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Honor the Earth Event Kick Off #HonorEarth

Honor the Earth Giveaway

Welcome to the Honor the Earth Giveaway Hop!

Hosts: Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mom and Brittleby's Corner through the Green Moms Network!

Each of the participating blogs is offering a prize package to help you Honor the Earth for Earth Day! While Earth Day comes just once a year, we want to give you ideas on how you can care for the environment every day.

After entering my giveaway, be sure to hop around and enter all of the other giveaways listed on the linky at the bottom of this post!

Be sure to enter the grand prize giveaway (links to show you how and where to do this are just below the Rafflecopter form listed on this page!!)

For the prize package from Adventures of Mommyhood, I've gathered several rad sponsors to make this spring a time when you can raise a budding birder into an absolutely stellar steward of the Earth. In the prize package you'll find a Identiflyer, a few books to get the kids excited about birds (and help them learn some common ones), a kit to learn about one of my favorite birds, and a Thermo Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle--which can be for mom or dad or the kiddies -- a family fluid flask. All of these great sponsors are truly birds of a feather -- so as they flock together on my Rafflecopter form, be sure to gain as many entries as you can so that you can collect the bounty for the luckiest bird nerd of all! One reader will win! 

ENTER the AOM Prize Package BELOW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, for the Grand Prize:
One winner will receive a BAD Blankie from Nest Bedding, 3 books from Little Pickle Press and a set of DVDs from NCircle - that's a $156 value! A second winner will receive a Toter Composter and a $50 gift card - that’s a $279 value! 
  Enter the Grand Prize here!

To enter all the other blogger prize packages, hop around using the links provided below:

Disclosure: I may have received promotional product, samples or some form of compensation for posts associated with this giveaway event. Please see each individual post for more information. All opinions are as always, my own.

Disclaimer: This contest will run through February April 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm PST (11:59 pm EST). The winner will be chosen the following day and announced on Adventures of Mommyhood. No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win.The sponsors provided me with free samples of these products to review, and I was under no obligation to review them if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Adventures of Mommyhood and not to Facebook. Please note that Adventures of Mommyhood, Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mom, Brittleby's Corner, the Green Moms Network and the Naturally Beautiful event bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Chef's Table: Steak Tagliata and Other Specialities #NSNation

It's been a while since I've talked about the food itself. So, let me start out by talking about me...

Haha. I'm down! 16.6 pounds total so far! A lot since I last logged my weight on the first of the month! SIX more pounds of me are gone, hopefully never to be seen again. Yay me! I was thrilled after using the "Pants Gauge" for a few weeks that I had been losing and that it was at least somewhat accurate -- I would recommend this method if you hate scales!

Okay, now onto the food. I don't usually post negative things. I try to look for the good and then counter it with honesty, always. So, here is some honesty: I just cannot get myself to like the Chef's Table collection from Nutrisystem. I know -- it's crazy! This stuff is made from ingredients that are featured in quality, high-end restaurants - Lobster! There is Tilapia! Steak Tagliata! All sorts of more gourmet dishes. I just cannot get into them.

I've tried:

Tilapia with Asparagus & Rice
Ginger Cashew Chicken
Beef Tagliata
Arroz con Pollo
Cavatelli with Brocolli Pesto

I LOVE the look of the Chef's Table package. It's classy. The pouch steams the products. The portions tend to be larger than some of the other entrees. I just cannot dig the taste -- granted it's not ALL bad, I generally either like the vegetable or the side or the main dish -- BUT I never like all three. Typically these meals are all three -- and that's really cool too.

Here's my Steak Tagliata (below). It was made with cooked couscous and spinach. So, I'm not Popeye and therefore spinach doesn't make me jump for joy. The beef tasted a bit freezer burnt to me, but couldn't have been because I JUST got the shipment last week. I'm wondering if I just don't care for the sauce? Couscous? Something?

The other unfortunate thing about the Steak Tagliata is that even though I didn't LOVE the beef, I would have eaten it and at least sort of enjoyed it, but there was a large vein of grissle running through most of it. I have not had this problem with ANY of my other meats so I am thinking that maybe I just got unlucky for this particular meal.

I really would like to hear YOUR experience with Chef's Table. I'm hoping it's just my lame-o Norwegian palatte that isn't diggin' the dish. I've had such GOOD experiences with Nutrisystem foods, I was hoping this last month (trying a different Chef's Table choice each time) would prove different, but alas, I just like the 'regular' frozen fresh entrees better I think. So PLEASE, I implore you: try Chef's Table and tell me what it's like for YOU! Here is the stock photo of the Nutrisystem Steak Tagliata, below from their website:

So, what's been positive lately? A lot!

I am still totally LOVING the chocolate shakes. I'm going to be REALLY bummed when I'm done with Nutrisystem since I haven't found a weight loss shake that equals the flavor (the good flavor) with out the aftertaste of protein powder. The search is on!

I've also decided to re-up on the E-zing Chocolate Shakes and the Cravings Crusher Chocolate Shakes from the Fast 5 week offering. I loved that first taste of Nutrisystem!

