black Palm, but with the excellent construction and superior quality of the shirt we received, I might just pick this one up on my own!

Black Pineapple Shirt

There is also a third print, Black Pineapple, available in the same sizes. It's priced now at $8.86, which, to be perfectly honest, doesn't completely surprise me. I'm not a fan of it, nor was Jack. But if you love it, snag the deal! It really is excellent quality.

Jacks Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 3

Oh! I almost forgot. After two or three washes (I honestly forget, so sorry!), the shirt has not shrunk at all. Woohoo, I picked the right size when ordering online for once. Go me! (Never happens.)

Jack's Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 4

So, to sum up: For under fifteen bucks, you can get a really cool shirt for your kid shipped directly to you. Well-made, pre-shrunk, made of natural and not man-made fibers. What's not to love?

Thanks for this opportunity, Always Fashionable. We're thrilled!

Fin.


Doing Our Part To #MoveTheDate: Part The First

Hey, peeps! I've always been an avid tree-hugger, and right now is really a time in my life where I want to focus on actions that are good for me, good for my family, and good for our planet. I thought I'd tell you about some of those things.

Eco Post #1 - Amazon Straws

So for our scientific exploration this year at Sweet Pea Academy, we're focusing on Ecology and the Environment. One of our objectives for this class is to take one of the #MoveTheDate pledges from this website each month and, individually and as a family, make it a top priority to implement that pledge in our daily lives. Then we evaluate how we've done at the end of each month. The first month we pledged to #GoVeggie, and although we didn't 100% meet our goal, we definitely made some significant progress.

Also, as a mom, educator, and concerned citizen of the planet, I'm taking every additional step I can think of to contribute and set an example. Reducing packaging and waste is a big push for me. So recently, we ordered this set of 12+2 Cleaner Pieces Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws, in four colors: Gold, Silver, Rose Gold & Black - 20 oz & 30 oz Tumblers Straws (Bent). This whole plastic straw mess - as well as all the plastic garbage clogging up our waterways - is killing me! So the straw thing is going well with this set, and 12 seems to be enough for our family of five so far. I recommend them!

Multi-Colored Napkins

I have lots of other eco-friendly goodies on my family wish list, of course, including this colorful 12-pack of cloth napkins for $16.99. At 20x20", they're big enough to cover any number of messes that this team of sometimes-sloppy people can make! Of course, we already have some cloth napkins, but they're always in the laundry, it seems like, so there are never enough. And I have more toned-down neutral colors on that wish list as well, so you can be sure there are plenty of options.

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MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel

So you probably don't know, but for nearly 20 years from age 22 or so until 41, I was a die-hard Jafra skincare fanatic. I mean, Royal Jelly was where it was at, as far as I was concerned, and Jafra could do no wrong. Now, don't get me wrong; the products are great, the benefits are amazing - and they work. But after getting involved with Young Living in 2016 thanks to my great friend Shana, and becoming even more in touch with my hippie flower child Bohemian side, I started thinking long and hard about my connections with Jafra. The ingredients just aren't always the kind I want to smear all over my face and body every day, and not just that, but the business side of things was not something I wanted to be a part of anymore, either. So I unceremoniously ended my longtime relationship with Jafra, cemented it with Young Living, and opened the door for more opportunities to live more wholly wholesome.


MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 2

Recently, I read about MyChelle Dermaceuticals on a post by Nadia over at Body Unburdened: Healthy Living Made Simple.

Personally, it has always been important to me to use a good eye cream - well, ever since I was introduced to good quality skin care at Jafra, that is. And now that I'm in my early 40s, a well-made eye-plumping product is one of the most important items in my skincare arsenal. I can always, always tell when someone is either not using an eye care product - gasp!! - or isn't using a very good one. I don't want anyone to ever think that about me! So I decided to try the Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel Nourish & Moisturize Eye Care from MyChelle Dermaceuticals first.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 3

I love the way the cooling gel feels on my tired ol' eyes in the morning and then again by the end of the night. This gel helps decrease the appearance of fine lines and dark circles - which is key for moi!

About MyChelle Dermaceuticals:

Founded in 2000, MyChelle was the natural industry’s first to use anti-aging peptides, plant stem cells, and clinically proven dermatological ingredients. Their 360º approach to beauty provides clean, conscious, and comprehensive products that are bioactive and ethically sourced. Sounds good to me!

MyChelle Clean Beauty VIP

What's really sweet in addition to the great products at MyChelle, you can use this code to get 30% off your first order total: MYCHELLEBEAUTY2018  - and, what's more, shipping is free, and returns are free on all orders. They have the BEST customer service. I swear.

On top of that, you can earn points toward meaningful discounts for completing simple actions. For instance, I earned 500 points (= $5 off an order!) just for subscribing to their newsletter. I earned 50 points each for sharing my eye gel purchase on both Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, I earned 100 points each for following the brand on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, and so on and so forth. I was was delightfully surprised when I received this Clean Beauty VIP award in my email inbox, which afforded me extra benefits like bonus points and a free product:

MyChelle Sun Protection SPF 50 Stick

For achieving VIP level, which was exceedingly easy to do, I was given a free MyChelle Sun Protection Sun Shield Clear Stick SPF 50 - worth $12 - absolutely free! I didn't pay one red cent for the product or, of course, shipping. I haven't gotten it yet, but it should be here early next week.

MyChelle Lip Hints Nude

What's more, I was able to redeem $10 in those reward points for a big discount on a $12.50 MyChelle Lip Hints Conditioning Lip Balm in the Nude shade. Counting free shipping, nothing extra for tax, I only paid $2.50 out of pocket. I can't wait to try it, since I am addicted to lippies! Any member of Team Odette will happily verify that for you - I have multiple stashes of lip balms in every conceivable location I encounter in my daily life: my bathroom drawers, my purse, my desk, my car dashboard... everywhere. So I have high hopes for this one!

So maybe give natural beauty products a try and start with MyChelle Dermaceuticals. They work really hard to develop quality products that are safe for you and the environment, and they work even harder to keep your business. I'm quickly becoming a big fan!

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Grove Collaboative 001

And finally, the last new-to-me company I want to fangirl over to y'all is Grove Collaborative. Have you guys heard about them yet? If not, you need to head on over here and get yourself a totally FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Kit with five full-size products!

Here's what you'll need to do:

Head on over here in order to use my referral code and receive your free gift. You'll need place at least $20 worth of items from Grove Collaborative into your cart, but that's super-easy to do with all the amazing down-to-Earth, good-for-the-Earth products they offer. You can choose from baby and kiddo products, household cleaning items, personal care, and even their own Grove brand of items to help you get even more value from your first delivery.

Grove Collaboative 011

As for me, we needed laundry detergent, and I'd been wanting to try Molly's Suds Laundry Powder forever and a day. So that was $13.99 right off the bat (though valued at $16.99), leaving me only $6.01 worth of goodies I still needed to add to my cart.

Grove Collaboative 003

I liked the Zarbee's Naturals brand already, and we were having some sore throats going around Chez Odette, so I splurged on a $6.99 package of 14 throat lozenges.

Grove Collaboative 008

In return for my $20.98 buy-in with nothing additional for tax or shipping, I received a 12½-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle hand soap valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 005

a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle dish liquid valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 010

a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 007

a 12-ounce bottle of Method Sweet Water dish liquid valued at $5.40 for free,

Grove Collaboative 004

a lovely Grove Collaborative red-and-white 100% cotton dish towel valued at $5.95 for free, and finally, a set of two Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponge valued at 3.95 for free!

Grove Collaboative 012
As if this offer couldn't get any sweeter, I do have to say that I'm a sucker for nice, careful, and thoughtful packaging - and Grove Collaborative definitely did not disappoint. The dispensers were carefully taped to prevent leakage during shipment. The note inside was handwritten. And the packing job inside the box was clearly planned and not just thrown together like so many other packages we've all received, I'm sure. 

You'll love what you get - in product, in service, and in peace of mind - from Grove Collaborative, and if you don't, that's okay, too. Their 100% Happiness Guarantee means you can return anything at any time, and they'll even send you a prepaid shipping label. There's literally no risk - but plenty of risk if y'all keep using those heavy industrial-level commercial cleansers around the kids, pets, and yourselves, y'know?

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So what kind of eco-conscious changes have you and your clan made lately, or are thinking about making? I'd love to hear about 'em!

Fin.


MegaFood Kids Nutrient Booster Powders

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Disclaimer:  I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

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We received the Mega Food Kids Nutrient Booster Powders, some recipes, and this awesome reusable canvas bag to try and get a feel for the brand. Unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time to donate to this program because of all the medical issues Team Odette has been facing lately, but perhaps that is exactly why I chose to devote some time to it Wednesday morning!

