Saturday, June 30, 2012


The lucky winner of a GBC Badgemates ID Badge Laminator Kit and a 20-pack of 4x6" Photo Laminating Pouches from is...

But, wait! If you're disappointed that you weren't the winner of this great little Laminator Kit, is having a sale just for you!

MyBinding laminator sale

That's right! Head over there and pick up this Laminator Kit for only $9.99 (regularly $29.99!) and the 20-pack of Photo Laminating Pouches for only 89¢. This special deal is on now thru Friday July 6th and there is no code or coupon needed. Just head over and pick one up for yourself!

The lucky winner of their choice of adorable Cuddle Covers and Official Cuddle Cover Pillow is...

The lucky winner of delicious fruit and veggie pouches from Peter Rabbit Organics is...

The lucky winner of a Daddy Prize Pack from Pampers is...

The lucky winner of two fun Hank Player t-shirts is...

The lucky winner of a signed copy of Keri Glassman's new book, Slim, Calm, Sexy Diet is...

The lucky winner of a family four pack of waterpark passes to Mt Olympus Water & Theme Park is...

Thanks to everyone who entered these fun giveaways! Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Phobias and Fears about Singing. Can I be Cured?

While we all have our insecurities in life, there are some that we manage to overcome and some that we don't.

In my case, I don't sing in public. I barely sing in private either, but only when I'm completely positive that there isn't another soul within earshot.

Nope, I just don't sing in front of other people.

Not even Happy Birthday at parties... unless you happen to be one of my own two children, in which case you better feel pretty special. And even then, that's only because I'm typically surrounded by a bunch of singing kids who couldn't care less if I'm feeling goofy, can carry a tune or am remotely on key since all they want is for me to cut the cake.

singing Happy Birthday

While some fears are just a part of us, I can pinpoint the time in my life when singing went from a normal activity to one that causes anxiety: in sixth grade.

That's right, sixth grade. So that made me, what? Twelve?

My elementary school included a Music Class that we attended a few times a week, which, according to my memories was mostly spent singing. I'm pretty sure that we were taught a bit about instruments and I vaguely remember being taught about the notes on the scale, but that was about it.

Although I could label a musical staff with the notes just fine, I couldn't sing them for you then and I can't sing them for you now. I recall one homework assignment where we had to go home and come up with our own short composition and I stared at those blank lines in completely bafflement.

Our teacher looked forward to the great scores that we would surely write... while I worried that simply dropping whole notes and half notes onto a page would somehow end up sounding like music.

blank music staff

But no, it wasn't the homework that caused my phobia of singing. It was the single phrase that a good friend of mine innocently said to me on the day that we were set to change our assigned singing spots.

We had always stood on risers in the same positions and, when told we were moving, my friend turned to me and, without any hint of malice at all, said, "Oh. How am I going to sing by someone else? You always sing off key, so it helps me stay on key."

Having not had the slightest clue that I was singing off key all this time, that moment has stuck with me ever since. I began mouthing the words in Music Class and have continued to this day. While I wouldn't consider it an outright phobia (Google has told me that the fear of singing is called Decantophobia), singing in public is just something I don't —and won't— do.

Silly? Maybe. But I'm sure I'm not the only one with a strange fear. What is yours?

(This is a featured post but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.)

Honoring our Every Day Heroes with Dollar General {Procter & Gamble Prize Pack Giveaway!}

While I find it almost impossible to believe, 2012 is nearly halfway over already. Where have the months gone? What have I accomplished? Anything good?

When it comes to making a difference, Dollar General's Everyday Heroes program has already proven that this year-long program is doing a great job honoring community heroes – from the firemen and veterans to teachers and caregivers.

Launched in February to celebrate Black History Month and continued on last month recognizing Moms as Every Day Heroes, June has been spent honoring the men and women of the U.S. military and their families.

Dollar General Every Day Heroes

Throughout the month, Dollar General has teamed up with Procter & Gamble to honor those true Every Day Heroes who have made sacrifices for their families, their communities and their country and have volunteered to serve and protect us.

Along with valuing these heroes and their experiences, Dollar General offers many career opportunities for returning veterans to help repay them for their service. In fact, Dollar General is the winner of the 2011 Military Officers Association of America Distinguished Service Award and was recognized in GI Jobs magazine's list of Most Military Friendly Employers.

