Monday, December 27, 2010

Cranberry Naturals Review

Okay, can I just say that this juice is super yummy (not a very technical description, but very apt!)!  I had the opportunity to review Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals.  I tried Cranberry Raspberry, and Cranberry (and I got a really cool t-shirt too, but my daughter quickly confiscated it)! 

 Cranberry Naturals are the first reduced-calorie cranberry juice to be 100% natural and sweetened with Truvia.  That means there are only 70 calories, 17 grams of sugar, and 16 carbs per serving Those last two are pretty important to me, since my daughter has type 1 diabetes.  We are always looking for ways for her to get her fruit in without all the carbs!  Cranberry Naturals have almost twice the juice of leading diet juices, and 40 % less sugar.

We use a lot of cranberry juice around here because it really helps with the treatment of urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney infections (all things my daughter deals with because of her diabetes).  Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals was really delicious, which not all cranberry juices can say.

My favorite was the Cranberry Raspberry, just the right amount of tart and sweet mixed together.  I'm heading to the store in a little while to buy some Cranberry Grape and Cranberry Pomegranate!


They come in a lot of different flavors, like Cranberry Blueberry and Cranberry Apple.  My son loved the straight Cranberry juice, and my daughter really liked the Cranberry Raspberry.

If you're looking for a great cranberry juice that is natural, healthy, and with a lot less sugar, Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals is the juice for you!  I give it a definite thumbs up!

Disclosure:  I received the product for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own, and free of charge!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love CSN Stores? They are so much fun to shop at! I've been dreaming of going on vacation with my family! It's been a long time since we've had a vacation. Then I started thinking about luggage and I realized that mine is from when I graduated from high school (yikes)! While I refuse to state exactly how old it is, let's just say that it has no wheels, is hard, and is a lovely yellow color. Well.... it was cool at the time!

So I decided to peruse some luggage stores and of course, headed straight to CSN Stores! Look at this cool set!


Then I decided to look at Lounge Chairs ....




Yes.... I definitely need a vacation! Wouldn't that be heavenly just about now! Okay... back to reality!

CSN Stores is generously offering one of you lucky readers a $35 gift code to their stores! How cool is that?!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit CSN Stores and tell me something you'd like to buy! How easy is that?

Extra Entries: Each one counts for a separate entry!

Like CSN Stores of Facebook
Like me on facebook
Follow my blog publicly
Follow me on Twitter

Contest ends Tuesday, December 28th. The winner will be picked randomly from all correct entries, and notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond, or sadly, another winner will be chosen. The contest is open to residents of the U.S., ages 18 and older!

Disclosure: CSN Stores has generously offered the gift code.  The opinions expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Contest is closed and winner has been notified!  Thanks to all you wonderful readers!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Smart Mouth Mouthwash Review

Smart Mouth Mouthwash - clever name!  Now I can be accused of having a smart mouth... in a good way!


I had the opportunity to review Smart Mouth Mouthwash and I'm impressed.  To tell you the truth, I was a little worried because I really dislike the taste of those "other" mouthwashes.  They burn my mouth and the taste is really, really icky!  (go, ahead Valeen, tell them how you really feel!)

Smart Mouth is different!  It has a great minty taste to it, and there's absolutely no burning mouth involved!  I really enjoy using it.  Plus, it will work for up to twelve hours!  How about that?  So, I can use it in the morning and have fresh breath all day long, and then use it right before bed and not wake up with dragon-breath!

I feel a little bit like a scientist each time I use it!  I get the little mixing cup they provide and then squirt in four squirts from bottle number one, then four squirts from bottle number two.  Voila!  I now have great tasting mouthwash!


This is the FIRST mouthwash I have ever been able to use and continue using!  I am absolutely sold on SmartMouth Mouthwash!

If you have any questions, you can visit their website at www.smartmouth.com  They even have a $2 off coupon on their website!  I was strolling through Target the other day and discovered that Smart Mouth Mouthwash is available there!  Woohoo!

My kids have both tried the Smart Mouth mouthwash and they both like it too.  That's something for my son, who has the same aversion to burny mouthwash that I do!

I give Smart Mouth Mouthwash a big two thumbs up!

Disclosure:  I was given the product for the sole purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Light Catcher Curtains - Wow!

I was lucky enough to get to review Light Catcher Curtains.  Let me just say, I love these curtains!

They are  a new line of room darkening curtains that help create the perfect sleeping environment for your baby (or anyone else who needs or wants a dark room to sleep in).  LightCatcher’s revolutionary beautiful quality fabric helps shield out light, noise and drafts, keeping the room cool, dark and quiet.


While these curtains were designed with babies in mind, I see so many applications!  Like the person who works the night shift and needs to sleep during the day, or the person who suffers from insomnia and needs a dark, quiet room to sleep in, or the teenager who just likes to sleep past sun-up and doesn't want to be bothered by daylight, or the child with sensory needs (which is a big one for us!)

While I don't have a baby in my home, I definitely have a teenager and a son with sensory issues.  I wanted to order a pair for my son's room but we're still in negotiations for his room makeover, so I ordered some for my daughter's room and let my son sleep in her room a few nights.

I visited BuyBuyBaby.com and made my choice.  The only drawback I can see, is it's hard to see the actual patterns of the material on their website.  I wish they had a better close up of the curtains so you knew exactly what you were getting.  Now, that being said, when the curtains came I was pleasantly surprised!  I loved the pattern!  They had the room darkening material and on top of that a light gauzy material with cute light pink flowers on it.  They were even a bit fuzzy to the touch!  Very cute!