Developed in 1973, "MegaFood has been committed to making products that use real food from family-owned farms to make a real difference, and has produced some of the most effective and award-winning supplements available today. A pioneer in the natural products industry, MegaFood was one of the first companies to make their FoodState® vitamin and minerals from scratch starting with farm fresh whole foods. MegaFood continues to innovate by manufacturing more than 36 individual FoodState Nutrients™ using their proprietary Slo-Food Process™, all in their own facility in New Hampshire."

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I looked through the recipes provided in my kit, and also here on the website, for inspiration. I wanted to use the Kids Daily B-Centered powder, to help them get centered and focus on the day ahead of us. As homeschoolers, it's important to me that we focus on what needs to be accomplished each day and not lose interest in the learning process!

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I gathered some ingredients I thought might befit a delicious smoothie the kids would actually eat, to be blended up in my trusty Cuisinart food processor. Aside from the Kids Daily B-Centered Powder, I grabbed a big ol' fat platano from Hawaii, a carton of Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and some Agave for sweetener. I have some chia and/or some ground flax seeds somewhere, but I couldn't locate those, so I also dumped in some oats for a little extra texture.

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I made a quite large portion of smoothie, so that everyone in the family could try a healthy-sized portion, so I also added about four scoops of the relatively flavorless powder. Time to blend!

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I pretty much just left the Cuisinart on instead of pulsing for a good five minutes, to make sure everything was well-blended and the oats were a little chopped up. Worked out perfectly.

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The girls wanted to try theirs first, so I poured them each a large mug of the smoothie with a lime wedge for garnish. Turns out, at least in my opinion anyway, the lime really added quite a lot to the deliciousness of the already-tasty plantain and yogurt smoothie. YUM!

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Sophia went first, and she liked the smoothie quite a bit. Down the hatch for her!

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Chloë gave the smoothie a thumbs-up, and I agreed with her. Personally, I'm on my second mug of smoothie right now!

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Jack gave the smoothie a go, and while it wasn't his favorite, let's just say that it's extremely difficult to please this kid! 

I can't wait to make more of the MegaFoods Kids vitamin recipes, like this one:

Mango Turmeric Sorbet,

and there's so much more here to explore in the recipes! I'm excited to explore all that these supplements can do for my kiddos!

There is so much goodness here, and I'm thankful to be a part of it. Thanks, MegaFoods!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 


GIVEAWAY!! And Product Review: NeilMed Naspira For Babies & Kids

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Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

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First, I'm going to review the NeilMed NasaFlo NetiPot, which is available here for $15.99 or $17.99, depending on whether you want a clear pot design or the blue porcelain design, like I was given. (You can also find it in plenty of stores nationwide, like RiteAid, Walgreens, and Walmart, and also online at Amazon.com, drugstore.com, and lots more - so shop around if you're a deal shopper like I am.)

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You need to use distilled water with your NetiPot, as well as the saline Sinus Rinse packets (also provided to me for free, and 50 packets come in the box with the pot). My kids were sick before I was, so both Jack, aged 13, and Chloë, aged 14, learned to use it before I did. Okay, okay, let's be fair, here: I still haven't learned to use it, and I have to have one of the kids or my husband set it up for me when I need to use it!

I was diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia in May, and I'm still recovering well over a month later, so I have had plenty of opportunities to use the NetiPot myself. 

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(We're such hams.)

As you can see, I have a giant nose ring in my right nostril all the time, so I wondered to myself whether that would be a problem with the NetiPot, which is used by breathing normally through the mouth whilst pouring the saline solution in one nostril and letting it drain out the other nostril (then switch).

Well, was it?

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(Hammy, hammy hams.)

Not a problem at all! I don't know if it would be if I'd have had a septum piercing instead, but ahhh, I don't, so I'm not sure. ;)

For adults and older kids, I give a big thumbs-up to the NeilMed Naspira NetPot! A friend of mine was sick the other day, so I gave her another new NetiPot I had received from NeilMed for a campaign, and told her how to use it. I haven't seen her since, so I can't report back how she is now, but as for me, well when my daughter's pediatrician recommended it to her, and then my own primary care doctor recommended it to me for my blocked ears, I finally bucked up and gave it a try. It worked, and I can hear!

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And now for the review and giveaway of the NeilMed Naspira for Babies & Kids.

Chloë, my very petite teenager, was my guinea pig for this since I don't have very small ones of my own anymore (sniff). (You can see the ham apple doesn't fall far from the apple ham tree - or is it ham apple tree? Either way, yeah.)

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Here's the product in its package, which is available online or in stores for about $9.99 - $14.99.

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The Babies & Kids Naspira comes with the bulb aspirator, seven filters (one is already on the aspirator), and the net storage bag. It's a pretty simple set-up, really. You can take off the hose and use the nasal aspirator on older kids by itself, using the traditional hand-squeezing method, or you can put the hose on for babies, and use the orange suction piece in the caregiver's mouth the help suck out the oogie-boogies in the babies nose. There is a filter in place so, as yucky as it may sound, you never um, suck down the contents of your congested baby's nose!

I highly recommend this product for the younger set, and I tried it with my older kid. We found it simple and well-designed, though we definitely relied on this video from Nielmed for further instruction on use and sterilization:

GIVEAWAY: I have THREE NeilMed Naspira for Babies & Kids to give away to my readers! That's YOU!

Please leave me a comment on THIS POST with the age of your baby or child and whether you have tried any NeilMed products in your household before for five entries.

Leave a (relevant, please) comment on ANY OTHER post of mine for five additional entries per post. Make sure you're letting me know after your comment that you are submitting it as an entry for this giveaway!

Like NeilMed on Facebook for five additional entries; comment a second time on THIS POST to let me know you did.

Follow NeilMed on Twitter for five additional entries; leave a third comment on THIS POST to let me know you did.

This giveaway will close at 6 PM EST on June 30th. I will randomly select THREE winners for the Naspira for Babies & Kids from the entries received by that point and notify the winners and Moms Meet that you won!

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That's it! Get to commentin'!

Fin.


Product Review: DYMO LabelManager® 160

Full Disclosure: I was given a free DYMO LabelManager® 160 to try, along with several rolls of labels, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed herein are - as always - 100% my own.

Dymo Labeler Campaign

I was so excited when my DYMO kit arrived in the mail from Smiley 360! I love to organize, label, and list, so this campaign was right up my alley. What would I label first?!

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I actually let the Hubs take the first crack at using the DYMO LabelManager, because we have an abundance of cords hanging on and around the entertainment center area, and he wanted to label what buttons were for what functions on the A/V box. I'm not saying he did a less-than-perfect job of placing the label, but, um... it works for him, so okay! ;)

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I had to buy a new binder for my youngest kiddo, Sophia, for this year's homeschooling adventure. (The older two kids were able to re-use their binders and already-labeled subject dividers, but Sophie is The Child Who Destroys All The Things and thus needed a new one.) ANYway, I couldn't wait to label her divider tabs!

As you can see, I played around with the letter sizes to make sure things fit, and I probably could have adjusted some of the smaller ones even larger, but I didn't want to waste my precious label tape. Very neat and organized-looking, I thought; no?

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And here's here awesome binder, all set up and labeled. Woot! I wonder if she's as excited about her lovely labels as I am? Hee.

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Ready to make your mark on the world? The DYMO LabelManager® 160 makes it easy to create high-quality labels for all your organizational needs. Plus, it's compact and lightweight for portability, so you can label just about anything, anywhere!

 

One thing I love about my LabelManager is how easy it is to edit the text. You can format your labels with bold, italics, vertical, underline, and boxed text, with one-touch quick work. Fun!

The QWERTY keyboard makes for fast, easy typing, and you can create labels with six font sizes, eight text styles, four boxes plus underline and 228 symbols and clip art. I love the clip art feature! Plus, it takes 36% fewer steps to create a label vs. competition (*vs. Brother™ P-Touch® 1090, P-Touch® 1290, and Epson® LW-300 for an “abc” label bold and italicized).

The label maker has an automatic shut-off feature to save battery life, which is great if you're like me and forget to turn things off all the time. Am I the only one who goes through 50 billion batteries a month here?!!

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As for the compatible D1 DYMO labels themselves, the backings peel off quickly and easily for trouble-free application. Plus, you can remove the labels without leaving adhesive residue.

The labels have thermal transfer printing technology – no ink or toner required.

They're available in 12 colors and 5 widths, plus limited edition DYMO Neon Labels. I love my green ones!

Ready to label? These labels adhere to most clean, flat surfaces including plastic, paper, metal, wood and glass!