Taking things one step further, Dollar General is giving the public the opportunity to honor the military heroes in their own lives and communities by uploading a video about them. Find out more at

Every Day Heroes

Don't let another day go by without thanking those people that you know that are Every Day Heroes — and submitting a video is a very unique and special way to do just that!

Thanks to the generosity of Procter & Gamble, one person will have a little extra to be thankful about this month as well, because...

One lucky person will win a
Dollar General P&G Every Day Heroes Prize Pack*!

*Prize Pack includes a Swiffer 360° Duster, a set of Pringles red computer speakers, Old Spice Champion Deodorant, Tide sample packs and a Dollar General reusable shopping bag.

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Procter & Gamble for providing an Every Day Heroes Prize Pack for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals {Review}

I admit it, I'm a fair-weather fan when it comes to summer.

While I enjoy taking the girls to the park, having barbeques with friends and watching parades in our surrounding cities and towns, there are two things that turn my excitement into disappointment far too quickly: the heat and the mosquitoes.

While sticking to the shade, staying hydrated and remembering my sunglasses help when the temperatures rise, there's really not much that bothers me more than standing around swatting at pesky mosquitoes as they threaten to turn my entire family into an itchy, unhappy mess.

And while I can always turn to a can of bug spray, coating myself and my children in smelly chemicals doesn't always top the list of things that I like to do. Instead, this season I've found the new, natural way to simply and effectively keep mosquitoes from ruining our outdoor fun thanks to the Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals from Universal Pest Solutions.

Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals

Proven to quickly and safely repel more than 95% of biting mosquitoes from areas up to 300 square feet (about the size of an average deck or patio), the Terminix ALLCLEAR Lantern is the effective and safe bug protection families desire in a 11.5" x 7.75" x 7.75" attractive package.

Whether used for dining al fresco, partying poolside, fishing, camping, boating or more, the design blends well with any outdoor space while the proven technology and botanical lemongrass formula work to quickly and naturally repel mosquitoes for hours.

Thinking that the Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Lantern sounded like the answer to enjoying our bug-free time outside without worrying about harmful chemicals, I was eager to put it to the test.

Terminix ALLCLEAR Lantern review

As I pulled the pieces out of the box, right away I appreciated that this Lantern comes fully assembled and only requires the batteries (provided) and spray (also provided) to be installed right inside.

Terminix mosquito lantern

After opening the top, it only took a minute before I had the four AA batteries in place and was removing the lid on the 12oz bottle of Naturals repellent.

Unfortunately I managed to not read the directions close enough to notice that they clearly stated to "remove the spray nozzle" as I simply removed the cap. I quickly realized that the lid of the Lantern was causing the Naturals to spray all over the floor. Oops!

Once I got smart and removed the actual nozzle, as directed...

Terminix ALLCLEAR Lantern assembly

... it was easy to see that this was going to be an item that was going to become a permanent feature in our yard. While we haven't yet used the optional wall mount to hang this (although I foresee us doing so to conveniently hang it from the overhang of our deck), just placing it on the table shows how the antique bronzed finish looks great in any outdoor space!

Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals

When it comes to using this lantern, it couldn't be much easier or more intuitive thanks to the user-friendly, clearly-labeled remote control.

Terminix ALLCLEAR Lantern remote

Not only does the pocket-sized remote allow you to control the Mosquito Mister Lantern from a distance (making it possible to leave it hanging on the wall mount or just not have to go close to it when it sprays), but a single press of a button can customize the level of mist dispensed.

The button with one mosquito equates to light activity and the Lantern will mist every 10 minutes. Two mosquitoes, or medium activity, mists every 7.5 minutes, while three mosquitoes (heavy activity) mists every five minutes. Each application lasts for five seconds and is preempted by a blinking light and two beeps so that you're prepared. Easy enough, right?

bug spray lantern

Or, if you prefer to activate the spray yourself, the simple Mist Now button allows you to control when it is dispersed instead of using the automatic settings (or along with them, if needed). At the same time, if you aren't the one holding the remote (or if you have misplaced it), there is a small button right on the Lantern itself that also allows you to manually control the spray.