We got them hung and immediately her room was much darker!  Plus, they are way cute!  So, my daughter thinks they are the best invention since chocolate!  She loves a very dark room, and she gets that with these curtains.


Next, I let my son try these out.  Let me give you a little history.  My son has Sensory Processing Disorder and has had trouble sleeping since... well... forever.  He moves constantly and is really sensitive to his surroundings.  In order for him to sleep he wraps up like a coccoon.  I was really interested to see how these curtains would help him.  For the first time in... well I can't remember... my son slept through the night.  He actually slept through the night.  So, was it a fluke?  Nope, he slept through the night the next three nights.

Am I buying a pair for my son's room?  You better believe it!  These are amazing!  I'm anxious to see how well they work in the summer when it is so hot around here.

These are available at BuyBuy Baby stores or online at www.buybuybaby.com  I am truly grateful for these curtains, not because my daughter has a dark room to sleep in (though she's thrilled!), but because my son actually slept through the night.  That's huge....

Disclosure:  I was generously given this product for the purpose of a review.  The opinion expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings Review and Giveaway!

It's that time of year again when our hearts turn to our loved ones!  Okay, I know they turn to our loved ones often, but definitely more this time of year!  So how do we let them know we're thinking of them?  How about Pear Tree Greetings?  They have personalized cards and stationery, which make fabulous gifts, stationary, invites and more at affordable prices.  They offer hundreds of designs and colors to choose from, in a price range from $.85 to $1.25 per card.  Here are some pictures of the samples they sent me:




These are some of their Holiday selection!  You can personalize them and add your own pictures!  Fun, huh!




These are really cute Valentines cards!  I know,  I'm sorry I mentioned another holiday when we're smack-dab in the middle of this one!  But they really are cute!

Peartreegreetings.com has some great gift ideas too.  Here are a few from their website:


a.   For your mother in law: a set of photo cards with the grandkids, saying, ”Jane’s grandkids”.  Idea: People are always struggling to find the right gift for their mother in law.  This is one she will love and it allows her to show off her grandkids, and you are giving her an “out” if people think she is showing off: ”My daughter in law got me these cards”.
b.   For hostesses:  A mix match set of thank you/note cards, to have on hand for the hostess of the many holiday parties you attend. Or, note cards personalized specifically for the hostess.  Idea: Give her a hostess gift that stands out in the crowd.  Everyone always brings wine, candle, soaps, food….these are great but if you personalize with her name, it shows you went the extra step.
c.   For teachers: Personalized thank you cards, because teachers need them and use them.
d.   For kids:  Personalized holiday themed thank you cards make great stocking stuffers. Idea:  A great way to get them engaged in the idea of sending a thank you note to all the people that love them after the holidays.  Insert their photo! Kids love to see their own smiling face, and the recipients will, too (especially the grandparents).   There are also cards for kids to color on. Start the year off right by thanking “Santa” in January.  A sure way to get on the Santa’s “Nice List” for 2011

You can select and design cards and pick your colors, patterns and fonts. Simply upload your photos (if you choose to use photos), write your greeting, and wait for the cards to arrive within a few business days.

I really like these cards!  I think they'd make a really fun gift!  I was focused on sending them out as Christmas cards, until I read some of their great gift ideas!  Now my head is spinning with the possibilities!

Now ready for your head to spin?  They are offering a $25 gift code to Peartreegreetings.com   How cool is that?!

Mandatory Entry:  Just leave a comment with your email address (if it's not visible in your profile).  For example (jane doe at gmail dot com)

Extra Entries:  Leave a separate comment for each entry.

Follow my blog publicly
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Facebook

I'm making this a quick contest because I want you to have a chance to get your cards ordered.  So.... contest ends Wednesday, December 8, 2010.  Contest is open to US residents, age 18 and over.  Winner will be picked randomly from all correct entries and notified by email.  Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:  I was provided samples and a gift code for the purpose of the review.  The opinions are all my own, and free of charge!

Contest is now closed and winner has been notified!  Thanks to all who entered!



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AcquaEssentials Review

When I was in my twenties I paid very little attention to all those advertisements about skin moisturizers and anti-wrinkles creams.  Now I'm glued to the commercials!  So when AcquaEssentials.com offered me some free samples, I jumped at the chance!  I tried samples from the Caviahue and the Modariz lines.  I loved them both, but really, really loved the Caviahue Anti-Wrinkle Cream!  The amazing folks over at AcquaEssentials let me try a full size bottle.  Yes, I'm hooked!

According to their website;  "The Caviahue product line is based on the renowned thermal water from Caviahue, a pristine spa located in the heart of the Andes Mountain Rainge in Patagonia."  I feel so continental!  The Anti-wrinkle cream works while you sleep restoring the two uppermost layers of the skin.

I live in a dry, hot climate so my skin is always dry.  Add wrinkles into that, and it's not a pretty picture.  The Caviahue Anti-wrinkle cream feels so wonderful going on!  It's light and not a bit greasy-feeling.  Plus, it absorbed right into my skin.  I put it on right before I jump in bed and by the time I hit the bed, it's all absorbed into my skin.  Right away my skin feels better, more moisturized, and feels smooth to the touch.  That right there is a big selling point for me!  But, you ask, does it really work?  Yes, it really does.