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The DYMO LabelManager® 160 is available at an MSRP of $29.99 at Amazon.com, Staples, Office Depot/OfficeMax, Walmart, and Target. Check it out here for more information, if you still have questions before you buy. As for me, I have some more labeling to go do... ;)

Fin.


Product Review: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Creams

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Recently, I was engaged by Smiley 360 on a mission to try the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15, Nighttime Serum-in-Cream, and Eye Cream by philosophy. Here's my delivery, right out of the package. I couldn't wait to get started!

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These are the samples I was given. They're itty-bitty, but they're very concentrated, so a little bit goes quite a long way, and I still have a lot left. 

As many of you know, I'm not only a longtime JAFRA Consultant, but an exclusive JAFRA skincare user myself, so I'm always skeptical about trying other brands. But this looked promising, and so I have been giving it a shot.

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I used my JAFRA face wash to get ready, since I didn't have anything from philosophy for that purpose. Here's my "BEFORE" photo.

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And here's my "AFTER" photo from using the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15 and the eye cream, as well as, yessssss, JAFRA cosmetics. Not bad for being 39 years old, am I right?! You better say yes. Ignore the jacked-up hair; I needed a haircut and that was what it wanted to do at the moment. Hee.

So I'm still using the philosophy samples I was given, and I really like them. I would say, if you can, give them a shot. My favorite of the three is definitely the eye cream, but I do like all three.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, click here and use promo code: welcome15 to receive a philosophy welcome gift (includes 1oz purity made simple facial cleanser, 1oz amazing grace shower gel, and 0.4oz hope in a jar moisturizer) with any $25 purchase - I hope you'll let me know if you do!

Full Disclosure: I was given these samples in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are - as always - 100% my own.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Bzz, Bzz: Boursin Gourmet Cheese #GotItFree

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So, you all know that I am a member of Smiley360, which gives regular folk (like moi) the chance to try products that we might otherwise not have, usually for free. 

For more information on Smiley360, click on over here.

I was given a coupon for a free Boursin cheese product, which was priced at $6.29 at my Publix.

Boursin

Lucky-ducky me, because they were also on sale for Buy One, Get One Free this past week, too! And, I had three more manufacturer's coupons for $1.50 each, and there's a $1 Boursin rebate right now on the Checkout 51 smartphone app. Cha-ching! With all those combined, I managed to snag four tubs of this deliciousness for a total of 79¢!

Yeah, baby.

I happened to have some Crostini left over from Thanksgiving, and since I wanted to keep it simple, I decided to pair my Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs with those.

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

That stuff was SO good. I bought them on Sunday, and by Wednesday night, I had eaten two tubs. #WhatAPig

I hope I get to try some other varieties soon, but that's the only flavor my Publix had on sale at the time. It's definitely on my Yum List!

Have you tried it yet?

Fin.


Bzz, Bzz: NESCAFÉ with Coffee-mate® Hazelnut

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Recently, I was selected by Smiley360 to try new NESCAFÉ with Coffee-Mate® in the Hazelnut flavor.

{I have coupons for trying the other two flavors (French Vanilla and Sweet & Creamy Original), but I haven't been able to locate the product in my Publix just yet. Maybe it's too new, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?}

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Shortly after receiving the package from Smiley360, I gave it a try. I liked it tons, but I added extra powder from the canister into my mug to make it even creamier, as per the directions.

When my dad was here over Thanksgiving, I shared some with him. He liked it exactly as directed, without adding any extra sweetener. In fact, he was so fond of it, I had planned to give him mine, but I forgot. Sorry, Pops!

I'm really looking forward to trying the other two flavors with my freebie coupons!

Here is a coupon for 75¢ off, if you'd like to try it, too!

Fin.


Bzz, Bzz: Sara Lee® Pound Cake

Recently, BzzAgent selected Team Odette to try Sara Lee® Pound Cake for free, which of course was exciting because DESSERT IS YUMMY, y'all.

{I was technically supposed to redeem my free product coupon at Kroger, but since I couldn't find one nearby, I used it at Publix around the corner. Hopefully, that was all right...!}

Because, at the time, I was homeschooling four kiddos (we're back down now to our own three chirpies), I had to give them some incentive to get their work finished that day: Sara Lee® Pound Cake to the rescue!

Sara Lee Pound Cake

I served slices of the cake with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries and strawberries. Rob, Chloë, Jack, Sophia, and Victoria were smitten kittens when they saw the Fiestaware coming their ways with that onboard, you guys.

We all found the Sara Lee® Pound Cake loaf (which also comes in slices!) delicious, and I'll probably use it again soon... maybe for Christmas or New Year's Eve?

Thanks for the scrumptious treat, Sara Lee® and BzzAgent!

Fin.


Your Ticket To Click It

Yup, I'm going to do a bunch of reviews on my Smiley.com sampling projects here, and I would appreciate it if you all would please, please, please click on each link to give me credit for telling you about this stuff. Pretty please, with sugar, whipped cream and a cherry on top?

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Up first is Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D Gummy Bites. I'm not even going to lie, I love these things for the taste and texture alone. They're seriously yummy! I may or may not have popped a couple-two-three like candy on one particularly sweet-toothy day. Aside from that, they're great for strengthening bones - a must for us women - and the D increases absorption of Calcium, so that's a WIN, right?!

Click here for a $1 coupon or a $2 coupon, depending on which size you're interested in buying.

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Next up, I'm going to talk about bottoms. Specifically, hemmorhoids. Do you have them? Because I totally have them, ever since I was pregnant with Chloë 13 years ago. They SUCK! I've even gone to an anus doctor (hehe) to see about having them surgically repaired in the past, they were so bad. Enter Preparation H Medicated Wipes for Women

I've been using these for about a week now, thanks to my free samples from Smiley, and wowsa! They really help soothe my sore behind. Wanna give them a try?

Click here for a $1.50-off coupon. Trust me. Your bum will thank you (and me, right?!)

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Thirdly, we have Pepcid Complete, which I jumped at the chance to sample. I have suffered from some serious GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) for about 16 years now, and it's a real pain in the neck. Literally! Smiley sent me a coupon for a free bottle of Pepcid Complete Acid Reducer & Antacid, and I rushed right over to my nearby pharmacy to redeem that bad boy.

I had run out of my prescription acid reflux meds, so this was really just what I needed. Pepcid Complete tamed that savage beast in less than an hour, and I have been comfortable ever since. I might even use it in conjunction with my Rx, if I ever fill that again, because it works so well. If you're a fellow sufferer, you can click here to get a coupon for $2 off your purchase. You'll be glad you did.

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My next mission is about something that's very close to my heart: Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). As a product of CDV myself, it's my goal that everyone who cares about this issue - whether from first-hand experience or not - will go out and purchase Invincible by Brian F. Martin here. Let me know if you do; it would mean a lot to me just to know you looked at the page.

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And finally, for now, a bit of fun: Build-a-Bear Workshop and Smiley gave me a gift card to go and make a Superhero, My Little Pony® or Disney® Princess Palace Pet at their workshop. Sophia recently made a sparkly kitty, and Chloë's getting a Princess Palace Pet (Ariel's kitty, which she's named Pumpkin) for her upcoming birthday in two weeks, so I think I'll use this gift card to get a Superhero for Jack. How fun!

Have you ever been to Build-a-Bear Workshop? We've done it several times now, and each time we go, it's super-fun and super-special for the kids and us parents alike. The staff really go out of their way to make sure the kids' (or your) creations are one-of-a-kind and just the way they're wanted. They even throw great parties for special occasions!

Click here for a special $5-off-$25 coupon to use on your next visit - and make sure you let me know you went!

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Thanks for stopping by, and please remember to click, click, click for me. Thanks!

Fin.

 


Random Tuesday: Baseball, #Jamberry Nails, And Pancakes?!

Stacy

This may be only the second or third time I've participated in Random Tuesday with Stacey Uncorked, but I'm feeling it today, so here I am! Link up if you're completely random on a Tuesday, yes?

Shall we?

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IHOP 1

Last week, Sophia and I spent a good 3½ hours at the pediatrician's office to get her bloodwork done. She's completely traumatized by doctors and dentists and especially their needles, so she spent that whole time screaming and carrying on about getting the blood drawn. It was exhausting - for her, for me, for the poor bewildered doctor, for the staff, and maybe even for the next office over, some of the staff of which had to come in and help hold her down to end the whole episode.

I had promised Sophie pancakes at IHOP, having gotten a certificate for a free stack in my email inbox a few days prior, but by the time we got home from the doc's office, she just wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't blame her; so did I! And that we did.