As I said, I'm down nearly 20 lbs. and my goal for this three-month adventure is 24 pounds -- so I think with a lot of hard work, sticking steadfast to the plan, and not cheating, I'll just make it! It would be great if I blow past it, but I'm happy to say that I'm down a ton, no longer pre-diabetic, and happier and more energetic already. I'm also having a garage (tag) sale in three weeks -- no more fat pants in this casa!

Are you intrigued? Need to know more about Nutrisystem? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting them on the web!

Thanks to the friendly folks at Nutrisystem who believed in me enough to bring me aboard as a Nutrisystem Nation Blogger! 

Disclosure: I received complimentary products as part of this adventure. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Hoo - Rag the Best Bandana and a dozen other things!

I came across Hoo-Rag when I was looking for something similar to the Buff on Survivor. It turns out, I've found exactly that and then some. I love the different patterns and if I were still in high school or collegiate sports I'd be vying for our team to order some special Hoo-Rags for the team.

I love that there is an instructional video about how to use a Hoo-Rag, because until I got use to it, all I could manage was a sort of headband and a bandana look. Or a neck gaiter. So here it is:

Now, I have several other methods for wearing it and a really cool, functional new piece for races! My new favorite has been to use it as a cuff around my wrist and then when my three foot long hair gets too much to handle, use it as a ponytail holder!

This one is a lot like fish scales. I love it. I also love the crazy length of the Hoo - Rag. It's thin and breathable material. There are a ton of prints and customs are available. Find 'em on Facebook.

Leafware - Dinnerware that is Environmentally Friendly!

Some folks are environmentally conscious like I try to be. I commend you! If you are looking for a way to still be able to use disposable dishes but do not want to add to the Styrofoam trash this planet has, consider trying Leafware!

Now the very best way to reduce your footprint would be to use a reusable dish and wash it with the least amount of water you can, using phosphate-free soap and drip drying. If you cannot do that, this is a good alternative. Made from fallen leaves, then dried and sterilized to make dinnerware, the dishes can be composted and returned to the earth! What a great process! 

I still don't want anyone throwing their leafware out the window now, as you're cruising down the highway, but at least you can feel better about using 'disposable' dishes.

My only concern was in the silverware. The edges of the forks and spoons were a little abrasive -- I don't think you can actually get a splinter from them, but it would be annoying if all of the silverware had the rough spots. That was my only complaint of the set we got to try out!

They sell a sampler pack (which is what we tried out) for $20. Totally a worthy investment for you to see if this is for you. My whole family didn't get to try this out obviously, since there was only a set for one, but I really liked it. I would have done this for my wedding had I known about it ahead of time. I think it could look really classy for a setting -- especially compared to Styrofoam and plastic plates and silverware!

*Disclosure: I received complimentary leafware to try out for this post. All opinions are my own.*

Gaiam Foam Roller - Muscle Therapy

Recently it has been studied and publicized that foam roller therapy can be one of the best things you can do (and one of the easiest) to better your body. Gaiam has a great combo package (foam roller + DVD) that will get you well on your way.

I recently tried the muscle therapy foam roller. This is dense foam. It's not like your average pool noodle! The 18-minute instructional video helped me to understand the intention behind this type of therapy and therefore my posture and use of the roller.

I really like the way the dense foam feels against my muscles but I thought that the DVD was a little hard to replicate since the man instructing has a longer, thinner roller. So positions were rather uncomfortable due to the relative thickness of my roller.

I also was unable to play the DVD in my computer's DVD-Rom player (which also happened to me with Brazil Butt Lift and Insanity, so who knows) but was able to play the disc in my regular home DVD player hooked to the television.

This is very low impact stretching and moving -- a combination of yoga, stretching and some other hybrid relative. Very relaxing and refreshing -- great for a day of rest or the day after a race, I'd say. Originally, I thought this type of exercise was for those who are recovering from surgery (always as your physician) but now I'd highly recommend this to everyone but especially pregnant women!

Now obviously you'd have to modify things, but it's such fluid movement that I could see it being enjoyable with child. (Some positions would NOT be great, but some would be rather nice!) The previews on the Gaiam DVD made me want to try other programs as well! I love the very cleansing and all around good vibes that the company exudes.

The quality of the roller is great and though the DVD leaves a few factors to be desired, it's a nice touch and they wouldn't have to include anything at all for the price! Great deal!

Have you used a foam roller for exercise and recovery?

*Disclosure: Gaiam provided me with the foam roller and dvd set to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.*

Nancy Drew Games Vol. 2 ~ New Titles!

Any gamers out there? Show of hands! I would have never considered myself a gamer until I stumbled across some Nancy Drew games while shopping one day. I haven't been the same since! I am thrilled to see the selection of games on the Her Interactive site -- the makers and developers of the games. They have some that feature the Hardy Boys too! And, you don't need to have the CD, there are downloads available for purchase too! 