I've been using it for about two weeks and my skin already looks better!  I think my wrinkles are less noticeable, and my son actually said, "Mom, your skin feels nice" when he gave me a kiss on the cheek good-night.  Yes, that scored major mom points for him!  In the past I've been kind of hit and miss when it comes to applying moisturizers at bed-time.  Sometimes I'm just too tired.  I have not missed a night since I started using Caviahue Anti-wrinkle Cream.  It feels too good on my skin to miss even one night!

You can try it for yourself!  Just visit AcquaEssentials and request a sample pack.  Simply pay for shipping, $5.84, to receive:
  • 1 Caviahue Thermal Mud Sample (one application)
  • 3 Caviahue Anti Wrinkle Cream Samples (three applications)
  • 3 Caviahue Nourishing-Moisturizing Cream Samples (three applications)
  • 3 Mondariz Hydro-Woman Cream Samples (three applications)
  • 3 Mondariz Hydro-Man Cream Samples (three applications)

I definitely give AcquaEssentials.com a thumbs up!  I'm excited to see how much my skin will improve as I continue to use it!

Disclosure:  AcquaEssentials provided a product free of charge for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own, and free of charge!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zevia Review and Giveaway



I had the opportunity to review Zevia All-Natural Zero Calorie Soda.  This stuff is good! 

My daughter has type 1 Diabetes so we are always on the look-out for drinks without sugar in them.  This one has no sugar!  It is sweetened with Stevia, which is much sweeter than sugar and has no affect on blood sugar levels!  How great is that!

We tried six different flavors, my favorite was the Black Cherry!  Yum!  I expected an aftertaste like you get with some diet sodea and there absolutely wasn't one!  I liked all the flavors, though the Ginger Rootbeer was my least favorite, probably because I expected it to taste like regular Rootbeer and it doesn't.  My husband loved the Gingerale and my kids were nuts for the orange and the Lemon Lime Twist!

I bet you want to try it, don't you?  You can go to their store locator and find out where it is sold near you.  Can't find it anywhere near, then you can buy it online!

Zevia was recently featured in O magazine, which is Oprah's magazine.   She said, "You may try this Stevia-sweetened soda because it contains no calories, no sugar, no aftertaste, no artificial anything, but you'll stick with it because it's delicious."

Now here's the really cool thing... Zevia is offering one of you wonderful readers a mixed six-pack of Zevia soda!  I told you it was cool!

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment why you want to try All Natural Zero Calorie Zevia.  That's it... it's that easy!  Make sure your email is visible in your profile, if not please leave it in your comment (jane doe at gmail dot com)

Extra Entries:  Leave a separate comment for each extra entry

Become a public follower of my blog
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter

Contest ends Wednesday, December 8th, 2010.  The winner will be picked randomly from all correct entries and notified by email.  The winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Contest is open to residents of the US, ages 18 and over.


Disclosure:  I was generously given the product to review and for the giveaway.  The opinions are all my own and free of charge!

Contest is now closed and winner has been notified!  Thanks to all you wonderful readers!





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ornaments With Love

Okay, try not to faint from the overwhelming cuteness of the following image... Are you ready?
Whew... are you recovered enough to keep reading?  Good, because I want to tell you about a great company with a great product.... Ornaments with Love.  They gave me this incredibly cute ornament.

My family gets a new ornament each year to decorate our tree with.  My kids have been searching in the stores for just the right one, but the search is now over!  I am impatiently waiting to put the tree up so this baby can go on the tree!

Ornaments With Love has over 1800 personalized ornaments available.  This is a great and unique gift! 


People shopping for holiday gifts this season (or any time of year) can pick an ornament that best fits the personality, profession or hobby of the person they are buying for, and each ornament can be personalized with the person(s) name – making the gift even more thoughtful. 


The selection is huge!  There are Christmas Tree Ornaments, Angel Christmas Ornaments, Wedding Christmas Ornaments, Baby Christmas Ornaments and the section I picked from, Family Christmas Ornaments, to name just a few.  Set aside some time, you'll love browsing their website!

The ornaments range in prices, averaging around 12 dollars and they ship at a flat rate so you aren’t breaking the bank by ordering more than one.  Although it may seem like a small present, the personal touch really makes Ornaments with Love the perfect gift to give this upcoming holiday season, or for birthdays and special occasions as well.

Not only are these ornaments darling, (the pictures just don't do them justice) but the shipping was incredibly fast and the customer service was superb!  I highly recommend this company!

Now here's the really fun part, One of you lucky readers can win one of these completely cute ornaments!  
Mandatory Entry:

Visit www.ornamentswithlove.com and tell me one of the ornaments you like.  Make sure your email is visible in your profile, or include it in your post (jane doe at gmail dot com)

Extra Entries:

Become a public follower of my blog
Follow me onTwitter
Follow me on Facebook

Contest ends on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010.   The winner will be picked randomly from all correct entries and notified by email.  The winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Contest is open to residents of the US, ages 18 and over

Disclosure:  I was generously given the product to review and for the giveaway.  The opinions are all my own and free of charge!

This contest is closed.  Winner has been chosen and notified!   Thanks for entering!

Look, how pretty!

Okay, do you just love my new blog makeover?  I most certainly do!  But before you go and think that I'm clever enough to do this, let me set you straight.  This amazing makeover was created especially for me by Colleen over at Shibley Smiles.  Let me tell you, she is one amazing gal!  Somehow she managed to figure out just what I wanted in a blog and my personality, without ever meeting me!  Cool, huh!

Not only did she do an amazing blog makeover, but she went above and beyond by answering all my questions, doing a really cute blog button, AND being incredibly patient with me and my ignorance on all things HTML!

