I was so humbled and excited to receive the news that Diamonds over at Sex.e.Mamas thought I deserved the Versatile Blogger Award. (Okay. Now I have to say before I go any further that I totally just butchered her site name. It is *supposed* to have a line over the "e" and the periods between the words is supposed to be higher, almost like a hyphen, but not a hyphen...But I am not cool enough to know how to do that, so this was my best attempt!) Anyway, I LOVE her blog, and you should go and check her out! She is bringing sexy back, one mama at a time! She also has amazing fashion sense, and can strike a pose like no other! Who says motherhood can't be sexy? You can rock the stroller AND the stilettos! Thank you, Diamonds!
I am always very humbled when I receive awards from other bloggers. I am just a little fish in a great big sea in the bloggy world, and it is always nice to recognize other blogs for their content and talent.
The rules after accepting this award:
I LOVE these blogs, and think they are very deserving of this award! Hope you'll check them out, too!
Now here's another one that's great for all the mamas with babies who like pampering their little ones with only the highest quality, tried-and-true, top of the line, eco-friendly baby products. I know I love decking my babies out in the cutest outfits and cloth diapers. There is nothing better than a little squirt with an adorable fluff butt! I also love using products that make my life as a mom easier, all while reducing the carbon footprint of my family.
I would love to introduce you to the next sponsor for my Mad About Mama Mother's Day event! Sandbox Lane is a one-stop shop for all of your eco-friendly baby needs. They carry everything from only the BEST cloth diapers, like Bum Genius and FuzziBunz, and they are one of the few retailers I know of that carry DryBees, a company that makes a phenomenal overnight diaper! They also carry Wahmies wet bags, which I hear are great although I have not had the pleasure of trying them myself. Sandbox Lane is also an authorized Rockin Green retailer. I LOVE Rockin Green. If you haven't tried it yourself, you definitely should!
But that's not all! Sandbox Lane has a HUGE selection of eco-friendly feeding products, like baby food mills, bowls, cups and cutlery made from organic bamboo and natural plant fibers, and they even have BPA Free bottles and sippy cups!
I received an adorable set for review that included a Zee Spot Organic Onesie and my favorite thing in the world besides fluff, BABY LEGS!
I love the Zee Spot Organic Onesie I received. It is soft, durable, and made of a high quality cotton. Not the thin, scratchy cotton you find occasionally in cheap onesies. Even after several washes, it has retained its softness and shape, and shows no signs of pilling. Here is some info about these great baby basics:
Onezees are made from 100% Skal-certified organic cotton of 190 gm interlock, combed for softness and comfort.
Our onezees are silky soft! But wait, there's more...
* designed for easy on-and-off (envelope neckline)
* dyed with non-toxic azo-free dyes
* stylish cut, suitable for both boys and girls
* 3/8" (2cm) neck and sleeve binding
* durable double-stitched bottom hem
* nickel-free snaps
And if you haven't fallen in love with BabyLegs yet, you MUST try them! They come in many different designs for both boys and girls, and even come in newborn sizes for the itty-bittiest of legs! These are awesome because not only are they adorable, they also make diaper changes a breeze. No struggling with snaps, which comes in very helpful of you have a wiggly baby! These look great with just a tee or onesie, and can also be worn under dresses! BabyLegs can be used as arm warmers, too! I am addicted to BabyLegs!
Just look at my little Sophie-Monster rockin' this cute combo from Sandbox Lane!
Doesn't she look cute?! And if she looks distracted, it's because she is hooked on TV like her daddy and was intently watching The Goodnight Show on Sprout,lol...I couldn't get her to look at the camera to save my life!
I just love the quality and cutesy-factor of these items. And as a mom, I can feel good about making purchases from Sandbox Lane since I know I am providing my babies with only the best, eco-friendly products that are made to last.
f that wasn't enough incentive to rush on over to Sandbox Lane, there is so much more! They also carry the softest swaddle blankets from Aden+Anais, and even Green Sprouts gift sets for that expectant mama!
AND THAT'S NOT ALL! You should head on over to Sandbox Lane and see for yourself what other treasures you can find. They have a wonderful inventory, and have something to please any green mama! I am so excited to let you all know that the generous folks over at Sandbox Lane will be offering one of my lovely readers a $20.00 gift certificate to their shop! That can get you some clothes, toys, BabyLegs, or even a cloth diaper!
You can find all these great products and more at Sandbox Lane's website.
For a limited time, they are offering my readers 10% off of everything! (excluding bumGenius, flip, and econobum products)
Just use the code NCM2011 at checkout for these savings!
They also have an awesome discount program for reviews of their products. For every review that is written on their website, they will credit the member's account 50¢, up to $5.00 their next order. It's their way of giving back and letting their members have their voices are heard!
One lucky follower will be getting a $20.00 Gift Certificate from Sandbox Lane!