Terminix Mostquito Lantern mist button

Along with the protection that your outdoor space receives from the 100% all-natural lemongrass formula, the Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals has the added bonus of being a convenient, functional lantern. Another one-button operation, simply press the Light on the remote and you have a soft glow that adds right to your evening or night festivities.

Terminix Mosquito Lantern light

As Terminix was already a name that came to mind when thinking of mosquito control, I've been happy to see that the ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern has lived up to my expectations. Being able to have this in our yard has made it so extremely easy to protect our family and friends with the touch of a button and has removed the hassle and annoyance of trying to remember to reapply later on.

Considering that the Naturals spray is completely non-toxic, contains no synthetic chemicals or residues, and is safe for the environment, I haven't had to worry once about any chemicals on the kids or pets. Instead, the attractive, weather resistant look simply adds to the ambiance of the outdoors and would easily enhance the beauty of just about any outdoor space.

More information about the Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals can be found at, as well as connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter. This high quality product retails for $79.99 (with additional Naturals Refills sold for $7.99) and can be found at ACE and True Value Hardware stores nationwide as well as online from,, and more.

(Other than the Terminix ALLCLEAR Mosquito Mister Lantern with Naturals that I was provided by Terminix, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this product.)

Learning my way around the Smooth CE 8.0LC Elliptical Trainer from Smooth Fitness {#SmoothBlogger}

Smooth Fitness logo
As I mentioned two weeks ago, my fitness journey with Smooth Fitness is underway.

I have already been sidetracked a bit by heading out of town as well as... well, life, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been utilizing this amazing machine as much as possible. There is really no excuse about not being able to get to the gym when the gym is in your bedroom, you know?

Smooth Fitness review

I'll admit that when I first stood and admired the Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical Trainer, I was also pretty intimidated. This isn't just another piece of workout equipment, this is a solid, stable, commercial grade elliptical trainer that you'd find right alongside rows of other machines in the gym (that all cost two or three times as much).

The first few times I tentatively set foot on the CE 8.0LC, I had no idea how to use any of the 21 Challenging Preset Exercise Programs or change between the 16 levels of intensity. But did that matter?

Not in the least.

Smooth Fitness CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical

I was too impatient to read through the owner's manual, so I simply hopped on, pressed Start and was on my way. While all I was able to do was admire the rest of the buttons, I was still able to complete my workout just fine... which, I have since realized, makes the versatility one of the big positives of this machine.

If you have been utilizing elliptical trainers for years and  want something that has all of the bells and whistles, this is it. With a maximum weight of 400lbs, the CE 8.0LC is a stable and durable elliptical that can withstand heavy daily use. It is solid, comfortable and extremely quiet, so it will easily fit into your fitness regime, no matter how demanding.

On the other hand, if you're new to the world of elliptical machines, you will quickly realize that it isn't difficult to feel like a pro once you've taken this for a spin or two. Even with my creaking, cracking bad knees (I had knee surgery 14 years ago and have to be careful about how much pressure or pounding they receive) I have found that the smooth, fluid motions work the whole body (the moving handlebars are great for the upper body) without any jarring or harsh movements.

Smooth Fitness CE 8.0LC Elliptical Trainer

In the next two weeks I'm looking forward to utilizing a few more of the features of the Smooth CE 8.0LC, such as the SmoothSound Integrated High-Clarity Audio and the high-clarity speakers that go with it as well as the integrated reading rack for a book or magazine.

At the same time, I want to break out of my comfort zone of just working out on the manual setting and try the various preset exercise programs... all while hoping that I don't keel over from exhaustion. But in a good way, of course!

Let's go, Smooth Fitness! It's exercise time!

Find out more about Smooth Fitness and the incredible Smooth CE 8.0LC Elliptical Trainer on their website and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Even better, they have just kicked off their Viral Video Contest where the winner will receive Smooth Fitness' #1 Selling Treadmill, the Smooth 5.65. Head over to their website to see the contest rules and get your video camera out and your creative hat on to enter by July 15, 2012!

As a #SmoothBlogger, I have been provided with a Smooth CE 8.0LC Commercial Elliptical from Smooth Fitness. However, all thoughts and opinions shared are honest and my own.

Equestrian Memories: Stables, Riding Horses and Cake

Every year when I begin coming up with ideas for my daughters' birthday parties, I reminisce over my own memories.