If you're looking for an amazing blog makeover, or just want to visit an amazing blog, head on over to Shibley Smiles !  Tell her Valeen sent you (hee-hee, I always wanted to say that!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exergen Thermometer - Review and Giveaway

Can I just say that I have the opportunity to try the coolest things around?  How amazing is that?  Speaking of amazing, sit back and let me tell you about this ultra cool thermometer...


The Exergen TemporalScanner is an infrared thermometer, that reads a temperature in just two seconds, with a simple swipe across the forehead!  I know... I told you it was cool!

It is so easy to use... just depress and hold the button and then lightly scan across the forehead.  A red LED light and soft beep let you know the scan is complete.  It is completely fast and absolutely non-invasive!  The thing I really like about this is I can take my child's temperature when they are asleep, which is a huge blessing when sleep comes so hard for them when they're ill!  I have to giggle though, now that we have this amazing thermometer my kids always want their temperature taken!  I'm happy to oblige!  I feel like Doctor McCoy on Star Trek with this gadget (oops, there's my geeky side showing!)


If you've been to the hospital recently, I bet you've seen one of these babies in action.  Now you can have one in your own home.  Wal-mart, Walgreens, Costco, Sam's Club, Babies 'R Us, and Toys 'R Us are currently carrying these (to name just a few places).

Along with all the fun things this season brings, are a few not-so-fun things... like cold and flu season.  How handy to have the Exergen TemporalScanner in your home.  We have already had the flu here (thankfully just a mild case) but this thermometer was wonderful to have.  My kids actually let me take their temperature with no complaining (like I said, they ask for it all the time), but more importantly, I knew I was getting an accurate reading.  Tests show that using the Exergen is a much more accurate reading than taking the temperature any other way, including oral, rectal, tympanic (in the ear) and under the arm (axillary).  Can't beat that!

This really is a wonderful thermometer and I'm thrilled to have one in my home.  Now, I hope you're sitting down because.... wait for it..... You have the opportunity to win one for yourself!  How completely cool is that?!

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment with a helpful hint or tip on how you deal with cold and flu season.  Please make sure your email is visible in your profile, or leave it in the comment (sunshiney daze at gmail dot com)

Extra Entries:

Become a public follower of my blog
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Facebook

Contest ends on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010.  Winner will be selected randomly from all correct entries.  The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  This contest is open to residents of the US, 18 years and older.  The winner will be notified by email and the prize will be shipped directly from the sponsor.

Congratulations to Cynthia, who is the winner of this giveaway!  Thanks to all who entered!

Disclosure:  I was generously given a product and offered a giveaway for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own, and free of charge!

Swanson Chicken - Review and Giveaway! Yum!

I was given the wonderful opportunity to try Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken!  Now if you know me, I'm all about quick, delicious meals for those crazy days (which seem to happen more and more often!)  Well, Swanson has made that even easier to accomplish!  With a can of their delicious chicken, the possibilities are amazing!  Their chicken is already cooked and ready to use for quick and easy everyday meals, from sandwiches and salads, to soups and main dishes. Plus,  it's certified by the American Heart Association (AHA)—so you know it's the right choice for your family.  It’s 98% fat free, contains no preservatives and is all white meat.

Here are a couple amazing recipes from their website:


Chicken Pasta Alfredo



4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (12.5 ounces)* Swanson® Premium White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 of a 1-pound package fettuccine, cooked and drained (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • Heat the cream cheese and milk in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken, peas and fettuccine to the skillet and toss to coat. Heat through. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.
Okay, tell me your mouth isn't watering now!

Or how about this one (my husband went nuts for this, as did my son!):

Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor Frank's® RedHot® Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 ounces) Swanson® Premium White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
Assorted fresh vegetables and Pepperidge Farm® crackers
  • Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth. Stir in the dressing, hot sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
  • Bake at 350°F. for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the chicken mixture before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

RECIPE TIPS

  • To make in the microwave: Use a microwavable 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Prepare the dip as directed above but do not bake. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 5 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot, stirring halfway through the cook time.
Can I say, I love this chicken!  I think my pantry will now have several cans of Swansons Premium Chunk Chicken at all times!  It will definitely be a staple in my home!  It has really saved my bacon several times in the past couple weeks when I had to come up with a dinner fast, yet still healthy!  I made the most delicious (if I say so myself) Toasted Chicken Salad Sammies last night!  My family devoured them!

Now, here's the really cool thing... Two of you cool readers have the opportunity to win three full value coupons for Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken so you can try it yourself!  Woo hoo!

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment here with a way you might use Swanson Chicken.  How easy is that?  Please make sure your email is visible in your profile or leave it in your comment (jane doe at gmail dot com)

Extra Entries:

Leave a separate comment for each extra entry

Become a follower of my blog
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on facebook

Contest ends on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010.  The winners will be picked randomly from all correct entries and notified by email.  The winners must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.  Contest is open to residents of the US, 18 years old and over.Winners will be notified by email and the prize will be shipped directly from the sponsor.

Contest is now closed and the winners have been notified!  Thanks to all who entered!

Disclosure:  I was generously offered this product for the purpose of a review and giveaway.  The opinions are all my own and free of charge!



Friday, November 12, 2010

About Me

So who's the crazy redhead behind this blog?  Hmmm, let's see.....

I'm a mom to two great kids!  My sweet daughter has type 1 diabetes and my amazing son has Sensory Processing Disorder.  Needless to say, we live an interesting life.  I have an amazing husband who not only puts up with the craziness around here, but actually enjoys it (most of the time)!

