Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Protect Your Family from Invisible Home Hazards with the Kidde Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm {Giveaway}

Kidde logo
While we've taken plenty of precautions around here to keep our home safe from hazards such as drafty windows, dirty carpets or foods that have sat long past their expiration date in the back of the fridge, I know full well that doesn't mean that we can rest easy.

After all, sometimes the things you can't see in your home can be the most hazardous: Germs, dust mites, mold, and more.

But, one of the most dangerous things you can't see in your home is carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas which can be deadly within minutes. CO is the leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the U.S. and the only safe way to detect it is with a working CO alarm.

However, according to the U.S. Census, while 75% of all homes have a potential source of carbon monoxide – like a water heater, fireplace, furnace, stove, clothes dryer, space heater, generator or any other fuel-burning appliance – only half of U.S. homes have a working CO alarm.

Fortunately, this spring Kidde released its Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm, the first and only UL-listed CO alarm proven to provide up to 10 years of protection – up to twice the lifespan of other available alarms.

LCD CO Alarm

As with Kidde's other convenient, high quality Worry-Free products, this new CO alarm contains a sealed-in lithium battery that powers the alarm for a decade, eliminating annoying low-battery chirps while helping to keep your loved ones safe.

As well as the convenience of not worrying about changing the batteries or if they have been removed, the Worry-Free CO Alarms actually save you time and money by not having to purchase new batteries to continuously replace them.

Considering that even low levels of this toxic gas may cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue (according to the EPA), doesn't it just make sense to know that your home is safe from this invisible hazard for 10 full years?

carbon monoxide dangers

The only safe way to know if carbon monoxide is present is to install carbon monoxide detectors (alarms) on every level of your home and in sleeping areas. Kidde has been making CO alarms with electrochemical sensing technology for years and their newest Worry-Free Alarm is yet another step in the right direction for protecting families everywhere.

For 90 years, industry leaders, the military, airlines, and firefighters have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire protection. Consumers will find the same advanced technology in Kidde's smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, and other life-safety products. Make your home and family safe today.

Available now at select home improvement stores and other retailers, more information about this and all of Kidde's Worry-Free Alarms can be found by visiting WorryFreeAlarm.com and connecting with Kidde on Facebook and Twitter.

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will be prepared to safely update their home as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Kidde Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm!

carbon monoxide detector

A big thank you to Kidde for providing product and compensation for me as well as a Worry-Free CO Alarm 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.

Have an Incredible Outdoor Adventure with Backyard Safari Outfitters {Review}

Backyard Safari Outfitters logo
Although I'm sure that I'll end up saying the same thing next year, I can't remember a winter here in the Midwest that has dragged on quite as long as this one. The official first day of spring was ages ago, why are our snow boots not packed away yet? We should be LONG past still needing to reach for wool hats and gloves before going outside!

However, now that warm weather seems to finally be here to stay (knock on wood), I think my kids would hang out in the yard for most of the day if I let them. There's something about being outside in the fresh air that inspires them to run, smile and giggle as they point out every leaf, bird and blade of grass that strikes their fancy.

But that's not to say that they don't get bored. They can only stand there for so long with the same old bucket and shovel before they start to dream of breaking away and imagining themselves heading out on a real adventure. Are there kids that don't yearn to closely examine (i.e. poke, stare at, and collect) every aspect of wildlife that they can find?

Fortunately, we always know exactly who to turn to when we want to gear up with items that are rugged, fully functional and made for use in the field year-round. Whether your safari takes place in the park, at the campground, on the beach or even your own backyard, you'll be ready for action with Backyard Safari Outfitters.

Backyard Safari

With a huge collection of different gear and tools items, Backyard Safari Outfitters has turned traditional outdoor play into an incredible nature adventure every time kids walk out the door.

To encourage the educational aspect of exploring our world even further, each Backyard Safari Outfitters kit comes with a handy, pocket-sized Pop-Up Field Guide full of information and illustrations to really get kids interested in the science aspect of their exploration.

And when it comes to being interested, Big Sister E and Little Sister B were thrilled at the idea of heading into the great outdoors to see what we would find with the Backyard Safari Magnifying Glass, Critter Shack and Land & Water Lighted Habitat.