I am using a Google doc form for this contest, but feel free to leave a comment to remind yourself that you entered.
This giveaway will be open until 11:59PM EST on May 8, 2011. Winner will be chosen using random.org and will be announced on this website and e-mailed. They will then have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize, or else I will have to draw another winner. Thanks for entering, and good luck!
***Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and my opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
I cannot wait for Easter this year! We will be spending the morning with my husband's family out in a tiny mountain town in Maryland, just like we did last year, for a fun Easter brunch. It is a couple of hours away from us, but the drive is beautiful, especially this time of year. I just love it when you can see the evidence of spring around you, and bid adieu to nasty, cold winter weather!
This year will be special, because that side of the family will be meeting our newest addition, Xander, for the very first time. Last year they met Sophie for the first time at Easter as well. (Yes, my 2 youngest kids are 12 months apart!) We have a wonderful time whenever we see them. There is always laughter, joking, and tons of wonderful and delicious food. His family is a blast to be around, too. Everyone is so laid-back and casual. My husband's grandma even chased around her adult grandchildren and blew bubbles at them! Needless to say, it's always a wonderful time, and we are looking forward to our day trip this year!
After we eat a fabulous brunch, we will be heading home. I will then prepare our Easter dinner. This year, I will be making Coca-Cola glazed ham! Yes, Coke is good in food, too! Bet you thought it was just a nice, refreshing beverage. Not so, my friends! I have used Coca-Cola to make several dishes in the past...From cakes to BBQ sauces to pork chops, chicken, and even ham! It lends a very nice flavor that helps bring out and enhance the natural flavors in the foods.
Preparing a ham is an Easter tradition we like to uphold every year. I love the way my house smells while the ham is cooking. Yum! My oldest will be helping me glaze the ham and prepare the sides this year, which he is very excited about. Of course, the hubby will have carving honors, since hacking into meat is something he enjoys doing. Must be a guy thing,lol
And of course, I love sitting down and enjoying a good meal and fun conversation with the people I love more than anything in the world. It's hard to enjoy a nice, big family feast nowadays, since everyone has busy schedules and activities. For us, Easter is one of the few days we can just relax, talk, and be a family without worrying about deadlines, homework, jobs, etc...
Here is the recipe I will be using. I may have to leave out the pineapple, though, since it aggravates my reflux. I don't want to spend all night with awful heartburn!
What do you do to create happy memories with your families? I'd love to hear about them! I'd also love to hear about your favorite Coca-Cola recipes!
***Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Coca-Cola® blogging program. If I am one of the first 100 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 gift card. For more information on the program, click here. ***
First ladies, let me tell you that Michelle, the owner and founder of Blended Naturals has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a beautiful lady, inside and out! I am excited to announce that Michelle has generously donated 2 wonderful prizes for one of my readers in celebration of my Mad About Mama Mother's Day event. Let me tell you these products smell absolutely heavenly! So good, in fact, that I may just have to order several for myself! I would bathe in this stuff if I could! But I have an odd obsession with always smelling good and feeling soft. Seriously. Any of my friends in real life will attest to the fact that I probably own more "girly" products than anyone has a right to.... My products have taken over the space underneath 3 sinks, plus I have a linen closet full, as well as a bookshelf that is now literally a bath, beauty, and cosmetic shelf! And while my obsession with these types of products may be more than a tad out of control, I know that I am not alone in the desire to only use the BEST products for my face and body. I love products with tons of natural ingredients that nourish my skin, and the products MUST smell good, too!
Although Blended Naturals is geared primarily towards women of color, (African American, Indian, Native American, or Hispanic descent) and the unique skin care challenges they face, I truly believe that these are products that would benefit ANY woman and keep her looking and feeling her best. I consider myself Caucasian, but I DO have an olive complexion, thanks to the fact that while I am basically a European "mutt" of sorts, I am primarily Hungarian and Croatian. I have dark eyes, dark hair, and a year round tan. If I weren't so conscious of protecting my skin with sun-block and other UV protection, in the summer, I would get extremely dark. However, it is fake bake all the way for this mama, as I do not want to damage my skin and prematurely age, let alone invite skin cancer!
Anyway, enough about me. I want to talk more about the Blended Naturals line of bath and beauty products. Like I said before, these products are geared towards women of color. I know I have several readers out there that fit this description, so I jumped at the chance to include this line in my event. But please, my fellow Caucasian mamas, don't let this deter you! These products are luxurious, moisturizing, and smell better than most other similar products I have encountered. (And I have encountered HUNDREDS of them!) I have spent a lot of time at the Blended Natural's website, and I was blown away by the vast amount of information available there! Michelle has created not only an online store, but a one-stop "Beauty Bible" with everything from recipes for homemade beauty treatments that can save you time and money, to a huge amount of information about various skin conditions IN PLAIN ENGLISH, and different ways you can treat them naturally, safely, and effectively. She also has articles addressing different additives found in many skin care products and the dangers associated with them, how to improve acne with dietary changes, home remedies for sunburns, even a glossary of definitions of words commonly used in the cosmetic industry, free E-books, as well as TONS of tricks and tips to help you always put your best face forward and look and feel your best! Michelle even has a downloadable Beauty Guide for free with subscription to her newsletter!