We are lucky to live in Sunshiney Arizona.  Yes, the summers are a tad hot, okay... really, really hot.... but we only deal with that for about 4 -5 months and the rest of the year is absolutely gorgeous!  We actually get to go trick-or-treating without coats each year.  No, we don't have snow for Christmas but we make up for it with Christmas lights!  The homes around here are very decked out!


I'm active in my kids' schools, our church, and our local community theatre.  I've had the opportunity to produce, direct, costume, music direct, and act in our productions.  I've made countless props and painted lots of set too. I sit on the community theatre committee and was the president for three years. Several years ago my friend talked me into auditioning for a play.  I'd never done anything like that before, but surprisingly I was cast in a great role, and things just kind of exploded from there!  It's been an amazing experience and I've had the opportunity to meet hundreds of wonderful people I otherwise wouldn't have crossed paths with.

I come from a big, happy family!  I'm the oldest of seven kids.  We're all grown now but still really enjoy being together.  I have lots and lots of nieces and nephews and love being around them.  They are all truly wonderful!  I'm lucky to have great in-laws too.  How many people get to say that?

I think I'm a bit of an adventurer.  I'm with Indiana Jones though, I really don't like snakes.... but I love to discover!  I love to travel, I love to discover little "out-of-the-way" places.  I'm always on the look-out for the "latest and greatest" and love to tell anyone who will listen about the things I discover.  I'm an avid reader, crafter, gardener, and shopper (notice, I said shopper, not spender... I love a good bargain!)  I'm like a child at Christmas time whenever I discover a new product, or a better way of doing something.  I can't wait to show everyone!

I love to sing (though I'm not sure if people like me to sing Ü ) , I love to play the piano, and I love to laugh!  So, is my life perfect.  No... whose is?  But... I'm perfectly happy with my life!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Sparkly Whites!

Interesting little fact my dentist told me.... Redheads have teeth that are a little more yellow than others.  Fascinating, right?  Not if you're a redhead, like me.  I've always wanted a beautiful dazzling white smile, but sadly genetics did not bless me with that trait.  Here comes Rembrandt and Reach to the rescue! (insert trumpet sounds here!)

I was generously offered products from Rembrandt and Reach to test and review... I know... how lucky, right?!  So review them, I did!





Okay, are those the coolest toothbrushes, or what!  These are Reach by Design toothbrushes, a new limited edition series by interior designers Tom Delavan, Celerie Kemble and celebrity stylist Brad Goreski.  They have a specially angled neck and multi-level bristles to remove 95% of plaque between teeth and are clinically proven to remove more plaque than the leading toothbrush.  


Now let me tell you about the Tooth Whitening kits by Rembrandt.  I decided to try the 2 hour Whitening kit because I like instant gratification!   This kit was really easy to use and only took 2 hours (just like it said on the box)!  It came with two moldable trays for your teeth and little ampules of whitening gel.  The instructions were easy to read and follow.  I molded the trays to my teeth (it just takes hot water to soften them) and then added the whitening gel for twenty minutes at a time.  Then rest your teeth for ten minutes in between each whitening process.  

The instructions warn that you may have a little sensitivity, and I did for a couple hours afterward.  Which isn't saying much, because my teeth are pretty sensitive anyway.  Either that, or I'm a wimp.  I prefer to think I have sensitive teeth, thank you very much.

I took before and after pictures, but the before one showed that my lipstick had started to feather a little bit and the after pictures were so bright that you couldn't see my teeth, just a dazzling white flash.  Now, I'm not saying that my teeth are now so white that you are blinded by their brilliance, but I am saying that my teeth were noticeably whiter!  I love smiling at myself in the mirror now!  

 
    I've also been using the Rembrandt intense stain toothpaste. It has powerful stain-fighting ingredients that effectively remove deep stains.

    It is clinically shown to whiten teeth for a brighter smile and formulated with a unique blend of high-performing micro-polishing particles to cleanse, stain-fighting ingredients and fluoride to restore and strengthen enamel.
 I've been using this for about a week now and it's made my teeth even whiter.
  I am sold on Rembrandt and Reach.  

 Now, let me tell you the other part of what my dentist said.  When Redheads whiten their teeth it is very striking and more noticeable.  
So now, thanks to Rembrandt and Reach I am striking and more noticeable now.... and don't forget sparkly!

Disclosure:  I was generously provided with the products for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Harlequin Books - Who Knew?

Did you know that Harlequin published books other than romance?  I didn't either.... but they do!  Harlequin very generously sent me two books to review and I really enjoyed both of them!

The first book is called A Homemade Christmas.  I love Christmas and all the it enbodies!  I love the spirit of giving and all the joy this season brings.  But, at times it can be overwhelming and expensive.  This book helps.  It has great ideas on how to make your Christmas more frugal and a little more earth-friendly.  I love the idea of gifts from the heart made with your own hands.

Author Tina Barseghian offers easy-to-follow how-tos for Christmas projects, delicious recipes, and tips to make this Christmas your most memorable yet.  The thing I enjoyed most about this book is it is divided into sections and is easy to read.  You don't have to do it in one sitting.  You can skip to the section you're most interested in and find some great ideas.  Though, I have to warn you... you'll get sucked into the book and find yourself perusing all the sections!  It's a great book, and I definitely recommend it!