The Secret of Shadow Ranch

I have not yet beat the game, I'm probably only about 1/4 of the way through but I am loving it. Her Interactive has a way of making me truly feel like I'm in the Southwest or at a lake cabin. It can be two in the morning, in the dead of winter (in reality) and I can actually feel like I'm surrounded by desert and sunshine.

Screen shot courtesy of Her Interactive website

I reserve gaming for nap time (when I'm done with my chores) and night time after my husband and kiddo are in bed, so it usually is the dead of night! I really like having this as my MOMMY time though. It's a great escape and I feel confident that something about solving mysteries and sleuthing is a good brain exercise!

Screen shot courtesy of Her Interactive website

Plus, in this one you get to ride horse, collect chicken eggs, and explore the desert. I'm a nerd and sucker for petroglyphs and pictographs (and the game teaches folks the differences between them) so I really liked the scenery in the games' setting. My 4-H club leader would NOT be happy with my performance in the horse quiz though -- however, the ranch hand isn't too hard on ya! 

The Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

No surprise here but I had to go to the community message boards to find an essential piece of gear to complete my missions! I love that bird nerds will adore this game. It's got some fun tasks for Nancy to complete.

Again, Her Interactive has killed it with the graphics. I like that these games have the same "menu" -- when you get to White Wolf of Icicle Creek the menu changes -- neither menu is bad, but I like continuity. It's hard for old gals like me to re-learn! 

Screen shot courtesy of Her Interactive website

I also remembered in this game my hatred of Roman numerals. Sheesh! You'd think I'd be able to learn them after so many years -- but, even after a number of Super Bowls, I still have no idea what one it is until I hear it spoken in numbers. 

I also really like that you're in the forest for much of the game and it's a maze. It takes a bit to get used to as most of the screen (trees and trail) are similar looking. Playing in the dark at night and exploring the labyrinth of forested area at night gave me the willies more than a few times. Hats off folks! Great job building suspense!

Screen shot courtesy of Her Interactive website

I love the learning aspects of the games though.  I sometimes have trouble "advancing" the game -- so I'll have to go through the motions of things to activate and unlock items that I feel like I'm ready for. I think I must skip around a lot and I always play on the Junior level - senior level must be a nightmare! Wow! I love that there is a checklist of things that still need to be done for Nancy. I live by check lists in my own life so having them in the game world is fantastic.

Are you a gamer? Past gamer? Are your kids gamers? These are pretty fun and really quite informative games. I am loving every one -- whats more, the games I didn't think I'd love are turning out to be great. I haven't been disappointed yet! Try one today!

*Disclosure: I received complimentary games to facilitate my reviews. All opinions are my own.*

The Pants Gauge #NSNation

For those of you that have scales that do not eat 2032 batteries that you NEVER have on hand, I am insanely jealous. I bought a Weight Watchers scale and I LOVE it, but it is a total battery pig. So, for a few days I've been using the handy old 'pants gauge.' It's not as precise as the scale, but it keeps me on track. What is it? I wear three pairs of pants (jeans) consistently. If I can wash and dry them on medium heat and not have to force myself into them when they come out, I'm on track. Even better if I can pull them down for a potty break without unbuttoning! Yes, my handy pants gauge saves me in a pickle! ;) Haha!

My results have been slow in this, the last month of Nutrisystem. But, 0.2 DOWN is better than nothing. It's still losing. I'm totally sad that I only have one month left of this adventure, but I can say it really has already changed my life. Here is how:

5. My undies from 'before' could be a top by way most of today's youth standards in covered to exposed skin ratio. Not a good thing.

4. Even on a 'splurge' day where I eat off plan for a supper meal, my mother notes: "I've really noticed how you've cut back on portions compared to before!" (This after I had been feeling guilty about totally cutting loose...)

3. "Mama, why your belly so big?" A quote from my now three year old that makes me keep going, keep trying, and keep losing the weight.

2. Feeling able and willing to PLAY again. With my child, with my pets, with my husband... I smile for no reason sometimes and I love that feeling. The old me is coming back!

1. I no longer have symptoms of Pre-diabetes. I am running again. I am hoping to conceive kiddo #2 in 2014 and have a healthy pregnancy. Things are looking up.

Thanks Nutrisystem!

Under the Rainbow Event

Welcome to the [2nd annual] Under the Rainbow Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.

Who doesn't love finding gold under the rainbow? I've joined with a group of bloggers who will be offering great prizes for you, just waiting to be found under the rainbow! So, hop along to all in the giveaway hop linky below to find your gold! While you're hopping, don't forget to enter to win the Grand Prize! Someone will find gold in the form of a $200 Gift Certificate to The Vintage Pearl!

Good luck! Here is the prize package entry form for Adventures of Mommyhood: it includes EZ Paint, Build-a-Bear Palace Pet, Her Interactive (Nancy Drew) Games, Get Ya Life Kits, Nordic Naturals and a Wearever Mattress Pad with wings!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DisclaimerSo Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, Adventures of Mommyhood and the Under the Rainbow participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.
Disclosure: Adventures of Mommyhood may have received promotional review items; if so they are noted in the individual spotlights.