Backyard Safari Outfitters review

An essential tool for up-close examinations, the Backyard Safari Magnifying Glasses (approximate retail price $4.49) needed no explanation for my girls to grab one and start searching for specimens. Whether examining plants, animals or more...

kids magnifying glass

...these child-friendly magnifying glasses are easy to hold and really work. They even have a built-in ruler on the handle so that measuring whilst you search and observe is quick and easy.

magnifying glass

But once you've spotted frogs, fish, lizards, crawfish, snakes or bugs, it's hard to examine them when they can just crawl away, right? Instead the Backyard Safari Critter Shack (approximate retail price $7.99) is a perfectly simple and straightforward location to collect them for careful observation.

The clear-view housing is water tight and topped by a breathable mesh lid and carrying handle, making it easy for kids to pop off the top...

Critter Shack

...and fill it with anything from grass to pine cones to sticks (to just about anything else) to form their own miniature habitat.

As this convenient temporary house works in both wet and dry conditions, it's really just that easy for kids to trap all sorts of small creatures inside and take a closer look.

bug house

The girls were both really excited to spend quite a bit of time examining all of the different parts of a fly when we managed to get one inside our Critter Shack!

fly trap
We had quite the ceremonious time letting the fly go free after checking it out for a while as well!

For a longer, more permanent home for creatures of all kinds, the Backyard Safari Land & Water Lighted Habitat (approximate retail price $24.99) provides a 360° view of your own personal natural history museum.

Featuring a plastic sculpted terrain and an optional pool area (note: when unpacking your Habitat, be sure to not pull out and throw away the blue plastic that looks quite similar to the packing materials!) kids are able to observe amphibious creatures or land-dwellers in a life-like setting.

As an added bonus, this kit arrives with a coupon code to visit RibbitsGalore.com and order one free tadpole (plus $7.99 for shipping & handling) so that you can get started filling your habitat with a creature that can teach about metamorphosis as well as entertain.

While we aren't quite at the stage of life where we are looking to provide a home for a menagerie of exotic creatures, the girls were still enthralled with the removable scenic backdrop in this habitat and the way that it could easily be a home to bugs, frogs, turtles, lizards, snakes or more.

Backyard Safari Land & Water Habitat review

With a lockable flip-top (with light) as well as a separate port that allows bugs to be transferred directly from the Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum...

Backyard Safari Habitat

...the Land & Water Habitat has been another fun way for us to collect and observe the wildlife right outside our door.

Backyard Safari Land & Water Habitat

A division of the award-winning Summit Toys, Backyard Safari Outfitters has all the gear that kids could need for year-round nature exploration. From just hanging out in the yard to heading off to hike the trails, each item can be used on its own or combined with other gear to encourage children to learn and have a great sense of adventure and exploration, all while being active outside and enjoying nature.

Backyard Safari Outfitters' unique items can be found in-store as well as online at Amazon and from Summit Toys. Backyard Safari Outfitters can also be found on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to stay connected and never miss updates on their innovative gear for ages 5 and up.

(Other than the information and aforementioned products that I was sent from Summit Toys in conjunction with my membership to Team Mom, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this fun field gear.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime {Review & Giveaway}

Little Mommy logoWhile my daughters are affected by television commercials just as much as other kids, they do tend to quickly lose interest in just about everything they see on the screen (which I appreciate).

However, in the past few weeks Little Sister B has been riveted each and every time she saw the ad featuring one particular doll and one lucky girl:

doll commercial

Mommy, that baby has her own bathtub!

Did you see that, Mommy? You can REALLY wash her!

(Stunned silence) Those purple spots really disappeared! Did you see? They're gone!

And so on, etc. Each and every time the commercial aired.

To be honest, I didn't pay too close of attention the first few times. But once I started to watch, I have to admit that I understood her excitement. My girls love baby dolls and they love bath time, so this was the perfect way to combine the two while engaging their maternal instinct.

It seems, as usual, that Little Mommy has created just the right blend of imagination, entertainment and nurturing with their Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll.

Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll

Specially designed for little girls as young as 18 months, Little Mommy provides products that offer play for all ages and all stages of a little girl's life. From infant and newborn traditional doll options to fully interactive babies and toddlers that can walk, cry, crawl, eat, sneeze, play peek-a-boo, go potty and much more, there is sure to be a doll for every young girl.

Even better, these dolls are are available in different ethnicities so that little girls everywhere are able to play with and love a baby that resembles themselves. What a great way for a little mommy to feel an even closer bond!

Therefore, when a Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll arrived, I had no doubt that both of my daughters would be overjoyed to participate in giving her a good scrub-a-dub-dub after a long day of play.

Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime

Right out of the package, we admired the small details and cute additions that had gone into making this doll unique and special.

Containing the baby herself, her bird towel/robe, diaper, bathtub, soap pump dispenser, bird-shaped pouring cup and instructions, it took less than two minutes before Little Sister B and I had the bath prepared and ready to go.

Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime review

After filling the bathtub with warm water, I followed Little Mommy's suggestion to fill the soap dispenser with bubble bath, and hooked it easily onto the side of the tub.

All that was left to do was cover a section of the table with a towel and Little Sister B was ready to clean her baby up from head to toe.

Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll review

As well as being able to play with the water, Little Sister B couldn't get enough of the working foam dispenser and being able to shoot out more and more bubbles...

Little Mommy Bathtime bubbles

...as well as her constant amazement at the way that the purple "dirty" marks on her baby disappeared as she washed them. Magic!

Little Mommy bathtub baby

The color change spots return as soon as the baby has cooled back to room temperature (which is pretty quickly), so while I think that Little Sister B would prefer that her baby could stay "clean" a little bit longer, it just means that she can wash, re-wash and re-wash again and again!

bathtime baby doll

Giving the ability to truly emulate Mommy, this Bubbly Bathtime doll, her cute pink tub, and her working foam dispenser all come together for a great deal of bubbly bath fun. Both of my girls have had a great time using the bird-shaped pouring cup to rinse this baby clean, as well as have brought her right into the real bathtub with them at times to let her get in a bit of a swim while scrubbing her up as well.

Whether in or out of the water, there is something about a doll that allows a girl to realistically mimic the nurturing role of being mom, celebrating everything from major milestones to giggly everyday moments. Little Mommy has easily captured that innocence and fun with Bubbly Bathtime and I love the way that this doll helps express and encourage fun as well as responsibility.

Available in store or online at Amazon.com, Target.com, ToysRUs.com and more for $21.99, this doll comes in Caucasian and African-American versions and is sure to bring a great deal of creative, imaginative wholesome fun for ages 2 and up.

And, thanks to the generosity of Little Mommy, one person will have a cuddly baby in need of cleaning of their own, because...

One lucky person will win a Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime Doll!

Little Mommy giveaway

A big thank you to Little Mommy for providing a Bubbly Bathtime doll for me to review as well as one 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.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


The lucky winner of a $75 Olive Garden gift card is...


The lucky winner of a Leafy Dream jewelry organizer from Jauku Design is...

The lucky winner of their choice of KnifeDock is...

The lucky winner of a $60 Umi gift card is...

The lucky winner of a P&G "Most Loved" Products Prize Pack is...

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wherein I Blame Blogging For My Waistline {#ShakleeBlogger}

If you missed my announcement last month (or my video a few weeks ago), my life has prominently been changed since joining the Shaklee 180™ blogger program.

The Energizing Tea, Smoothee Mix, and Meal and Snack Bars ensure that this is not only a meal replacement program, but a clinically tested, breakthrough approach to weight loss. These products are not only designed to boost my metabolism, they are also going to help retain muscle and remove belly fat at the same time!

It has been eight weeks since I vowed to turn my weight loss woes around and, believe it or not, I am still just as enthralled with these smoothees as I was at the very beginning.

Shaklee 180 fruit smoothee
Seriously, the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender is my favorite single-size blender ever!

As well as the HUGE variety of flavors and recipes that I've tried, I have to admit that I also still love the concept of mixing up a quick meal right in my blender. For someone who has no willpower and will go overboard clearing my plate simply because it is there, drinking my breakfast (and often my lunch) actually comes as a relief.

No pacing around the kitchen wondering what I'm going to have, no measuring out perfect serving sizes of cereal or oatmeal or pasta, no stress over what is going to tempt me when I open the refrigerator, just reach for my Shaklee 180™ and know that my body is getting everything it needs.

But while I have been able to withstand most of the temptations that my family has provided these past eight weeks, I've come to realize that my biggest challenge seems to be blogging.

When every one of those food reviews are posted, I've had to eat all of the deliciousness for myself, right?

pizza recipes

How can I tell you that Totino's Party Pizza, the Mezzaluna Ravioli at Olive Garden and Pesto Pizza made with Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust are rich and delicious without devouring them for myself?

Don't even get me started on the Carrot Cupcakes. I'm too ashamed to tell you how many of them I ended up eating myself, even though the kids did their best to help out.