By the time we were both ready to go to IHOP for a short stack of flapjacks, it was about three o'clock in the morning. But we went anyway, and as you can see, the trauma had subsided and she was all about getting her stawberry hotcakes on. 

I don't quite have the heart to tell her she needs more bloodwork and some immunizations in the very near future... :\

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Crafting 2

I've been doing a buttload of planning for this upcoming homeschool year, 2014-2015, and the kids have been kicking around the house kinda bored. I had stocked up on craft supplies for Sophie's birthday party, but we never held it, to her utmost disappointment.

I had also had a ton, give or take a few hundred pounds, of both cardboard and styrofoam egg cartons saved up for a crafty occasion. Actually, I was hoping to Freecycle them to someone who needed them for chickens or what-have-you, but such a person never materialized. Enter Pinterest! I found oodles of egg carton crafts on that wondrous site, and behold, two or three days of crafting were born.

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All three kiddos started out with the supplies, which included pompoms, feathers, glue, patterned crafting tape, paint, and so much more aside from the egg cartons. Jack, my least crafty kid, wanted to join... but he finished with slap-dashery that was hard for me to encourage. And so, in a rare (I hope?) moment of shoddy, discouraging parenting, I asked him why he bothered. Admittedly, that was pretty shitty of me, and we both agreed to have a time-out from each other for the remainder of that afternoon. #MomFail

Chloë is pretty crafty, but I think it's Sophia who is the most talented in this arena. Not that Chloë isn't artistic, because she is; however, she's a complete perfectionist like her mother, and therefore she finds it harder to break loose and just have fun with the process with no perfect goal in mind. The above pompom family was Sophia's creation, with no inspiration form Pinterest or anything else but her own imagination.

I could wrap up this segment of post in numerous ways, but suffice it to say that I learned something about the kids and their different abilities and learning styles, yes, but more about me and how I parent differently to them. Fortunately, I think I grew from the experience!

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Somehow, I managed to lose my entire post and get it back again without having saved it myself. Whew! I tend to give up when that happens. Yay for Autosave features!

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Profile

Another difference between Jack and his sisters is that he does not generally enjoy being photographed, whereas the girls love having a camera lens aimed at them. So when I changed my Facebook profile picture to this, my dad started condemning the lack of Jack, talkin' 'bout how he (my dad) applauds Jack for being a different kid, etc, blah blah, yakkety yak, and I shouldn't exclude him.

Really?

It touched a nerve, as parents and their comments are wont to do. I bend over backward - occasionally literally, even! - to make sure my kids feel recognized for their individuality and their strengths. Rob and I both have abysmal self-esteem, and so it is high on my list of priorities to develop a healthy sense of self in all of my children. Furthermore, I try to spend time with each of them, alone, every single day, and honestly, I do the best I can do be the best mom I can be for them!

I think we're doing all right. So my message for all the grandparents in the world, if you happen to come across this is: Unless you have cause for grave concern, step aside and let your kids do their job with their kids. You raised yours, and now it's our turn to raise ours. Not that input isn't necessary or even desired, but come on. Wait until we ask, if you can, and in the meantime, be as positive and supportive as you can manage.

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Baseball 1

On Saturday, Chloë and I took Sophia over to baseball tryouts at a park in Miami. How cute is she here?! I love this picture of her.

She was "trying out" (which really meant having her skills assessed for placement on the best team for her) at the oldest age group, 9-10 years, in the league we're joining, so really she ended up being one of the very few with no experience playing baseball.

I don't think she cared. She's got confidence to spare, that one!

She was also the only girl we saw on the field, the only one not fully decked out in a uniform from season's path, and from what I could see, the only Southpaw. That didn't stop her! She went up there, swung her bat three times at the pitches, ran around the bases, and practiced catching and throwing with an assistant coach.

She thinks she did poorly because she didn't hit the ball, but that will improve. I think she did fine because she showed up and bravely tried something new!

Baseball 2

After Sophie's try-outs ended, the three of us ran across the park to the playground for some fun. Both of them made friends, as per usual, and they played until we ran out of water and heat exhaustion became a threat. I haven't heard back about the baseball team yet, but I'm sure there will be more on that in future posts. Watch this space!

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Jamberry 0

Apropos of not much, I painted a French manicure on my nails the other day. I'm sharing partly because I just like the picture, and partly as an intro to the current state of my nails (I know you're waiting with baited breath to find out).

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My friend Tiffany sent me this awesome package on Saturday, so that I could experience the Jamberry phenomenon! As a JAFRA Consultant, I haven't had the pleasure of being introduced to Jamberry nail wraps until now. I couldn't wait to get started... but I did until yesterday, because I didn't open the mail until late Sunday night and discovered the treats contained therein!

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How cute is this manicure I did all by little ol' self, with Berries and Gingham? I love it!

Tiffany sent me more "grown-up" adult-sized nail wraps, with these in mind for Sophie and Chlo, but I kinda stole them because I thought my nail beds were too tiny. Luckily, there are still plenty left for the girls, because each sheet comes with enough for several manicures. We'll have to do theirs tomorrow!

A few observations I've made so far about my Jamberry mani:

☼ There's just a very slight learning curve! I did my left hand first, starting with the thumb, and I immediately realized upon application that I could have gone with the larger size and dealt with minimal trimming of the wrap. I did my index finger second, and I accidentally wrinkled the wrap. I'm going to try to use my hair dryer, which is used to soften the wraps to make them easy to manipulate, to smooth that down. ☼

☼ There are SO many designs in the catalog, even for little girls' hands, that I know I'll be getting more in the future. Plenty of mature, adult designs (please, get your minds out of the gutter!), along with lots of whimsical themes. I love them all, and I can't wait until the Collegiate set includes one for my UM 'Canes! ☼

☼ For my oddly-shaped upside-down triangular nail shapes, I realized I could either go to the larger, regular size and trim the decals down easily, or paint my nails to match the wraps before applying them, so the gap's not so obvious. Tiffany assured me the wraps go on just as well over painted nails as bare ones. I'll be trying both methods soon, and you know I'll be reporting on that! ☼

Have you tried Jamberry nails yet? I'd love it if you would check out Tiffany's site and tell me what your favorite design is. Stay tuned for a special offer in the near future!

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Halloween

Finally, we had a bunch of burnt-out light bulbs in the house, so we ran to Lowe's to get a bunch of new ones. What did we spot but this huge Halloween décor display?! Seriously, mid-August is way too soon for that. Do you agree?

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Our #DisneySide Celebration + Jack's 11th Birthday Party

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On Sunday, we finally had our DisneySide Celebration @ Home. The party was sponsored by Disney Parks and MommyParties, and I was given LOTS of great products to use to help us celebrate Jack turning 11.  From the American Tourister spinner luggage I carried all the party supplies around in, to the Mickey-themed cutters I shaped the meats and cheeses above with, and lots more, we had a great, great party package and a really fun time. Here's more:

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Our nephew, Harry, arrived with his dad and sister from Missouri on Saturday, just in time to celebrate with us. (All pictures shown here were taken by Harry's dad, Rob's brother Mike.)

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We had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse-themed plates, napkins, cups and stuff, given to me as part of the package, and I snagged a few more matching items from Amazon.com - like the Guest of Honor ribbon Jack's sporting on his Mickey shirt (which I got on clearance from Disney's shopping website).

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Sophia and Elizabeth checked out the Grand Room at our neighborhood's clubhouse, decorated by Yours Truly for the party. I didn't realize until nearly the last minute that the furniture wasn't included in the room rental, but I had a (very ugly) card table and chairs that stepped in to help. I was given another, much nicer table from someone on Freecycle, and I managed to talk the clubhouse manager into letting me borrow one set of table and chairs, too. It sufficed.

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We were given Crayola fabric markers and Hanes t-shirts for the party guests to decorate, so that was the first thing we did. Here are Chloë and Elizabeth (Harry's big sister) doing theirs. It wasn't a huge hit of an activity, like I kinda expected it to be, but they seemed to have a little fun with it. My girls, always the artists, enjoyed it the most.

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I got the labels for the water bottles, Hershey bars, and the door sign and banner, from a lovely lady on Listia who designed them to match the party's theme for me. She sent me the invitations and thank-you notes, too. I just had to print everything myself without doing any of the 'real' work, which was nice for once!

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Jack, who seriously needs a haircut, was eager for the party to start. Did he care about the t-shirts, the games, the prizes, or the food? NO! He just wanted to get into his presents. Oy vey. Even at eleven, he's still like a little kid.

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I kept the cupcakes super simple, even though I love to bake and make cakes, because my anxiety level was high. Disney and MommyParties gave me the cupcake wrappers, and I grabbed the stand and Mickey picks off of Amazon. We always leave one blue for Robby, Jack's twin...