This book touched my heart and really spoke to me.  Some of you know that we have two dogs that we rescued.  Though I would debate on who rescued who.  Last night I curled up in the big chair in our bedroom with this book.  As I was re-reading some of the stories in it, I heard our dogs outside.  Since it is finally cooling down at night, I had the bedroom window opened.  My dogs will come and lay just outside the window whenever I'm in the room.  They just like to be nearby, watching, and loving.  Our dogs love to be outside so it's the best of both worlds for them.  Outside in the cool air, but still near their "people".    As I read the stories in this wonderful book, it evoked memories of our wonderful dogs.  They are such a part of our lives, and a part of our family!  I swear my son has three mothers, me... and our two dogs!

The Dog Who Healed A  Family and Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart and Touch the Soul is filled with stores about not-so-ordinary household pets.  Like the German shepherd adopted by a teenager with terminal cancer who outlives the boy and becomes a "Good Shepherd" for many other children suffering chronic and life-threatening diseases.  There's the miniature pig named Pigger who helped its' owner conquer agoraphobia  (a fear of open spaces and crowds) and touch many other lives.

Be warned.... if you're a softy like me, this book will have you in tears.  Tears of warmth, and love, and gratitude not only for the animals in the book, but for the animals in my life.  Even that dang mutant goldfish swimming around in the big tank in the family room (that's a story for another day)!

Thanks Harlequin for these wonderful books.  A big "thumbs up" for both!
Now, everyone... get busy reading!

Disclosure:  Harlequin provided this books free of charge for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Review of Electric Steam Mop



Originally submitted at CSN Stores
Features:
  • Safe and powerful tool for effectively cleaning all hard floor surfaces
  • Includes 2 FREE machine washable micro fiber pads
  • Lightweight, ergonomic design
  • Ready to go in just 30 seconds
  • Powerful steam cleaning system elim...

Love my Shark!
By Busymom from Sunny Arizona on 11/7/2010
4out of 5
Pros: Easy to Use, Easy To Empty, Efficient, Lightweight
Best Uses: Tile Floors, Hardwood Floors
Describe Yourself: Frequent User
Primary use: Personal
I have a lot of laminate flooring in my home. This steam mop works remarkably well, and does it with just steam! It heats up in less than 30 seconds and does a great job cleaning my floors, with very little effort. I thought my floors were fairly clean, but the amount of dirt on the bottom of the cleaning pad was astonishing! This steam mop really works! And the best part, I haven't used it in the last two weeks, because my kids actually ask to mop the floor using the Shark Steam Mop. Does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tis the Season

I love to cook!  I love to bake!  I love this time of year, especially because I can bake all those yummy things associated with the upcoming holidays!  (okay, I admit it, I don't like to clean up afterward though.  I'd rather just bake with abandon, then walk away!)

Crisco sent me this cool package with these cool products included!  Oh yes, it put me in a baking frenzy!




I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't know that Crisco had a baking spray.  I've always used the "other" brand in the past but I have a new favorite.  Crisco oil and shortening have always been my go-to when I'm baking.   Their quality is always consistent and always great.  Now I can add their Olive Oil baking spray to the list.

My sweet hubby made some homemade seasoned oven bake fries using the olive oil cooking spray.  He cut the potatoes into lengths, sprayed them with the olive oil and then seasoned them and popped them in the oven.  I would have included a picture of the yumminess but they didn't last long enough!

Did you know that Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk comes in a low fat version also? Me neither!  (and I call myself a baker, sheesh!)  They have the best recipe on the back of the can using the low fat version.  I am so there!

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Nutrition: See Below
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Low Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Instructions

  • HEAT oven to 425°F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg whites, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust.
  • BAKE 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted 1-inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired

Doesn't that sound yummy?  If you have a moment go to their websites, either Eagle Brand or Crisco .  They have some wonderful recipes on their, plus some really cool contests!  If you are one of those amazing cooks that creates their own recipes, please check out Eagle Brand, there is a prize worth $10,000 for the winning recipe.  Check it out!

Crisco has really cool contest too! Click here to find the entry form!  You can enter for a chance to win a $20 Gift Card and be automatically entered to win the Grand Prize! Crisco will give out 10 gift cards every day for 117 days. All first time entrants receive a Crisco coupon!

The Grand Prize is one gourmet cookware set and a one year supply of Crisco products, valued at $1,000.  Are your cooking senses tingling? (a little nod to the old Batman series, yes... I'm that old!)

Well, I'm off to do some more drooling... uh, I mean browsing the recipes and deciding what to bake next!

Disclosure:  I was generously provided these products for the purpose of a review.  The opinions expressed are free of charge, and all my own!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Soda Stream Review

Let me start with.... WOW!  I love this product!  I was generously given a Soda Stream and lots and lots of flavors to try and again... WOW!


We have had so much fun with our Soda Stream!  It felt like Christmas when we opened our package!  So many fun favors!  We got right to work making soda...

Soda Stream makes soda with water right out of your tap!  You just add some fizz (from the carbonator that Soda Stream provides) and some flavor and voila! delicious soda!  They have over 25 flavors to try including sparkling water flavors!

The thing that I love is that we now have soda readily on hand and for a lot less! After your initial purchase of a home soda maker package, you'll enjoy seltzer and sparkling water in reusable 1-liter PET bottle for just $.20 per liter and flavored sodas for about $.25 per can.

Now here's the thing I really love.  There is only an average of 9 carbs per serving compared to about 27 carbs per serving of regular soda.  If you count calories it's an average of about  35 calories compared to an average of 100 for store bought soda.