Along with the fun parties that I had (rollerskating, swimming, slumber parties, etc), I remember that a popular location for celebrations in elementary school was at the horse stables a short drive away. Just imagine the excitement of half a dozen 10-year-old girls arriving ready to admire and ride these majestic creatures!

horseback riding
But the part that always sticks out in my mind was the amount of time that was spent at a Horseback Riding Party not actually riding horses.

Let's face it, party attendees had two things on their mind: horses and cake. So while the stable staff was busy talking about the horses' diet or showing quality horse equipment from Equestrianclearance, all we wanted to do was ride.

horseback riding
In the end it always worked out. We had a chance to tentatively climb into a saddle, hold onto the reigns with all of our might, and marvel at all of the "skill" we had at controlling a horse... that, in reality, was simply following the horse in front of it.

The ride probably only lasted 15 minutes, but it was the highlight of the party (next to the aforementioned cake, of course) and every little girl went home happy. What more could we have asked for?

girl kissing horse
While I don't foresee horseback riding in the future for either of my daughters' birthday parties, at least I can always hope that whatever we do to celebrate their special day creates memories that will last a lifetime.

Are there birthday parties (of yours or that you attended) from your childhood that stick out in your mind?

Aeromax Space Pack Super Soaking Water Blaster {Review & Giveaway}

Aeromax logoNow that summer is here, my girls have been having a good time riding their bikes up and down the sidewalk, digging in our sand table, and in general enjoying spending time outdoors. There's just something about the fresh air and sunshine that does wonders for their energy levels and moods (and mine, as well).

However, there are often times when their imaginations stall and they need a little inspiration to turn a regular day outside into a creative, fun-filled time. That's when I know that we can beat the heat while providing entertainment, laughter and smiles thanks to the Astronaut Space Pack from Aeromax.

Aeromax Space Pack

Started 15 years ago with one toy, today Aeromax has a product line that boasts 300 (and counting) items and every top toy industry award. And while the toys, dress up clothes, gear and more are great on their own, Aeromax also makes you feel good about your purchase due to their strong belief in charitable giving — they've donated thousands of units to Kids Wish Network and Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.).

After seeing how much my kids adored zooming off to the moon with Aeromax's Jr. Space Explorer Inflatable Space Shuttle earlier this year, I had absolutely no doubt that they would be thrilled with the ability to combine that fun with blasting water around the yard with the Space Pack.

When this box arrived, the girls were immediately anxious to fill it with water and start spraying!

Aeromax Space Pack review

Designed for ages 5+ and arriving in three simple pieces, the assembly for this Space Pack took less than a minute.

Aeromax Spack Pack

By simply connecting one end of the included hose to the back of the sprayer and the other end to the bottom of the pack...

Aeromax Space Pack assembly

...we were ready to remove the convenient blue cap on the one liter-capacity water tank, fill it, and head outdoors to play.
Aeromax space pack water gun

With two adjustable straps and the ability to hold the sprayer on either side of the body, I appreciated that the Space Pack was easily customizable for children of multiple sizes or who are right- or left-handed. Little Sister B and Big Sister E had no problem slinging it on and shooting off into the distance.

backpack water sprayer

With a simple pump of the front of the sprayer, the water came streaming out of the Space Pack and both of my girls' eyes lit up!

They quickly realized that not only could this blaster shoot water 30 feet, but that by pulling on the trigger right on the sprayer, that it would cause the two nozzles on the front to angle outwards and send the water flying off in two different directions!

Aeromax astronaut water sprayer

While I had realized that one liter was a large amount of water and that the pumping action would produce water pressure, I hadn't been prepared for just how far the Aeromax Space Pack could truly spray...

Aeromax Space Pack

...and how long it would be until we had to stop playing to fill it again. While we have only used the Space Pack for imaginative adventures that involve touring outer space and shooting at the stars or the "bad guys," this would definitely be an asset in a water fight because your opponent would surely have to stop to reload multiple times before this was anywhere near empty!

For us, the size of the tank and the ability to spray for long periods of time has just equated to more and more fun!

Aeromax Space Pack

The girls have had just as much fun using the Space Pack while racing around the yard as they have while flying on their Jr. Space Explorer Inflatable Space Shuttle. I'm pretty sure we just need astronaut costumes and we'll be ready to give NASA a call.