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The balloons, also provided by Disney and brought to Party City for heliumating, were a huge hit. You just never know what's going to be the big thing. Next time, I'm just getting a bunch of balloons and letting the kids go berserk, I swear!

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Harry and Elizabeth were smart to decorate their balloons, so they would know which one belonged to them. Is this child not totes adorbs?!

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Jake, my friend Marc and Jenna's four-year-old son, was also on hand to help us party. 

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Addison, Jake's twin sister, was there as well. She's my cutie little cuddly-pie! Love her!

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I adore this shot Mike took of Harry jumping after his balloon!! 

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Jack scored BIG-time when it came to presents. He received LEGO after LEGO set, a couple of nanoblock sets, and one more big pressie from Mom & Dad.

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Addi sat on my lap and kept me company during the gift unwrapping. She's such a love.

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The big gift, you ask? Jack's RC Plane, for which he's been asking since he was at least eight, maybe younger. Was he happy with it?

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What do you think?!

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Sophia and Elizabeth have become fast friends in the short time they've been together this visit.

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After Jack opened all of his gifts, I brought out the Mickey piñata. Everyone laughed when they realized it wasn't the whack-with-a-stick kind but rather a pull-string one. What, do harm to Mickey?! As IF!

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All the kids gathered 'round to pull Mickey's strings. Jake and Addi had to take a second turn...but still no candy came. What the?!

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Finally, the kids beat the crap out of Mickey (hey, it was a good idea in theory), and the candy fell. Elizabeth was right there to swoop it all up, too. Haha!

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Jack, feeling aggressive from all his latent gift-wanting energy, decided to do more damage to Mickey while the candy waited.

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After the piñata excitement, it was time for the kids to pose on the Mickey background for photo ops. Mike did a fabulous job, I have to say, with capturing the spirit of each child.

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Harry and that balloon, man... like BFFs!

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Chloë, for once, was the least poseable child for Photo Ops. Usually she is the first one to strike a pose!

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Sophia, of course, doing her Sophie best.

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A little of that goes a long way, so we paused to sing Happy Birthday to Jack, who impatiently did not wait to make a wish and finish the song before he blew out the candles!

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Jake was all about getting that blue cupcake! You'll be able to tell later - he did! Hee.

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Elizabeth, back at the wall for her shot with Mickey Mouse, is the spitting image of her mother.

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Jack and Harry stepped back up to join Eliz, and the three of these cousins had themselves a few giggles together. Fun times!

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Exit Elizabeth, enter Chloë. You can see these kids are related, can'tcha?

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The series with Jake and Addison was super funny. I wish I could show you all the pictures, but loading time would be immense!

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Our friends Erica and Kevin came with their daughter Kira, who is just about Jack's age - maybe a hair older. Yeah, she turned 11 in November.

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And... apparently, Kira and Jack our our latest couple. Jackira?

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I don't know what Marc and I were talking about so seriously with Jake, but I was glad to spend time with each of them!

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Erica, Chloë and Sophia, along with Elizabeth who stepped out of the picture, had some fun playing games with the prizes I gave out.

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At the end of the day, it was a pretty great party, and I think everyone had a fun time. Right, Harry?

Thanks, Disney and MommyParties!!

Fin.

 


The #Disney Goodies Are Coming In! More #DisneySide Within =D

 (Part TWO. See Part ONE here.)

LOGO

Oh. Em. Gee, you guys! I'm getting SUPER excited planning our #DisneySide Celebration @Home party. You know I've changed my mind 1,000 times since I got the word that I was selected to host, about when, where, and with whom to party, right?!

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I'm now 99.9% sure that we're going to have the party in this Great Room at our neighborhood clubhouse at the end of March. It will be Jack's 11th birthday party, and we'll have friends and neighbors, along with my brother-in-law and his two kiddos in to visit from Missouri! Big fun ahead!

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Pardon the cleavage shot, but I had to show off my new Mickey necklace that I got for FREE from Listia! It's actually really high quality, and I love it. Win!

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From Amazon, I got this Unique Mickey Mouse Pinata with Pull Strings (ships free with Prime membership). 
. I didn't pay anything, since I get so many free Amazon credits. Jack can't wait to fill it with candy, though he's a little disappointed it's not the kind at which he'd be able to take a jolly good whack!

And yeah, that's my itty-bitty size 5 foot next to it, so you can see how big the piñata is!

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More Amazon goodies arrived Monday, like these Wilton Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paper Fun Pix Cupcake Toppers, Set of 24 (free shipping with or without Prime!). Jack is super excited to see what his cupcakes are going to look like, and speaking of which, this also came in that same package:

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I see a lot of baking for this party in my future!

Also, I was supposed to receive this wall mural:

 

but instead, I received this:

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Guest of Honor pin ribbon. What gives, Hallmark?! I'm not sure I'm that upset, other than I didn't get what I really ordered. I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do about it, though, if anything...

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More goodies from Monday's Amazon delivery include these Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party Favors - 24 Decorative disposable straws (ships free as an add-on item),

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these Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Treat Sacks 8pk (ships free; might need another set!), and,

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these Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party Favors - 16 ct bubble makers (ships FREE with Prime).

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And finally, my sister and her family are coming down here to Florida's Walt Disney World parks TODAY!!!!! so I had to run to Wal-Mart last night to pick up a few cute things to spread the Disney magic to them. I'll ship it to their POP Sports hotel mid-trip, and hopefully her two girls, ages 11 and 13, won't find it entirely too juvenile a package. It's hard to shop for teens and tweens with a Disney theme without going a little child-like at heart, though, so I hope they don't mind...

More to come! Yes, I plan to go all-out... okay, all-out within a well-defined budget. Show some restraint, Self!

More to come...lots more! ;)

Fin.


Building Anticipation For My #DisneySide Party!

 

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Full Disclosure: Thanks to Disney Parks and MomSelect, I was chosen to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration! I received an awesome party kit containing lots of free products in order to host the party. The opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.

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I was really excited to get my party package, especially since I knew they were being shipped via UPS out of Orlando, right up the road from us, and others were getting huge boxes weighing about 28 lbs. I made sure to stay away from the other chosen bloggers' posts, so I could be surprised about what I was going to get, too!

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I was right - when my box came, it was pretty huge! The first thing I got when I tore open my package was this awesome suitcase from the official luggage of Walt Disney World Resort, American Tourister! I can not wait to use it for the first time, but right now it's holding all the rest of my kit, seen below:

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Check out the inside of my American Tourister luggage, full of party supplies! Yup, my excitement was through the roof...

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Thanks to Hanes, we can show off our Disney Side and some artisitic flair with a fun t-shirt decorating activity at the party. I have enough for ten guests, so now I just need to figure out who those ten guests will be! Natch, the first three will be my own kidoodles: Chloë, Jack, and Sophia.

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Party sponsor Crayola sent a pack of fabric markers for decorating the Hanes tees.

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ESPN's World Wide of Sports place mats were also included.

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All of our guests will take home a classic Mickey & Minnie in love poster.

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Ignore my pale, white skin and plethora of freckles, but I had to show my ESPN World Wide of Sports wristbands for my potential party-goers!

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I received a pretty cool set of three Mickey-themed Disney cookie cutters, but you know what? I happened to have already bought this very same set the last time we were in Orlando, last May! So I may give away this set as a game prize; haven't decided yet.

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To my amusement, I received bunches of red balloons - and one yellow one (not pictured). Silly!

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Everyone will receive calendar cards promoting the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted movie, hitting theaters on March 21st - the day before Jack turns 11 and Rob's brother's family arrive in Miami... hmmm. *wheels turning*

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I was sent lots of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party decorations and supplies, including these cupcake liners,

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... several packs of napkins,

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... swirly decorations to hang from the ceiling,

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... a tablecloth,

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... paper plates, and, of course,

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... cups!

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We'll watch a Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD during our shindig, to get everyone pumped to visit the parks - hopefully sometime in 2014?! In fact, my big sister Stacey and her family are on their way down to sunny Orlando from snowy New York State next week!! I was hoping to drive up and meet them there to do the party with them, but Rob's brain had other plans. ;)

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All guests will get yet another ESPN Wide World of Sports gift, decals for their... car, or whatever window they'd like to adorn.

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My suitcase wouldn't be complete without a Disney luggage tag, of course!

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I was given recipe cards and measuring cups from ABC's The Chew.

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We'll download Disney's new iPhone storytelling app, Story, to help prep for the party!

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In my party kit, I also received some fun Disney-themed templates for face painting! Too bad I Freecycled my face paints after Halloween, but I can visit the party store to get more, right?!

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All the party guests will get Mickey stickers and Goofy tattoos! Don't know about your kids, but mine love stickers and tattoos...