So it's less expensive and healthier, how does it taste?  Wonderful!  Every flavor we've tried has been amazing!  I love that it doesn't take electricity or batteries so it's very portable.  It is very easy to use also.  A couple helpful hints though...

Make sure you only fill the bottle to the fill line or you might have a bit of a mess.  Also, we discovered the hard way that you need to tilt the bottle a little when you add the flavoring or it might fizz over the top!

The carbonator bottles last a long time and they are refillable by either the Soda Stream exchange program online, or to a retail store that handles the exchanges.  I discovered the Kohl's right down the road from me can do this for me!

I highly recommend this product!  It really has been a wonderful thing to have.  It is quite a treat for my kids (and for me too) to make my own soda!  My personal favorite is Diet Pink Grapefruit, or maybe Coke Zero, or maybe Diet Lemon Lime, or Apple Mango or.... okay, I love them all!  My kids' favorite is definitely the Rootbeer followed by the Orange.  Though they haven't found a flavor they don't like.  I like the Sparkling Water flavors because now Matthew will drink water whereas before... not so much.

Thank you Soda Stream for this amazing opportunity to review this product!  I am a believer!  Now, if you'll excuse me it's off to make some soda!

Disclosure Policy:  Soda Stream generously sent me this product to review.  The opinions expressed are all my own and free of charge!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shampowder Review

I have been having such a good time reviewing all these fun products and expressing my opinion!  (Who me?  Express an opinion?)   Ü  Well, here comes another one!

I had the opportunity to review Shampowder!.  What is Shampowder, you ask?  Do you ever have one of those days where you barely have time to throw some clothes on, let alone wash and style your hair.  (I have those days fairly frequently!)  Shampowder is a product that you can apply to your hair to help hide the fact that your hair isn't fabulously fresh.


Here's what the website says:
"Shampowder is the original pigmented dry shampoo with an all-in-one applicator. Shampowder hair powder allows you to have freedom between washings and will revive, volumize and deodorize your hair. By absorbing the oils that weigh down unwashed hair - lifeless hair is transformed into full, more manageable hair while the pigmented powder blends seamlessly, disguising the fact that you skipped a washing. The lightly vanilla scented powder comes in THREE shades and blends beautifully into an array of brunette, red, blonde, black and grey hair colors. This is the first hair powder with an attached brush applicator, so it's not messy when applied. To apply, dab - dab - dab the specially designed all-in-one applicator brush to generously apply powder directly to your hairline and scalp. Shampowder is perfectly purse-sized for women on the go and the handy all-in-one applicator is compact enough to drop into your handbag or travel bag."

Shampowder has been featured on The Today Show, has been highlighted in Shape Magazine, Us Weekly, InTouch Weekly, OK Weekly, InStyle Beauty Germany, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Page Six (NY Post), Teen Magazine, The Knot Magazine, Pregnancy & Newborn and All You Magazine.  CSI Miami uses Shampowder to refresh hair between takes in the sweltering Miami sun. Daily Candy picked Shampowder to be on their, “Great Gifts Finds for 2008”. Women are quickly catching-on to the benefits of Shampowder."


Here's what I say:  When the package arrived, it had clear instructions on how to open the applicator, removed the seal and start to apply.  Sadly, I struggled with getting the seal off.  I was afraid to twist the applicator too hard and break it.  (Yes, I've broken things before!)  I finally got the seal off and started dabbing my unwashed hair.  I will say that I love the smell of this stuff!  It smells wonderful!  I wasn't sure how much to use, so the first time I used it, it only made a little difference.  Though, my hair still looked better.

The next time I used it, I used more and this time it did help my hair look much better.  Now, does it look like freshly washed hair?  No.  Does it look better after using it? Absolutely!  My hair didn't look as greasy, and it definitely had more volume after I applied it.  The thing that I really liked is, you couldn't see it in my hair.  It blended in perfectly.  Plus, there was no mess!  Easy application and no mess, a great combination!  So, would I buy this?  Yes, I think it's a great product to have on hand for "those" days!  Plus, it smells fantastic!

Nice job, Shampowder!  Thumbs up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Duncan Hines Decadent Cake Mixes and Glazes - mmmmm!

Decadent doesn't begin to describe these!  I am officially in love with Duncan Hines, I admit it freely!

I had the wonderful opportunity to review Duncan Hines new line of Decadent Cake Mixes and Glazes.  I got to try the Triple Chocolate Decadent Cake Mix (are you drooling yet?), the Apple Caramel Decadent Cake Mix (yes, it is as good as it sounds), and both glazes, Chocolate and Vanilla.

We opened the box and right away my daughter begged to make the cake.  She is actually turning into a wonderful cook, so I let her help.  We started with the Triple Chocolate Cake Mix (of course!).


Ha-ha!  You didn't think I'd post this on here, did you?  My sweet daughter doing a little Vanna White impression!



This cake mix is incredible!  I was in chocolate heaven!  I can honestly say this is better than any cake mix I've used before.  It really is decadent.  There are real chocolate chunks and rich fudge in a separate pouch that you mix into the cake mix.  (Okay, now I know you're drooling!)  After it came out of the oven, we drizzled the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake.  The glazes are really easy to use.  You pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, shake it to mix it up, then pour over your creation!  Speaking of which.... here's ours:



Here were some of the family's reactions:  My hubby said:  "Honey, I love you!" (said with his mouth full of chocolatey goodness).  My son:  "Mom, can I have some more?  This is great!"  My daughter gave me two thumbs up since she couldn't talk with her mouth full!