Aeromax astronaut gear
Sweetly posed because they had explicit instructions to not soak Mommy while I was trying to take a picture. You can tell that Big Sister E is still considering it though, right?

From takeoff to landing, the Space Pack from Aeromax has proved to be an entertaining, durable, fun addition to any space-themed play. The sturdy construction, detailing in the designs and the ease of use all come together for a way for a child to shoot aliens indoors (while empty) or tour the solar system and spray them with water outside.

For any child that enjoys pretend play (especially one that is into outer space, rocket ships and being an astronaut), this is one toy that is sure to bring imaginative, creative, giggling hours on end for years to come. Retailing for $15.95 from Aeromax (as well as on Amazon), I'm looking forward to a summer filled with two happy space explorers thanks to this great accessory.

Thanks to the generosity of Aeromax, one person will soon get to see where the child in their life will blast off to with water fun as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Space Pack Super Soaking Water Blaster from Aeromax!

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to Aeromax for providing a Space Pack for me to review as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Sargento’s New Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese {Review & Giveaway}

Sargento logo

As I mentioned recently, I have kicked off my weight loss efforts with good old fashioned diet and exercise. As much as I'll forever hold out hope that someone will invent a single pill or cream that will make the pounds disappear instantly, apparently there's something to the whole eat healthy eating thing.

Therefore, along with watching my portion sizes (one of the areas in which I always struggle), I'm also making attempts to do things like not eat an entire chocolate bar in one sitting or dive headfirst into the 5-pound bag of candy that my kids collected at a recent parade. Pretty novel of me, right?

But it isn't just junk foods or sweets that I'm cutting back on, I'm also focusing on foods that are high in carbs or contain too many empty calories. For example: cheese. I love cheese and it does have plenty of good vitamins and beneficial aspects to it, but too much of it is really just not going to help the scale.

Fortunately, the happy medium between delicious flavor and the perfect serving is found in the new Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheeses.

Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese

Containing the same delicious flavors but with only half the calories (40 - 45 calories per slice) as their regular sliced cheese, Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheeses come in all of our favorite varieties: Swiss, Provolone, Colby-Jack, and Mild Cheddar. Unfortunately our area grocery stores seem to only carry Provolone, but that wasn't all that disappointing considering that it is a flavor we love!

Sargento Ultra Thin Provolone

Although it does have the words Ultra Thin right in the title, I was still surprised at just how thin this cheese is sliced. Each one was just right in that it still provided the yummy Sargento flavor that we are used to, but with far fewer calories!

low calorie cheese

From the day that we brought the Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese home, it became an instant favorite and there wasn't a single comment on it being any different from usual (except maybe to say that they liked how light and thin it was).

We have enjoyed it completely on its own, layered on crackers or as an ingredient in a delicious recipe. Each time the result has been yum, yum and yum!

Sargento cheese

While we've come up with plenty of our own ideas, I have also tried a handful of the many recipes found right online from Sargento. With so many delicious ideas as to how to incorporate the Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese into breakfasts, lunches and dinners, it's hard to know where to start — but the result will always be a "thinned out" way to cut calories while not losing taste!


As a vegetarian who loves sandwiches, I tend to end up altering most all sandwich or wrap recipes to remove the meat and include an extra veggie or two. Which was the case when I came across Sargento's recipe for Turkey, Avocado, Tomato & Cheddar Melts.

While it sounded scrumptious, I made a few slight changes and ended up with a lunch that was quickly added to my favorites list!

sandwich recipe

Keep an eye out for the new Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese from Sargento at your local grocery retailer (you can also use Sargento's product locator to check for your nearest location), where it sells for around $3.71 per package. Once you've tried them and realized the flavor and versatility they provide for 40 - 45 calories per slice, you'll be hooked!

And, thanks to the generosity of Sargento, one person will soon be able to see what a difference Ultra Thins can make in their life as well, because...

One lucky person will win three coupons for free Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheese! 

Sargento Ultra Thin Cheeses

(Enter with the Rafflecopter form below. If you have any questions or problems entering, there is a video tutorial found here that can help.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received products and compensation from Sargento Foods Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in this campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.