#SpringFitness ~ Spring Into Fitness Event

It's time for the Spring Into Fitness Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mama and Brittleby's Corner through the Green Moms Network! Each of the participating blogs is offering a prize package to help you get ready to "spring" into a new fitness routine. After entering my giveaway, be sure to hop around and enter all of the other giveaways listed on the linky at the bottom of this post!

My giveaway consists of great gear from Hi-Tec USA, running sleeves for races by Groovy Baby Action Gear, Sweat Pink Shoelaces, inspirational words in the form of the book Buddhist Bootcamp, a foam roller for muscle therapy from Gaiam, and a Hoo-Rag to keep you glowing but not gushing with sweat as you work out to reach your fitness goals this spring!

Spring Into Fitness Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will run through March 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm PST (11:59 pm EST). The winner will be chosen the following day and announced on Adventures of Mommyhood. No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win. The sponsors provided me with free samples of these products to review, and I was under no obligation to review them if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Adventures of Mommyhood and not to Facebook. Please note that Adventures of Mommyhood, Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mama, Brittleby's Corner, the Green Moms Network and the Spring Into Fitness event bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Fountain of Youth. And Immunity. And Health. And So Much More!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about water. This is one of the obstacles I've done poorly with on my new Nutrisystem lifestyle. It's something that is important to any nutrition plan though. No matter if you are Kikkan Randall or someone like me, or in between...water is something everyone needs and so few of us drink enough of!

I've been trying so hard putting in some effort in regard to drinking water. Most days, if I drink a full 24 oz. water bottle, that's a good day. I've gotten better, true, now I'm up to about two of those bottles -- nearly all the way to the minimum recommended intake of water daily.

How are you at drinking water? 

I tried writing the time on the water bottle instead of the ounces and paying attention to that. BUT for a woman that lives by a toddlers' rhythms rather than the clock, it did little good.

The good news is that THE SHAKES ARRIVED! Thank goodness, too! Not a moment too soon! I actually gained a pound this week and having my shakes back and trying to drink more water is my strategy. However, I have lost about 6% body fat and I am noticing that I can pull my jeans off without unbuttoning them! A size large shirt is fitting me more flatteringly. Oh, and this is a good one --- if I squat down to grab something, my undies stay about halfway down my bum -- the jeans stay in place, thankfully. But, I'm left with an awkward nudge and shake to try to coax my undies back up. Time to shop!

It's been about three weeks since we moved (goodbye treadmill) and I'm feeling the effects. Since spring has not yet sprung in the north country, I'm trying every way possible to get in 'more steps' each day. I put in my application to the local YMCA, so soon, I'll be running again (with childcare) and before you now it, I'll be outside running again!

So, it is with these goals in mind that I start my LAST month on the Nutrisystem diet. I'm feeling a little sad!

*I received a complimentary meal plan in return for my participation in this campaign. I was compensated in no other way. All opinions are 100% my own.*

Groovy Baby Action Gear Racing Sleeves ~ Arm Candy For Runners #SpringFitness

The spring thaw has begun -- as an attempt to spring into fitness, I've been searching out and signing up for some races. This has been the ultimate way that I have found to force accountability upon myself! No one wants to be a slug on race day and most times you pay a small entry fee, so it's good incentive to keep those practice runs going!

You know what else is a great incentive? Dressing the part. There are so many 'event' and 'themed' runs now that I daresay you could feel like it's Halloween year around! No one just runs in sweaty gym socks and a t-shirt these days -- why should you?! (Okay...confession...I do still wear the old workout duds shamelessly, but I feel better about myself when I don't look so slovenly!)

The trick? Find great entrepreneurs like Katie of Groovy Baby Action Gear! She crafts, sells and field tests her racing costuming gear. It's just plain fun to look around her Etsy shop but it's also going to be a blast to sport my "Anna" racing arm sleeves from Frozen! I cannot even imagine how many Frozen-themed costumes we'll be seeing in the 'normal' circuits, but if you were to do a Disney Princess run, I'd think that this would complete the "Anna" look like no one's business! Not only are arm sleeves functional they give you that princess appeal -- Cinderella always had her long-sleeved gloves! So, if you're in the market for a Disney Princess Run, you'd better order now!

Awesome features:

Katie doesn't just stock XS and S for the buff and trim. She has L and XL for folks like me that are getting back on the band wagon after a hiatus. There are mediums too, since I notice I skipped right over those. My point is: she's got your size. I ordered the Large size anticipating some weight loss as I run. I'm super happy with the fit. They slide on easy but stay in place. Did I mention the thumb loops? Thumb loops are one of the best things in life as far as I'm concerned!

One reader is going to be able to Spring Into Fitness in style with a pair of green shamrock arm sleeves!

Enter here and make sure to head over to Groovy Baby on Facebook to keep up with the action!

HannaMax Baking ~ Cookie Chips

HannahMax Baking = YUMMO!