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To help fend off party hunger, among other things we'll snack on are Craisins from Disney sponsor, Ocean Spray. Yum!

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And lastly, I'll be able to give everyone who comes a pack of photo paper cards from Hewlett Packard. HP is a favorite sponsor of mine; maybe I'll use my pack to make some awesome invites?!

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Of course, the fun doesn't stop there. I picked up these silicone baking cups from Amazon.com to help me with my Disney @Home Celebration. I have some round ones already, and I love them. Go Green, y'all!

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I picked up a light-up Mickey and Minnie cup, for everyone who comes to the party, last night at Walgreens, along with some Minnie-themed games and activities:

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... a canvas painting kit,

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... a super-cute set of three wooden Minnie Bow-tique puzzles,

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... a fun pop-up game, and,

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... and a sticker set. Because, stickers.

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I also discovered that the Disney Store is running a 25% off sale, good even on sale items, so I ran ove there to pick up a few more goodies for our party, too! Maybe I'll wait and show those a little later, like after my order arrives, 'kay?

And what about you?  Wanna come party with us?? How do YOU show your Disney Side?

Stay tuned for lots more to come on this subject. :)

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Product Review: Lancome #DreamTone Customized Skin Tone Correcting Serum #bareselfie

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At the very beginning of November, I received a free full-size bottle of Lancome DreamTone Customized Skin Tone Correcting Serum from Lancome and SheSpeaks, in order to use and review it here on Ye Olde-Fashoned Blahg.

Here's my face at the start of November, before trying the DreamTone:

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Ignore my hair; I was fresh out of the shower! As you can see, though, I have had some red blotchiness, especially around my nose and on my forehead - and I have tons of freckles that are harder to see. I was really interested in seeing what would happen to those after using the DreamTone for a month. I used to hate my freckles, but now I don't mind them so much unless I've been outside in the sun a lot. When I am, they all darken and connect together, leaving me looking dirty in my opinion. Hate that!

I used it nearly every day, as long as I had a bath or shower, each time I dried my face and before I put on any moisturizer. In my monthlong trial, the only other thing I ever used on my face was JAFRA Royal Jelly milk balm to moisturize, so that my results would completely pertain to the DreamTone.

So, how did it work?

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Here I am, four weeks after starting the DreamTone. As I think you can tell, my freckles were not touched by the DreamTone, and I'm happy with that. The redness, though, seems to be gone! I love that. It also seems to have helped with the bit of darkness under my eyes, too. I have plenty of DreamTone left, so I'm going to continue using it to keep up with these results!

Someone even told me I looked way young in the last picture. What do you think? I'm interested in your opinion, too.

Full Disclosure: I received a free full-size bottle of DreamTone Customized Skin Tone Correcting Serum in exchange for my opinions and this blog post. I have not received any other compensation. All opinions expressed this post are, as always, completely my own.


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Product Review: Calorease #MomsMeet

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Recently, I was asked by Moms Meet to review Calorease, a weight management aid.

I'll be honest. I was both leery and skeptical at first. I didn't think it would work, and/or I might be living in the bathroom for the 10 days I was supposed to try it, so I put it in an out-of-the-way cabinet and left it there for a while.

Then I found myself unable to zip up my favorite jeans. Uh-oh!

I pulled out the Calorease and read it over, then decided to go ahead and take it. I lost four pounds in the first day and a half and was able to zip up my jeans the next day. I'm still taking it, and my weight loss is ongoing! Woot! (Although, I will say, I did live in the bathroom that first 24 hours. Be warned.)


From the manufacturer:

Calorease is one of the easiest ways to make your weight management program more effective. Unlike many other diet aids, it is completely stimulant-free and therefore heart-healthy. It has been shown to bind and eliminate up to 9 times its weight in dietary fat, reducing up to 500 calories a day from the fat in foods. It is naturally sourced, and has been researched in studies and clinical trials. As part of a reduced calorie diet—and with a regular exercise program—Calorease is the edge you need to help you meet your goals.


JUST THE FACTS:

• It’s easy to use Calorease. Simply take two tablets with a fat-containing meal three times a day. But stay consistent for the best results.

• If taken as recommended, results can be seen in about 2-3 weeks. Keep in mind that Calorease is not a license to overeat, nor is it a magic bullet for quick weight loss.

• There is no program or special diet involved with taking Calorease. A reasonable, balanced and nutritious fat-containing diet is recommended. Click here for sample meal plans.

• Calorease does not contain gluten, lactose, yeast, wheat, sugar, salt, egg, soy, dairy, artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. It is naturally sourced from grain and is suitable for vegans.

• A convenient blister pouch provides 1 serving (2 tablets) so it’s easy to take on the go. A 90-tablet pack of Calorease retails for $29.99.

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DID YOU KNOW?

It’s understood that fiber can bind with dietary fat and prevent fat from being digested. But since most fibers bind fat at a 1:1 ratio, you would have to consume unrealistic amounts of ordinary fiber to gain any benefit—until now. The unique, patented fiber in Calorease (FBCx) binds up to 9 times its weight in dietary fat, reducing up to 15,000 calories per month from a normal diet.

LEARN MORE:

Click here to watch a video to see how Calorease works. Visit Calorease.com to learn more, and also connect with Calorease online at:

 www.facebook.com/calorease "Like" them!

 www.twitter.com/calorease "Follow" them!

 www.pinterest.com/calorease "Follow them!

 gplus.to/calorease You know what to do!

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Would you like to get 50% off your order? Click here and enter the code 4MOMS - you'll pay just $14.99 for a 90-tablet pack!

Let me know if you try it out, m'kay?

Full DisclosureI received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC. or the manufacturer of the product.

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CLOSED: Green Giant: Make A Giant Difference #MyBlogSpark #Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

The winner, chosen by Random Number Generator, is #2:

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Jessie C., who said, "I like Valley Fresh Steamers cut green beans."

Congratulations, Jessie! Please send me your address for your prize pack. Thanks to all of you who entered!

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What does 100 calories get you?

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Less than you think. Unless you're talking about delicious Green Giant vegetables.

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MyBlogSpark recently provided me with a set of coupons to purchase some Green Giant boxed frozen vegetables. I actually bought three packages, but since one was broccoli with cheese and my girls are fiends for that stuff, I no longer have it to show you!

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We actually really like Brussels sprouts, and I adore green beans with almonds, so I'm looking forward to incorporating these into a meal soon.

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It'll be great, because I'm actively trying to take off a few pounds that seem to have found their way onto my scale and don't want to budge. If you're in the same boat, you can head over to Green Giant's Giant Difference page and find out how Green giant vegetables can fit into your diet and weight loss plans. There's even app to download from the App Store if you're app-crazy like I am.

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You don't have to cheat on your diet to enjoy a hot, delicious, heaping bowl of vegetables.

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Live the Giant Difference!

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Fin.

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Full Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.

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P.S. Oops! I forgot to say MyBlogSpark & Green Giant also provided me with a cool water bottle, a nifty Health & Fitness Journal, and a rockin' gym bag, too. I think they're hinting I need to get off my lazy duff and do some exercise once in a while!?!

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Would you like to WIN this same pack for yourself? Leave me a comment below with your favorite variety of Green Giant frozen veggies, and I'll pick a comment at random to win on October 25th. Friday at midnight EST, so get those entries in, 'kay?

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Be sure and enter this Old El Paso giveaway, too!