As well as my reviews, as calorie-laden as they were, my biggest eating challenges this month have been eating away from home. If you read my post on visiting the Step2 Headquarters recently, then you saw a glimpse of the incredible meals that they fed us morning, noon and night.

gourmet meals

Of course I had packed a bag with my Shaklee 180™ Meal and Snack Bars, but was there any way that I was going to pull one out and eat it instead of plates that looked like these?


As if Step2 wasn't generous enough with all of their delicious meals, while you're reading this, I'm in Lancaster, PA at the Auntie Anne's Headquarters.

That's right, Auntie Anne's, home of the most decadent, handcrafted, freshly-baked pretzels around. Let's just say that when they sent the invitation, they included this line to give me a hint at just how many of these pretzels we would be eating: "Bring your taste buds and stretchy pants."

Auntie Anne's

Am I slightly frightened to get on the scale at the end of this month to see what the results are from April?

Most definitely.

However, am I still extremely confident that the Shaklee 180™ program is going to help me reach my weight loss goals little by little?


No matter where I am or what is going on in my life (or the excuses that I come up with to blame my poor eating choices on), Shaklee 180™ is helping me feel better about myself day after day.

Shaklee 180 meal bar

As I said last month, this is the last weight loss program that I hope to try, as I'm determined to get these pounds off and keep them off.

If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up.

scale with tape measure
Starting weight: Ugh.
Week 1: -5 lbs
Week 4: -10.2 lbs
Week 8: -12 lbs

If you'd like to find out more about the Shaklee 180™ program, connect with them on their website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

You can also find out more about all of Shaklee's incredible products for healthy nutrition, home and beauty by connecting with Shaklee Corporation on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own. I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor.

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Electronic Smartpot: Click & Grow {Review}

Click & Grow logo
It's confession time: I don't have a green thumb.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I have a pretty brown thumb, considering the number of plants that I've killed over the years.

It's not on purpose, of course. In fact, just the opposite. I start out well, making sure each little flower or vegetable seed is properly planted and given plenty of sunshine, water and love.

But... as with so many of my well-intentioned projects, life goes on and remembering to keep up with the watering and care gets pushed to the back of my mind. Before I know it, I find myself shaking my head sadly at my little pot of dirt, realizing that I have done it yet again.

Isn't there a way that I can grow a houseplant or some fresh vegetables but without putting in the time, skills and effort? I was pretty sure that the answer was no... and then I was introduced to Click & Grow.

flower pots

An electronic smartpot that independently grows plants without the need of watering, fertilizing or any gardening know-how, Click & Grow enables the growth of any houseplant with its sensors, processor and special software located right in the pot.

This innovative gadget does all of the work automatically dosing the correct amount of water and nutrients, while forgetful gardeners like myself only need to refill the water tank or replace the batteries once in a long while.

After deciding that Click & Grow was created with me in mind, I was thrilled to have the chance to see if I could grow a mini garden of my own with the Starter Kit with Basil.

Click & Grow Basil

As I pulled the 8.3" x 8.3" x 3.1" sleek smartpot out of the box...

Click & Grow Basil Starter Kit

...I was pleased to see that Click & Grow had included perfectly clear, step-by-step instructions to get me started.

Click & Grow instructions

I simply installed four AA batteries (not included)...

Click & Grow batteries

...filled the water reservoir up to the indicated water level mark...

Click & Grow water tank

...replaced the lids, covered the top of the plant cartridge with the included germination lens (to create a greenhouse effect on my future little sprouts), and placed the whole thing in a sunny window.

Click & Grow germination lens

That's it!

There is a convenient light right on the side of the smartpot that blinks green every five minutes to let me know that all is well, along with a handy chart that deciphers what the pot is telling me if it blinks or turns to another color.

Click & Grow panel lights

Really, could this get any easier?

Click & Grow mentioned that it would be 1-2 weeks for my cute little sprouts to appear... and, sure enough, they did.

Click & Grow Review

No hassle, no fuss, no feeling bad when I realize days later that I haven't paid any attention to my new little plants. Instead, this simple and modern pot (which would look great with any décor) is a dream come true for irresponsible gardeners like me. I can't wait to see how much these have flourished in the next few months (the basil is said to be full grown in 3 to 4 months, and will live from 8 to 12 months)!