These things look and taste like a cookie but eat like a chip. That's what the package says. That is unfortunately for my diet very true! But, the good news is that because these delectable cookies are thin and crispy but big in crunch and full of flavor, you can eat a handful and it's only about 100 calories! Talk about a diet-friendly dessert! (The problem for me is they are SO good I want the whole bag!)

I got to try all of the flavors. Yep. All of them. I had to be super careful, because I'm on Nutrisystem and this is clearly off-plan. I was tempted. Over and over. But, the cookie crisps are so light and easy to work off that I didn't see a difference in my weight while field testing these delicious morsels! 

There are: 

- Chocolate Chip
- Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Original
- Salted Peanut Butter

They are all fantastic. If I had a most fave it would be the Chocolate Chip. Least? If I had to. HAD to choose it would be cinnamon sugar -- the flavor is great, but I'm not a huge fan to begin with. That didn't stop me from eating them though!

Confession: I had to go out and buy ANOTHER bag of the Chocolate Chip flavor. I ate them all and hadn't taken any photos. Any excuse for more, right? So, go get some. Walmart is where I was able to find them easiest, but make sure to look in the Organic section AND the cookie section of your local grocery store -- I've seen them in both places!

Here are all five flavors all lined up and ready to be eaten! One reader will win a sampler package of their own, to indulge in each and every kind of Hannah Max Baking yumminess! It's like heaven in cookie form.

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for this post. No other compensation was received.*

Let's Mix It Up In March #MixItUp

Welcome to the Let's Mix It Up in March Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by The Blogging Mamas Network. We're mixing up March, with a host of other bloggers, by bringing you fun (and in some cases delicious) giveaways in this Food and Cooking themed Giveaway Hop!
And you do not want to miss the Grand Prize - a Ninja Ultima Blender - be sure to enter to win the Grand Prize!

Check out the Grand Prize here

My giveaway consists of some foodie fun: HannahMax Baking Cookie Chips (they seriously eat like a chip but taste like a cookie!), Leafware (biodegradable dinnerware), a book to read while you indulge that ironically is part of the Chicken Soup series, and some Omega Boost to put in your smoothies -- particularly helpful and fun if you win my prize AND the Grand Prize! Good luck! Enter on the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heart Healthy Happiness + Recipes

*Sponsored Post*

I'm freshly showered from my FAMILY workout! You heard me! We ventured out in the balmy pre-spring weather (45 degrees is pretty dang nice after the deep freeze!) and we got on our skis. We made about two miles, sweating and sliding, pushing and gliding all the while smiling and working out. This is one of our favorite ways to stay heart healthy in the winter. We're an outdoors family, so anything we can do outside keeps us happy! Anything we can do that is active keeps us healthy. It's a lovely way to live!

I worry occasionally about heart health--having issues on my paternal side of the genetic tree, but doing small things to help combat my odds of developing problems makes me feel proactive and a lot more positive about my outlook. (It happens to be good so far!)

What does your family do to be heart healthy? Do you exercise together? Eat well? 

Save while shopping with these savvy saver coupons!

Here are some recipe faves from our home to yours:

Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Slow-Cooked Chicken & Butternut Squash

Creamy Turkey & Vegetable Lasagna

Pizza Primavera with Cauliflower Crust

Pork Medallions with Spinach & Barley

*Sponsored Post*

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Multi-tasking Moms

Here is a fun book that I think every mom can relate to, fresh off the press from Chicken Soup for the Soul called "The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide." Think it might come in handy? I thought so!

Between practices, lessons, lunches, appointments, play time, nap time, and some snuggles, a mom can be a pretty busy gal. There are those that hold full-time jobs and those that have several kiddos. Moms are different in many ways but we can all come together and empathize on the multi-tasking bit. And, any help is always welcome. I cannot wait to read this one!

This book does not go on sale until March 18th, but the kind folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul wanted to give copies to THREE lucky readers! You can win one from the Under the Rainbow event as well as the Spring Into Fitness event. I will announce the third opportunity very soon!

*This is a sponsored post. I am a member of the Souper Bloggers and I may receive promotional items or review products from time to time for posting this type of content. All opinions are my own and I am not compensated in any other way.*

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Literally!

Recently I had the distinct and delectable pleasure of trying out something relatively new from the Chicken Soup for the Soul folks -- actual Chicken Soup! This was a real treat for me since 1) I love chicken noodle soup, 2) I'm exceedingly picky, and 3) I love trying new foods even though I'm picky!

Not only can you get chicken noodle soup from the Chicken Soup for the Soul website, it's been introduced to several retailers across the U.S. There are now eight different soups to choose from as well as other comfort foods!

So, while your curling up with your newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, you can now warm your soul and your belly at the same time! I was very pleasantly surprised since I'm so crazy when it comes to what I eat. I also like to "mush up" about 1/2 of a tube of crackers into my soup. My husband calls it slop instead of soup at that point -- I couldn't be more overjoyed that my son also enjoys slop!

Do you have strange soup stories?