Also on the website you will find many wonderful products that Michelle has lovingly created with your unique skin care needs in mind. And ALL of the Blended Naturals products contain essential oils that feel great on the skin and smell AMAZING. (I cannot stress the smell enough, ladies!) Also, every ingredient found in these products are free of harsh, skin damaging chemicals and all have names you can actually pronounce! And let's face it...If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be putting it on your skin!
Blended Naturals offers a myriad of specialized ethnic skin care products aimed towards many different skin types that combat many different skin problems. Here are just some of the categories Blended Naturals offers products in:
Aren't you excited about the giveaway now, after reading all about Michelle and her wonderful product line? I know I am! And I am going to be giving one very lucky reader TWO products of their own to try!
Here is what you can win:
Sweet Cocoa Butter Cream - Exotic Almond
Exotic almond added for balancing oily skin
Protect, soothe, and replenish your skin with nature's oldest friend. This sweet scented Cocoa Butter Cream penetrates deeply to help soften and smooth dry hands, feet, elbows, and stretch marks.
Dry skin and scars are moisturized to improve the appearance and texture of the skin while also preventing premature wrinkles.
Almond Essential Oil combined with the natural chocolate scent reminds you of a delicious chocolate bar! Almond Essential Oil also helps relieves itchy skin. Trust me ladies, you want this! It truly smells good enough to eat!
Organic Shea Lip Butter (In Butter Cream ONLY.)
For soft, kissable lips!
100% natural and non-waxy!
Super Moisturizes and Nourishes your dry or cracked lips in an instant with Organic Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut, Jojoba and more.
Available in Delicious tasting Mango, Juicy Apple, Pina Colada, Peppermint, Lemon and Butter Cream
Blended Naturals ethnic skin care products can be found at FreshRadiantSkin.com
Also be sure to check out Michelle's blog for tons of wonderful skin care and beauty tips and tricks!
One lucky follower will win:
Only ONE reader completed the early entries, so that person can feel free to leave a comment on this post for the extra entries and I will tally them into her form entries, should she enter the giveaway.
I will be offering an easy entry form for your convenience.
This giveaway will be open until 11:59PM on May 8, 2011. Winner will still be chosen using random.org, as entries are numbered in a spreadsheet format. Winner will be notified via e-mail and posted on my blog. They will have 48 hours to respond before I will redraw another winner. Good luck!
***Disclosure: I received sample products to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and my opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Out of 173 possible entries, random.org chose lucky number 49!
I am e-mailing you now, and you have 48 hours to reply and claim your prize. If I don't hear from you, I will have to choose another winner.
Thanks to all my "guinea pigs" who entered and helped show me what a contest run with a Google doc entry form was like. All in all, I am liking this format. It is much easier for my readers to enter, and the entries are numbered. (With my normal comment format, I had to count.) I still need to do some counting, but all in all, it makes selecting a winner less time consuming.
The only thing I DON'T like is that it does not offer readers a chance to know how many entrants there are. Most of my giveaways have 400 entries or less, depending on the prize offered. So regardless, the odds of winning are still very, very good, especially for those who take the time to complete the extra entries.
I think I will use Google docs for my Mother's Day event giveaways, and re-evaluate my stance once they close. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions. If there is an overwhelming desire to resume comment entries, I will of course honor that.
You may remember about a week ago in my Simple Green review and giveaway post, I mentioned I was making my fabulous and super-sinful baked potato soup that night. This is a dish I only make a few times a year, since it is SOOOOO bad for you. (But so darn good that it's worth it!) I have had a few inquiries about my recipe, and have even been asked for it by one of my lovely sponsors. Well, I always want to make my sponsors happy, so I have decided to share the recipe with you all! Keep in mind, this is NOT low-fat or low calorie. At all. In fact, your arteries may actually scream as you eat it. But don't worry, your arterial shrieking will be drowned out by the moans of satisfaction you're bound to make when eating this thick, rich, and cheesy soup It's actually more of a stew like consistency, not thin and watery like a lot of soups. So yeah. This is a heart attack in a bowl. But remember: Anything in moderation is fine. Why deprive yourself of an occasional treat?
This recipe will make a HUGE pot of soup. Enough to feed your whole family as a main dish AND still have leftovers for lunch the next day! It pairs very well with some crusty bread and a nice, light salad. Hey, you've gotta have something healthy in the mix to balance out all of the cheese, ham, bacon, butter and cream in this soup!