A few days later I made the Apple Caramel Decadent Cake.  While it's not chocolate, this thing is delicious!  I loved that there were delicious pockets of apples and caramel.  So good!  I'm sorry there's not a picture of this one, but it disappeared too quickly!  My son didn't even wait for the glaze.  He was snitching it before it was even out of the pan!  Our home smelled amazing while it was cooking!  Helpful hint:  If you're selling your home, bake the Apple Caramel Decadent Cake right before someone comes to see it.  The smell is incredible!

I love these new mixes and glazes!  They will definitely be my "go-to" mixes now!  Way to go Duncan Hines!  Now excuse me while I have another piece of cake!

Disclosure:  I was provided with the above products for the purpose of a review.  The opinions are all my own, and free of charge!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little Too Much Nature, part two

Okay, you know from previous posts that I'm not a big fan of snakes.  Now, I know that they're useful (some of them) and I know that most of them are harmless, but... still not a fan.  They give me the willies, they really do.  Side note.... I wonder if seeing a human gives them the willies?  Hmmm....

So, last night I'm on the run trying to fit 100 things into 99 minutes worth.  I learned that trick from my mom!  I open the garage door and load the passenger seat with all the things I need to do, part of a meal into a friend, returning a paint tray, book for another friend, a thank you gift for someone else, well... you get the picture.  I slam the door and start to head around the front of the car when what do I spy?  Oh yes, a snake.  Not just a little baby snake. A great big 4 foot king snake!  Do you know why that snake is 4 feet?  I'm sure it's the same king snake that was feasting on a gopher snake mentioned in a previous post.

We come face to face, I let out quite a squeal and freeze in my tracks (okay, I admit it, I jumped back a little!).  Then I realize my garage door is wide open and that's the direction the humongous snake is heading.  So I glare at said snake and tell it to "Shoo"!  It didn't like to be told to "Shoo" so it reared back like it was going to strike.  So, what to do?  Back away and let it go in my garage where I will never be able to set foot in again knowing the snake is hiding in there, or stand my ground.  I chose to stand my ground!  (Which consisted of turning around and running as fast as I could in the house, hollering for my husband to save me from the snake and then gingerly running back to confront said snake and stop it from going in the garage.  Whew....  are you exhausted from the mental picture?

Thankfully, snakey decided my retreat was a good time to retreat himself.  When I came back out he was heading into the nearest gopher hole.  My husband was thrilled because he knows that means less gophers.  Me, not so thrilled because that means said snakey is still lurking somewhere in my front yard.

All day I have gingerly gotten into and out of the car always vigilant, always watchful.  Do you think snakey is doing the same thing, watching out for the crazy redhead?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beecology Review



You know me... always on the lookout for the "latest and greatest"!  Well, I found a great new product I want to tell you about.  The company is called Beecology (fun name!) and they make the coolest beauty products!

Here's an introduction from their website :

So how did we become a well known distributor of natural bath and body products, including: all natural shampoo and conditioner products, all natural soaps, and all natural lip balms?
 
About four years ago a co-worker of mine asked if he could put a beehive at my family farm. I said yes, thinking I would bear no responsibility, but (here it comes) after two weeks his wife became pregnant and he told me he couldn't tend to them. I was a beekeeper by default. At first I couldn't believe I would be taking care of bees, but I soon became fascinated with bee culture and science.

I started to learn about bees and attended workshops at The Ohio State University agricultural campus. Beyond enjoying the science of bees, just the act of tending to bees gave me time to reflect. It became a very cathartic activity. And I started to realize that the world of bees imitated our life on earth. The tiniest changes in the environment are reflected in the bees' environment, which led me to think about the foods we eat and the chemicals we use and the impact these outside factors have on bees and on us.
 
Natural body care products from nature’ s impressive body of work. 
Family-made small-batch hair, skin and lip products.
 
Some may feel that in this culture of consumerism and consumption that it may sound like disingenuous claptrap to claim that we did not create Beecology to make money. Think what you will, but we do donate 10% of our profits to charities. We do engage in business practices that are not necessarily the most profitable such as bending over backward to use natural, sustainable ingredients in every product.
 
So, does this stuff work?  I say a resounding Yes!  Beecology generously sent me samples of their Shampoo, Conditioner, Grapefruit and Lemongrass Body Wash,  and their lip balm.  Love, love, love them all!

Let's start with the Lemongrass Body Wash.  I love this stuff! The smell is a light citrus smell and reminds me of our citrus grove.  My skin felt clean and moisturized afterward. The scent made me feel refreshed and ready to face the day!  This is definitely a repeat buy for me!

Now, on to the Shampoo and Conditioner... Also great stuff!  My hair actually felt silky afterward!  I have very fine, limp hair (gasp, I said that out loud!) and this shampoo didn't leave my hair flat.  It actually seemed to hold it's style a little longer.  I've been trying to think of words to describe the smell, and I can't, except that I really like it!  I can tell you that it's Sulfate-Free, and has all these wonderful natural ingredients, but you can read about it here.  The important thing is my hair is clean, conditioned, looks great and smells great! 


The Lip balm now has a permanent place of residence in my purse so I can have access to it at all times!  Though, my daughter keeps trying to snag it from me, cuz she likes it too.  I've got to keep an eye on her!

Thanks, Beecology for making great products and for introducing them to me!  You definitely have a new customer!








Disclosure:  Beecology generously provided me samples of the above mentioned products.  The opinions are all my own, and free of charge!