Here is my old chicken noodle soup in a side-by-side comparison to the new Chicken Soup for the Soul chicken noodle soup.

Which do you think is the Chicken Soup for the Soul variety? Which would you rather eat?

I can tell you this: I love both. The bottom is my old stand by. A comfort food if you will. I normally do not like any of the 'extras' in soups like vegetables or chicken. I like broth + noodles when it comes to my chicken soup! But, with the top picture, which is of course the Chicken Soup for the Soul version, I have to admit I pick out the celery. But, I realize, most soup eaters like those hearty additions. The flavor is good, just a little creamier than a chicken broth and the noodles are nice and thick. I can definitely say this too is a comfort food! My first impression of this new line is scrumptious!

Check out the Chicken Soup for the Soul site to see if there is a retailer near you and try some of the new line today -- for lunch! Winter is still upon us for a little longer so cuddle up with some soup and slurp away the rest of the snow and cold!

*This is a collaborative partnership. I received a complimentary sample of Chicken Soup for this post. All opinions are my own. Do not use pictures or text without express permission from the owner on this site.*

Small Town Tradition, Big City Style ~ Grand March

For high schoolers where I grew up, the "Grand March" was a public event that left students pulling out all the stops to impress the crowd. As a young girl I remember attending the event with my mother and cousins and thinking how cool and pretty the older girls were. I thought my time in the limelight would never come -- after all, the upperclassmen in the high school were SO much older than me! Thinking back, I cannot believe how fast time has flown by! I still have fond memories of the occasions that I was part of the Grand March. I hope to attend one again during an early May pilgrimage back to my hometown some year soon.

This dress is very similar to my first flounce down the walk with my escort being a friend and classmate that I'd shared many laughs with. Both of us were in the 7th grade and we were of course nervous, being punch servers at the Senior Prom. We got to be at the dance but did not attend the post-prom party. The dress has been re-homed, many years ago actually, but my memories of it and the night I wore it are crystal clear!

Fast forward about four years and from behind the curtain in the gymnasium of my high school, I emerge wearing my most extravagant number and one that I really did fall in love with. I attended prom that year with my high school sweetheart and I remember everything about the night being wonderful. Splendid. Perfect. I really felt like Cinderella and when I walked out to Louie crooning "What a Wonderful World" I let the words float me down the aisle. It's amazing how getting dolled up can give you the confidence to strut down a runway in a veritable wonderland. I've never been shy, some might even say I was a ham, but when I was all dressed up in my gown I felt like I was a Disney Princess, fresh off the pages of a fairy tale. Several spectators of the event approached me later and told me how great the dress was, how beautiful I looked. The Grand March is a community gathering steeped in tradition and full of complimentary kindness. This tradition is one I hope never fades away.

This dress is very similar to the one I wore, except mine had a halter neckline with a slight mock collar and was made of iridescent denim with bead work on the bodice. An empire waist is always a favorite for me! My dress is still hanging next to my wedding gown in my closet. I'm not one to keep things that have no purpose most times, but I just cannot part with this dress, it seems memories are woven through each stitch.

My final walk down the shimmering be-glittered aisle around paper mache palm trees and pastel balloons, while hearing Shakira of all things, playing through the sound system was to be made wearing a simple yet very "grown-up" gown that showed off my now nearly adult figure in an understated way. I felt more sophisticated and I wanted to look demure but still feel beautiful. I feel like I succeeded. As you might have already read in a prior post about prom reminiscence, that night was a short one for me. Because of this impromptu end to my evening before it had really begun, I am grateful for the Grand March. It's really the 'big event' as the prom goes -- many change out of their dresses before the dance is even over -- having chosen very uncomfortable styles or heavy layered numbers. My fabulous dress got to be in the spotlight, if only for a little while, but made a great impression on the crowd.

I ended up in a lovely dress similar to the one above, but in more of a bluish-purple iridescent color. I loved having all eyes on me -- something I never thought I'd enjoy, especially in full dressed-up regalia, since I'm mostly a tomboy at heart. But, on that one special night, for the townspeople that had gathered, it was almost like the Oscars or the Academy Awards had come to our small town. JJs House has a large selection of dresses for every occasion and I had a really fun time enjoying a blast from the past looking for dresses on the market today that look a good deal like something I wore when it was my turn to take the walk. 

What did you wear to prom? Was it something you'd wear yet today? Does your hometown do a ceremony of some kind for prom-goers to shine?

*This is a sponsored partnership with JJ's House. All opinions are my own and are 100% honest.*

Not-So Fat Tuesday with #NSNation!

You can celebrate Fat Tuesday and the Mardi Gras fun just like everyone else -- in a not so fat way! Nutrisystem has a fantastic lunch item that is rather festive and tasty for this time of year!!

Are you a fan of Red Beans and Rice? I totally am. I'm a bean lover, much to my families' dismay! The Red Beans and Rice from the Lunch Options that Nutrisystem offers are delish! Here is a stock photo, courtesy of the Nutrisystem website:

So party hard and eat smart -- Red Beans and Rice will let you be festive but still stay on track! I used a stock photo because I plan to be festive and eat this lunch on Fat Tuesday! There are a few slices of chicken andouille sausage in the packet and you can delight in the fact that it contains only 170 spicy calories!