Friday Fragments, Version 10.17.13

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Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmented today!
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I haven't played along in aaaaages, maybe once since the beginning of Summer, so I hope this isn't too terribly long for y'all. I'll try to be concise (even though that's not really in my nature).
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I bought the kids' Christmas outfits on super-duper clearance from Gymboree, and they came yesterday. Too cute! I took them outside to get pictures today, and some neighbors oohed and ahhed and said they looked so pretty/cute. I won't share all of them here, or just yet anyway, but here's one funny outtake that was enjoyed on Facebook:
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A rare, genuine reaction from Jack! haha!
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Sophia's been having a bunch of breathing trouble lately, so we called 911 tonight to see if there was anything they could do for her. There wasn't, but it was suggested she might be allergic to her cats. If you have allergies, would you answer my Aloha Friday question here?
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I've had SO many blog-related freebies lately, I thought I'd give a rundown of a few of them real quick-like, for posterity's sake. There are some awesome perks to this blahgging gig!
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I just posted about my Werthers Baking Caramels Bash for MommyParties here, yesterday I think. Check it out!
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This International Delight Bzz Campaign from BzzAgent started this week, and I was chosen. I went out to Publix today and picked up these four varieties. I am just excited to find Sugar Free kinds (for me) as I was to get the Pumpkin Pie Spice and White Chocolate Raspberry choices for Rob! What's your favorite creamer flavor, if you're a coffee nut?
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Soon, in the mail, I'll be getting the Lancôme DreamTone for Fair Skin, to review for SheSpeaks. I can't wait, because I've got some uneven skin tone since living in the land of the sun...!
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This will be coming up on Ye Olde Fashioned Blahg soon, too! Are you interested in some amazing books for the kiddos in your life? Let me know!
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Smiley360 chose me to review Orajel Single Dose Cold Sore Treatment, which I'm super glad to be getting in the mail soon. My girls are forever complaining of "mouth booboos" and asking for something to take away the pain. This will help!
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House Party picked me as a Chatterbox to review new Gevalia Kaffe espresso drinks:
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I made this Mocha Latte with a heart for Rob, but I haven't tried that myself yet. He liked it, and I loved the Caramel Macchiato variety. So easy to make in the Keurig, and so delicious and authentic! Have you tried it yet?
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I'm supposed to be using Calorease for Moms Meet, too, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to try it yet. I'm hesitant because it's supposed to make you have to, um, GO, and I don't want to be stuck to my bathroom all day for ten days, you know? What would you do?
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I'm waiting on my kit from MyBlogSpark for Old El Paso Frozen Entrées, because hello, YUM! Rob especially loves Mexican foods, so I know he'll be happy to see this package in the mail. We loved our last MyBlogSpark kit from Old El Paso, so I'm sure this will be another delicious foray into blahg reviewing for me!
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I'm also doing a Green Giant frozen foods and a Raise-a-Giant campaign for MyBlogSpark, which reminds me, I better get on that!
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Smiley360 also chose me to review GoGo-Squeez Applesauce on the Go with the kids, which is fantastic because they're nutritious and the kids love them. The Apple Apple variety didn't last long, and I don't even remember anyone but My Little Pony-crazy Sophie eating the Apple Mango kind:
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And lastly, MomSelect opted to let me be a Chick-fil-A Mom, which is cool because hey, free food. My kids adore CFA, but I know some of you have issues with the company. Do you??
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I like to post Instagram photos when we make a yummy dinner - do you do that? I know I'm not the only one! Tonight's was homemade pizza, which I made with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pizza dough mix, fresh mozzarella (the kinds that come in the gooey balls are better than the kind you get in the block to shred, if you ask me!), and sundried tomatoes. For Rob, I added green olives and pepperoni. I'm afraid the gluten-free did nothing for the kids' appetites; the two younger ones ended up eating oatmeal instead, and even Rob didn't finish his. Hey, I liked it, but maybe we won't try that again.
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I eat a ton of hummus and wasn't happy with the last store-bought batch I got, so I decided to go back to making my own. I used to make it all the time, but I burned up our hand mixer and don't have the strength to mash my chickpeas by hand. Now I have a Ninja food processor that I got from a friend, and that did the job in seconds, with minimal effort on my part. I mixed everything (tahini, garlic, olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemons) up with the chickpeas in my KitchenAid, and voilà! Deliciousness! I always let the flavors mingle for a day or two before I adjust the quantities too much, because it really changes after the first day.
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Well, that's it for me. You're probably relieved. I'll pop over and visit you now. Have a great weekend!
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Fin.
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Full Disclosure: Everything I mentioned I'm reviewing was provided to me for free by the companies listed, but as always, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Werther’s Original® Baking Bash MommyParty! #WerthersCaramel

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I was SO excited to be chosen by MommyParties and Werther's Original for a Baking Bash featuring their new Baking Caramels recently. Imagine how thrilling it was to get this box in the mail, full of Werther's Original Baking Caramels to use at the bash, with plenty more to share with my guests. Woot!

My party was supposed to be this past Sunday, only... no one could make it. Big, huge bummer. I had planned baking, fun and games (and even cleaned up my house in preparation, which is momentous in iteself), but my invitees were unable to join me.

So yesterday (Tuesday), Team Odette had the Werther's Original Baking Bash all on our own. I have some Freecycle ladies coming today, and they have been forewarned that they WILL be taking home some caramels and caramel-baked goodness, so I'm still sharing, right?!

Come along, now, and see what this is all about. Here we go!

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Of course, all of the recipes I baked up at our Bash started with the Werther's Original Baking Caramels. These rich and creamy Caramels are great for baking and making delicious caramel apples (hello, first thing you think of in Autumn, right?). Made with real butter and fresh cream, they are perfect for melting and incorporating into your favorite recipes. Did I mention they taste great all on their own, if you can't help but pop one - or, um, three - into your mouth during your unwrapping frenzy?

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Of course, the first recipe I had to try was Caramel Apples. You know, Caramel (and Candy) apples are an October staple in this country, but I don't think I've ever made homemade ones for my family. So I was excited to make these for our continuing Halloween/Autumn parade of treats, and you know the kids were chomping at the bit to try them, too! The recipe, here, calls for scrubbing your apples with some dish soap and drying before starting to melt the caramel, so I did exactly that. Rob always teases me for not following recipes and going off on my own tangential trail - sometimes with great results, sometimes disastrously - but this time, I followed it to a 't.'

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The recipe even called for melting the caramels in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and, voilà, I did that, too! The bag of Caramels itself brags about how easy to unwrap they are, and it's no lie. I had a 20-second timed unwrapping contest with my kids and video-taped the whole thing, but my iPhone ate the videos before I could save them to my camera.

(Okay, I deleted them by accident. iPhone is not at fault here. I lied.)

In the 20 seconds, Sophia managed to unwrap 4½ Caramels! Chloë came in second with three, and Jack did 2½. I coached, cajoled and coaxed them along in that time, and the videos were pretty funny, so I'm bummed not to have them to share with you! Just imagine me being hilarious and the kids being their usual amusing selves, and you're In Like Flynn.

By the way, the recipe, printed on the bag, also calls for adding a tbsp (or two, if ya want) of milk or heavy cream (your preference) to the caramels during the melting phase. Don't be a dummy like me and neglect to read that part. I made the recipe twice, and guess what? It works so much better when you follow the dang directions.

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Because of my milk omission, and I think because of the shape and size of the 2-cup glass measuring cup, it was a little hard for me to coat my apples completely and thoroughly. I did use a spoon, as suggested, but when I later repeated the recipe in a regular FiestaWare cereal bowl, it worked much better. So, my vote is for shallow and wide, rather than tall and narrow, m'kay?

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Sophia was the first taker on a Caramel Apple. She bit into it and deemed it delicious, BUT, full disclosure here, it was too hard to bite into the caramel. We had put them in the fridge to harden the caramel and, well, that worked at little too well. We're having issues with our refrigerator being too cold (or not cold enough, when we attempt to turn it down), so maybe that's the problem. When I put the formerly-chilled apples in the built-in microwave over the constantly-on oven after that, the caramel softened for later eaters to be able to eat it. For Sophie, though, we had to cut up the apple in order for it to be eaten. Still quite tasty, but not quite the same.

End Result: Delicious, Semi-Easy, and Repeatable!

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Next up was Caramel Mocha Hot Chocolate. You can find the recipe here.

Now, this recipe should have been simple, but the recipe forgot to tell me when to add the majority of the chocolate to the saucepot (before adding caramels, by the way), and also, I completely messed it up. It was a comedy of errors:

First of all, there was that omission, and I called my MommyParties contact, Amy, for clarification. Second, it calls for instant coffee, and I had no instant. So like a dummy (and not for the first time in my life), I subbed coffee grounds. Ha! DUH! I forgot that it wouldn't dissolve. Rob solved that problem by running the milk/coffee/sugar combo through his French press after it boiled. Mah Hero! And finally, for whatever reason I can't quite explain, I made a cup of coffee with a K-cup in my Keurig and dumped the whole cup into my post-boiled mixture for more coffee flavor. Even though the recipe only called for 2 tsp of instant... so yeah. It was more Mocha, Less Chocolate, you know?

But that's okay, because Rob liked it so well, he drank two cups! Jack had a cup, too.The girls tried it, as did I, but we weren't big fans of the bitter chocolate I used for garnish. And it was too coffee-ish for the ladies. (Jack loves coffee; go figure.)

End Result: Pretty Good, Kind of Hard for ME, Possibly Repeatable.

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Third on the list was this Caramel Apple Tart. The recipe is here. Oh, my word, y'all. THIS was delicious. Absolutely, completely, totally delicious. It was easy to make, rich and flavorful, and I just can't say enough about it. You have to make this one, you guys!

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Chloë was first to try the Caramel Apple Tart. Sorta. I tasted the mixture after scooping it out of the skillet and just knew it would be a winner. What did Chlo think?