Retailing for $79 for the Starter Kit and $19.99 for a refill plant cartridge, Click & Grow has options in both the flower and vegetable variety for every taste.

Starter Kits include Basil, Chili Pepper, Mini Tomato and Corkscomb, while the refills are available in these four as well as Busy Lizzy, Coriander, Garden Sage, Lamb's Ear, Lemon Balm and Painted Nettle — plus Click & Grow is always testing new plants to expand their selection even further!

click & grow plants

To find out more about these easy-to-use, no-gardening-knowledge-necessary smartpots, visit ClickandGrow.com and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Other than the Starter Kit with Basil that I was provided by Click & Grow to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion of this product.

Evenflo Amp High Back Booster Car Seat {Review}

evenflo logo
Although I look back and regret having amassed too many diaper bags and bottles when my girls were babies, one item that seems to be continually in demand around here is the booster seat.

Between our carpool, both of my own kids, and their numerous friends that we're often driving around, it seems that we're always reaching for a high quality booster seat to keep everyone securely in place. As I've mentioned before, there is nothing more important than my kids' safety in the car... and that extends to our young friends as well!

Thankfully, I love being able to turn to brands like Evenflo that offer products such as the Amp High Back Booster Seat so that I know that all of my young passengers are protected and shielded in the event that an accident does happen.

Amp High Back Booster Seat

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends children remain in booster seats up to age 12, that means that parents should spend just as much time (and put in as much research) as they do when selecting their newborn's first car seat or the convertible seat that will then follow.

Fortunately, Evenflo has a variety of booster seats ranging from harnessed to belt-positioning in high back and no-back to meet the quality and needs that parents search for and the personalities and preferences of preschool and school-aged children alike.

And, when the box containing an Evenflo Amp High Back Booster Seat arrived, I knew that it was just the right blend of fashion and function by embodying a child's personal style and keeping them safe and secure in a vehicle as well.

Evenflo booster seat

Available in a variety of colors and fun designs, the Amp High back Booster is for use forward facing with the back for children that are 4+ years old, 30-110 lbs and 38" to 57" tall. Then, as it easily converts to a backless booster, the Amp can also be used for your 4+year-old who weighs 40 to 110 lbs and is 40" to 57" tall.

With hardly any assembly required, it doesn't take much more than pulling this car seat out of the box before it is ready for use.

Evenflo amp assembly

It only took a minute or two to snap the headrest into the back and connect the back to the booster seat. By easily locking the pieces together and standing the back upright, I soon had a high quality, durable, comfortable booster ready for use.

Evenflo Amp High Back Booster Seat

Catching a first glimpse of the Evenflo Amp, both Big Sister E and Little Sister B were excited about the dynamic blue coloring and the "big kid" look and feel.

As usual, they immediately pointed out the two elastic cup holders, as both girls are always thrilled when they are able to have their drinks, snacks and belongings right within reach.

Evenflo Amp cup holders

Heading out to the car, my husband and I were both excited to find that there wasn't any installation involved, as this Evenflo Booster Seat rested easily in place on the seat.

I then took a minute to admire the thought that Evenflo put into its safety features, as the adjustable head support and energy absorbing foam are both great additions for reducing impact and keeping my precious cargo safe in the car.

Even better, this head support features a one-hand, 6-position height adjustment to accommodate growing children for many years!

high back booster seat

As an added bonus, I love the open-loop belt guides up at the shoulders to help ensure that kids correctly position their seat belt when getting in and buckling up.

booster seat belt loop

There is even a handy reminder right on the side of the booster itself to show exactly where the seat belt should meet, as well as where to place the head support and when to use the optional belt positioning strap.

correct booster seat installation

All in all, Evenflo has done a wonderful job reducing my fears and easing my worries, while also keeping my passengers safe and secure.

I have no doubt that we will be using the Amp with the high back in place for quite a while... and, considering how extremely easy it is to simply remove the back and turn it into a backless booster, we'll be using it even longer after that!

Evenflo booster review

When it comes to car seats, high chairs, exersaucers, soft carriers, home safety, and much more, Evenflo has the items that meet all the needs of children from birth to the preschool years in an affordable way — this booster seat will last for years to come and sells for $39.99 from Amazon, on Walmart.com or in stores near you.

Find out more about the Amp High Back Booster Seat on the Evenflo website and be sure to connect with this award-winning company on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Other than the Amp High Back Booster Seat I was provided by Evenflo to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion of this product and this company.