I think the perfect pairing with this lunch item is to add a sliced cucumber (to help cleanse your palate if you're like me and ketsup is spicy!) For dessert? A few mango chunks! Yum!

You too can indulge while losing weight -- check out what Nutrisystem can do for YOU today!

*I am a Nutrisystem Nation blogger. I receive a complimentary food program for my participation. I am compensated in no other way and all of my opinions are my own.*

Nancy Drew Games by Her Interactive

Who doesn't remember the Nancy Drew series from their youth? There was practically a line like the wee hours of Black Friday in the library for the popular tween series and I was admittedly among them. As an adult, I have recently watched the Nancy Drew movie, from back in 2007. It was kind of cute and I did enjoy it -- it was one of those movies I got at nap time, while my husband wouldn't have to endure my quirky tastes!

Here is a borrowed image from the White Wolf of Icicle Creek game, illustrating the super fun snowball fight scene along with the chance to go ice fishing for some tasty freshwater fish like Northern Pike!

I have found a new addiction though. I've always been a lover of mysteries. Her Interactive has a line of fun games for your computer that revolve around Nancy Drew at her finest. In one game she even pairs with the Hardy Boys! I played the White Wolf of Icicle Creek and became hooked. I would stay up into the wee hours, flipping quesadillas and searing salmon in the kitchen of the lodge. Just as my eyes were drooping, I'd find a new clue--a mysterious note or a shred of fabric. For the Under the Rainbow event and for a lucky reader, I've got a few games for you to try to win!

Here is what the Her Interactive website has to say about White Wolf:
"Nancy Drew travels to the Canadian Rockies to investigate the Icicle Creek Lodge. Chantal, the owner of the lodge has asked her to uncover the culprit behind a recent string of suspicious accidents. A wolf also appears at the site of accidents and then mysteriously disappears when the police arrive. As Nancy makes her way to the lodge, an explosion rocks the night. A wolf howls mournfully in the distance. Nancy has barely set foot on the premises and already trouble is afoot! Can Nancy solve this mystery before all the guests leave and Chantal is left out in the cold?"
I know, it sounds silly, but it was an incredibly enjoyable escape! Much like a good book! The setting (being outdoorsy and at a ski lodge in the mountains of Canada) was really appealing to me and I have to admit, the white wolf looked a bit like my old Great Pyrenees. I thought about the "seek and find/hidden object" style games that had bored me to tears and nearly put the game back... I'm so glad that I made that 'frivolous' purchase for myself!

Here is a screenshot from the Mystery of the Crystal Skull game, which I am just mere steps away from solving right now! I had a great deal of help from not only Ned but also the vast community of gamers and fellow sleuths on the Her Interactive Community Message boards.

The game was two-for-one -- I also go the Mystery of the Crystal Skull. I have to disclose the game (on the junior setting--senior is an option too, but I cannot imagine the difficulty there!) was really hard for me to figure out! I love that you can call Ned and interact with others for hints and help -- without it, I'd still be hunting hopelessly! From Canada to the Louisiana bayous, Nancy Drew takes you on an adventure from the comfort of wherever it is you do your computer work. For me, that's anywhere from the driver's seat of my car to my bed at night!

Now, I'm going to be trying The Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, The Secret of Shadow Ranch, The Silent Spy, and the Ghost of Thornton Hall. I'm so excited! Here is a stock photo of screenshots from the Silent Spy game -- I'm so excited to get into this one! The graphics look really fun!

Here is a plot excerpt from the Her Interactive website about The Silent Spy:
"Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident. Or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it's up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother's tragic demise."
 I think this plot sounds tantalizing and I cannot wait to try out one of the 'newer' era Nancy Games! I love the detail in the settings and her predicaments are always very genuine. Unlike the books, I am finding that the whodunit figuring is not as easy as putting in a new name and setting, following the same basic plot like the books followed a lot of the time! Even the older games have really good graphics and as the player you "are Nancy" -- playing from a 1st person point of view. When Nancy walks through the snowy powder, you feel like you are out on a brisk winter walk!

I know I'm sounding a little crazy. How can a grown mama be so into these games, right? They really test your wits and it's as good as my morning coffee! I would occasionally get excited for bedtime for the bambino so that mama could play her game! Some people like watching The Good Wife, I like my Nancy Drew!

Here are some screenshots from the Her Interactive website to give you a glimpse at the fun in store when you play a Nancy Drew game! These in particular are from Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake.