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She loved it. She asked me to make it again. Soon. And I will. Because yum. Every one of us agreed with her, too.

End Result: Insanely Delicious, Easy, MUST Repeat!

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I saw this recipe for Almond Drizzle Apples and knew I had to try it. My apples didn't turn out anywhere near as pretty as the ones in the recipe, and I had a dickens of a time splotting chocolate drizzle all over them, but the end result was superb. If I could have the sugar, I would absolutely have eaten an entire apple, but I had to refrain. More for the rest of Team Odette!

End Result: Delicious, Hard for ME, Probably Repeatable

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Next on my agenda was this Candy Apple Cheesecake. I probably would sub a regular, 8" pie crust instead of a 9" one next time, but I wouldn't change any other thing. It was simple to make, and I followed the directions and chilled it thoroughly before serving much later in the evening.

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By the time I served this at night, Chloë and I were the only ones left with any kind of appetite, so we dug in. Another "OMG" moment, like the tart. Y'all totes need to stock up on Werther's Baking Caramels and a bunch of apples, because you need to make these recipes. No joke!

End Result: Super Delicious, Very Easy, Must Repeat!

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I love a good popcorn cluster, so I knew these Caramel Popcorn Clusters would be on my list. I can't eat much of it anymore, but the bottom line is, if you like this sort of snack, it's a must. So good; I wish I could eat more!

End Result: Delicious, Easy, Repeatable

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Eating peanut brittle was on Chloë's Bucket List, so I had to make some of this Caramel Peanut Brittle when I saw the recipe online. It came together quickly and simply. My only suggestion to you would be that when you're spreading it out on a cookie sheet for hardening, spray a metal spoon with cooking spray and flatten it with that. Oh, and stick it in the freezer for five minutes for fast hardening before breaking. I did both of those things, and it worked well.

End Result: Crazy Delicious, Very Easy, Repeatable!

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The bottom line is, we had a fabulous time discovering all that can be done with these versatile Baking Caramels, and I still plan to make more recipes later this week, like this Caramel Apple Silk Pie, and this Caramel Spiced Bread, and these Caramel Sticky Buns (probably without the cherries, but we'll see). 

For MORE mouthwatering caramel recipes, baking tutorials, special offers, and even giveaways and sweepstakes, you'll want to join me and sign up here for an awesome Werther's Caramel Community. Let me know if you do - I'm there, too! The community is full of ideas, including amazing recipes submitted by readers and users like you and me, so check it out.

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I hope you've had a good time reading this post. You can go snag a coupon by joining here, so let me know if you try out any of these delicious Baking Caramels treats. I'd love to know how you fared compared to us!

Full Disclosure: I received free Werther's Original products in order to host the Werther's Original sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are, as always, completely my own.

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Product Review: Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum

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Hey, guys. Here I am again. I know! Three posts before dawn. I'm on a roll.

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I'm back with another product review: this time, it's for Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum.

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Way back in April, Fysiko sent me a full-size tube of their Eyelash Growth Serum for review here on the blahg. I was to use the product for a full 16 weeks and then post my review here on Smellyann Strikes Again.

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You may remember, I posted a halfway-point set of photos. Four months is a long time, so I wanted to check in after two months. You can read about that and see the photos here.

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This was my "BEFORE" picture, taken at the end of April 2013. I had computer issues at the time, so I apologize for the poor-ish quality of the picture. You can see the length of my lashes pretty well, though, and that's what counts.

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But look now! This is my "AFTER" picture, taken at the end of August.

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(Because of Rob's brain tumor drama, it's taken me this long to get the post up; sorry!)

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Look how thick and lush my eyelashes are, compared to the stubby little ones back in April! No photoshop, no editing, no nothing. Just my bare face and a camera.

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Wow, what a messy job of mascara I did that morning! I had to put some on to show you, though, because the newer growth from the Fysiko serum was blond, and you can't really see it on the "AFTER" photo above this one. My lashes are super long now!

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Remember that commercial, long ago, where the girl complains because her lashes are always hitting her glasses when she blinks? That's me now! Except I'm not complaining, because it took 16 weeks of daily (sometimes twice!) Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum to achieve that phenomenon.

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This is also my "AFTER" morning, but it doesn't really tell you much by itself, since I took no "BEFORE" photo with my eyes open. But look here:

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I used a basic, regular ol' Bobbi Brown mascara with no claims to lengthen and thicken for these two shots. I just wanted to show you the new length and fullness of my eyelashes, and I had to darken the little blond tips with mascara to prove it to you.

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Is that crazy or what? Honestly, folks, I'm really impressed. I truly didn't think I would notice any appreciable difference, and yet here the proof is in the pictures to show you that it works.

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You can find Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum here, with purchasing information here. Let me know if you end up grabbing some for your own blinky-winkies! (I'm a dork. I know.)

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Fin.

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Full Disclosure: Fysiko provided me with a full-size product for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions in this review are, as always, my own. I'm just a happy consumer!


Bzz, Bzz: Kashi Hummus Crisps #GotItFree #ProductReview

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OMGarsh, y'all. I am a bad BzzAgent and a bad blogger.
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Why? you're asking. (Go ahead, ask. I don't mind!)
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Because, you guys! I received a bag of Sea Salt & Olive Oil Kashi Hummus Crisps the other day, and I never took a single picture.
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I know! I slapped my own hand!
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Here's what happened: Rob was in the hospital again two weeks ago for the first of two Neuro-ICU visits in a row for Ye Olde Lovely Braine Tumore. (heh) (I know it's not funny. Give me a break, will ya? Humor helps.)
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The doorbell rang as I was packing up for the hour-long commute up to the hospital from home.
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I grabbed the box, opened it, saw snacks and probably thought to myself, "Ooh, yummy!" and stashed the bag in my hospital gear. Off I went.
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At the hospital an hour later, I was grabbing my teddy bear, my bag, my big ol' keg of the drink du jour, and spotted that bag of Kashi Hummus Crisps. I was starving by that point - you don't tend to eat a whole lot when you're visiting the Neuro Intensive Care Unit, you know what I mean? - and ripped open the bag.
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Oh, my goodness, y'all. They were good!! I munched all the way from my van in the parking garage, up to the hospital, during the ride in the elevator, and down the hall to Rob's room. I even struck up a conversation about them in the elevator and handed out a coupon (Want one? Let me know in the comments)!
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I think they were all gone by the time I reached Rob's room on the 5th floor, but I can't remember. He can't either, so he must not have gotten one. Because I PIGGED OUT and ate them all.
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They were air-popped crisps, with a crunchy texture, and I loved that. But more importantly, the taste! I believe I have made it known in this blahg before how I feel about hummus (YUMMUS!), and Kashi did not disappoint. I can't wait to try the other two flavors, Caramelized Onion and Tomato, Basil & Feta. Do those not sound amazing? To me, they do!
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IMG_6641[1]
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This picture makes me laugh. You'd think I'd realize the words would be reversed, but no. Anyway, that's all I have to show for my delicious bag of Kashi Hummus Crisps. Gone-in-a-flash is what they should have been called, if you ask me!
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Of course, Kashi doesn't disappoint when it comes to nutrition, either. The crisps are made with whole grains and real chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), so you know you're getting plenty of fiber and protein in this snack. Both are high on my list of dietary priorities, so I'll be munching more - soon!
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What else?
  • At least 3g fiber
  • At least 3g protein
  • At least 5g of whole grains
  • No partially hydrogenated oils
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No artificial anything! 
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In the final analysis, I have to say, I honestly prefer these Kashi Hummus Crisps to, say, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. They have all of the delicious flavor with none of the guilt. I feel good about eating them!
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Fin.
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Full Disclosure: Kashi and BzzAgent provided a bag of Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hummus Crisps to me for review and sharing, but all opinions expressed herein are, as always, my own. I received coupons, too, but not for free product. You can rest assured you'll always get my honest feedback!

Our New Homeschool Year

We officially started the 2013-2014 school year at Sweet Pea Academy last Monday, July 29th. I'm so excited as we are trying out a lot of new curricula like Grammaropolis, Adaptive Curriculum, Rosetta Stone, and lots more that I got for a great discount or free on either the Homeschool Buyers' Co-op or CurrClick.

I also get to review Vocabulary Spelling City for the other homeschoolers out there, and I can't wait to see the new improvements to the site!

 

Disclosure:

I've been given a Premium Membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.

VocabularySpellingCity helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as UnscrambleHangman, WordFind, and Crossword Puzzle.  Parents can create their own  spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site,  or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as  Analogies and Syllables. Be sure to come back in three  weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers. If you're interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com.

 

Fin.