Here is a plot excerpt from The Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake:
"You, as Nancy Drew, must pick up the cold trail left by a notorious gangster who once lived in the lakeside cabin recently purchased by Nancy's friend. Are the ghostly legends true, or is there a flesh and blood answer to the dogs' haunting howls? Decipher cryptic puzzles, search through shadowy woods, creepy old houses, interview suspicious characters, and dodge danger to sniff out the truth behind local legends to solve the mystery in Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake."
Someone will be winning a few of these awesome games for their own little gamer escape! Her Interactive is a super sponsor for the Under the Rainbow giveaway, going on now! You can also purchase any of the games I've mentioned as well as all of the other Nancy Drew games, strategy guides, books, soundtracks and more on the Her Interactive website. Make sure to keep up on Facebook and Pinterest too! Good luck!

Stay tuned for the next installment when I will tell you a bit about The Silent Spy and The Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake -- I will also introduce the other two titles I'll be telling you about -- The Secret of Shadow Ranch and the Ghost of Thornton Hall!

** Disclosure: The fine folks at Her Interactive has supplied me with some complimentary games to facilitate these posts and reviews for you. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own. **

Build-a-Bear Workshop Presents: Palace Pets! Friends fit for Royalty!

I need to start by saying though Disney princess related things are generally marketed toward girls...why not give them to your little boy? I've always let my kiddo choose what he's going to like and dislike and he happens to like getting his nails painted, Disney Princesses, and riding four wheeler. He also likes hunting and lots of very solidly "boy" things.

So, he was thrilled to see this little box waiting for him one day when we got home. He knows the box well as Pumpkin (pictured below) is his third lovie from Build-a-Bear. He cannot get enough of these plush pals!

Disney Palace Pets are a new line from Build-a-Bear and are adorable and can be purchased plain or adorned with the crown jewels and accessories fit for a ball. If you didn't know, Pumpkin is Princess Cinderella's pup. Her friend Treasure is Princess Ariel's royal furry friend and is an equally cool Palace Pet!

You can get both of these beautiful Palace Pets from Build-a-Bear Workshop!

Pumpkin loves her Blue Sparkle dress and matching blue bow along with her Silver Gem flats to dance the night away at the Royal Ball. She also has a pretty tiara and collar/necklace with a blue gem to complete her look and catch the eye of the other pups at the palace party! 

Imagine the look on your little one's face when you are watching The Little Mermaid or Cinderella -- each pet resembles their loving master (notice the name Pumpkin is reminiscent of Cinderella's preferred method of transportation and Pumpkin's accessories are all the dazzling blue of Cinderella's own stylings!) Ariel has the same fiery hair as her kitty cat and Treasure the cat has very "Under the Sea" themed accessories! You can meet all the princesses and their Palace pets and find fun apps and other activities to make your kiddos' new furry friend really come alive!

You can win a Bear Buck$ gift card worth $25.00 to spend on a Palace Pet of your very own (or something else that tickles your fancy from BABW)! They are a super sponsor for the Under the Rainbow giveaway, going on now! You can also purchase a Palace Pet starting at $25.00 for the animal only and $66.00 for the Palace Pet in all their royal dressed-up glory from the BABW website. Make sure to keep up on Facebook and Twitter too! Good luck!

*I was provided a complimentary Palace Pet for this review. I was not compensated in any other way.*

EZ Paint: Spillproof Fun for Kids, Worry-free for Moms!

My kid loves to do "crafts." He asks to do something crafty everyday. I do NOT complain about this. I love to get crafty too! But some days, I REALLY need to get things done. Since with nearly every painting project (except in the bathtub) I need to supervise so that it's not too messy, and even then it's STILL in the tub, so I have to supervise for obvious safety issues! With EZ Paint I can actually step away to answer the phone or wash a few dishes and not worry that my child will be painting the table, countertop, drinking the paint or any number of other paint + child hazards. Nope! EZ Paint is spill-proof. It really is!

There are several different creating kits that can get your child on his or her way to artistic and mess-free fun! The jars of paint are similar to nail polish. The lid is attached to the paintbrush and screws onto the jar. The differences? There are no fumes -- a big bonus -- and I've spilled nail polish before. I tipped these puppies over and they do not spill!

Here is a glimpse at the cool colors of the deluxe kit. Now I'm not a horrible mama - messes aren't my ONLY concern. They aren't even my number one concern -- obviously I really need to have a safe option for my child. EZ Paint is non-toxic and the fact that it doesn't spill like other tubs of paint make it harder for your child to ingest anyway!

The advisory on the website and the product says for ages 3 - 103 but I have to confess, my child started using EZ Paint BEFORE he was three and it was totally appropriate *for him.* 

The next really convenient and creatively cool aspect of EZ Paint sets is that they come with cards to paint! Fun, pretty unisex designs take away the hassle of looking for paper or some other surface that you don't mind having paint grace! You can essentially throw the whole kid in your purse (they only take up about as much space as a checkbook-style wallet) and bring it along to the restaurant or doctor's office! 

You can win your own set of EZ Paints! They are a super sponsor for the Under the Rainbow giveaway, going on now! You can also purchase a kit starting at $9.99 and up from the EZ Paint website. Make sure to keep up on Facebook and Pinterest too! Good luck!

*I was provided a complimentary EZ Paint kit for this review. I was not compensated in any other way.*