It does take some time to prepare, and it can be a messy recipe, since there is bacon involved, but it's well-worth the time and effort. If you happen to try it, please let me know how you like it! Oh! And if you DO end up making a bit of a mess in the kitchen, Original Concentrated Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner makes clean-up a cinch! I have an active giveaway for some right now...Go check it out by going to my "Current Giveaway" tab and enter to win some for yourself! Okay, enough shameless plugs. On to the recipe!
Brandy's Baked Potato Soup
The winner of my Yoplait Prize Pack is...
Amy, I am e-mailing you now. You have 48 hours to respond, or I will have to choose another winner.
Thanks to all who entered!
Oh, and if you haven't noticed, my Mad About Mama Event is now OPEN! I decided to start the giveaways a week or so early! I will be posting them every couple of days, so make sure to check my Current Giveaway tab for your chance to enter!
Also, for the event, I will be using Google doc forms for easier entries! I will still be using random.org to choose winners!
I was thrilled when I got the chance to work with this San Diego based company who strives to promote healthy, green living by providing wholesome, organic, and TASTY alternatives to candy and other not so healthy grab-and-go snacks. As a mom with way too much on my plate at times, I know how easy it can be to grab the quickest, easiest snack available when hunger calls.... I usually try my best to keep my diet healthy, but when I am out and about, this isn't always easy. I mean, I can't just carry a salad around in my purse when I am running errands or taking the kids to the pediatrician's office. And some of those so-called healthy snack bars are anything but! Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients in even that very popular fruit and cereal bar you find in the breakfast aisle? You know the bar I mean, but it shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, lol...Next time you're shopping, just take a look at how many ingredients are listed that you can't even pronounce. These ingredients are not organic, and are anything but natural. As a matter of fact, these bars and others like them contain very limited real nutritional value. They even include many fillers, like puffed whole wheat. Not that they're necessarily BAD for you. They're just full of...well, nothing. Fillers add weight to the bars and extend the product's yield, but they don't extend the important proteins and nutrients our bodies need as fuel.
The GoodOnYa Bar's founder, an Olympic athlete, Kris Fillat, recognized this problem and has created a truly organic, healthy snack bar that includes NO FILLERS of any kind, and utilizes only the highest quality raw and natural products, such as organic honey, flax seed, and Valencia peanuts. These bars may look smaller than some of their competitors, but they actually weigh MORE and provide a protein packed punch that will keep you going throughout your busy day.... Without having to grab a candy bar or stop at a fast food establishment. And did I mention, they taste GOOD?
Here are the flavors they currently offer:
The Breakfast Bar
In a word, amazing! The ingredients in this bar are so unique, and the nutritional profile so wonderful that we have to boast just a bit. We didn't set out to make a high fiber bar. We simply combined healthy superfoods that tasted great together. When we got the nutritional analysis back we were shocked. 28% of the daily recommended allowance of fiber in just one bar. Now we don't subscribe totally to the USDA food pyramid but we do know that unprocessed, live, organic foods are what we should be eating, so that's what we are about! You can buy Fruit Loops with added fiber! Yeah, right! And don't be afraid of the fat. Read the Fat vs. Sugar document, you will be happily surprised to know you don't have to skimp on your favorite foods! Obviously what we are doing in this country isn't working. It's time to rethink things! We have done that with our bars.
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
Well, seriously. It's peanut butter, it's chocolate, it's kind of a no brainer! However there are ways to make this classic combination right! Start with the best peanut butter in the world (see above), 70% dark chocolate, raw honey and now you are talking about a healthy version of what I dreamed of getting at every house on Halloween! Cold milled flax, sesame, vanilla.....we are not kidding around here, we care about what we are doing, and we care about you!
Peanut Butter Honey
The best peanut butter in the world comes from New Mexico. Valencia peanuts are smaller, sweeter, and they grow in a very dry climate. That means that the mold, aflatoxin, which is an allergen and a carcinogen, isn't present in out peanut butter. We love peanut butter and we know you love it, so we searched out the best! Combine that with raw, organic honey, flax and sesame, and you're in for one protein packed, tasty treat! It's time to love peanuts again. In fact, it's all about love!
I really enjoyed these bars. The first one I tried, naturally, was the breakfast bar. This was delicious, and tasted...well, like a good breakfast packed into one little bar! It has raisins, maple syrup, and even Brazil nuts, vanilla, and chocolate! It was tasty, and surprisingly filling for such a small bar. I have to admit, I am normally a breakfast-skipper, since I am not usually hungry early on in the day. This bar was perfect to give me the nutrients and energy my body needs to start the day. And I actually had energy!
The next bar I tried was the Peanut Butter Honey bar. Now, I am not usually a fan of peanut butter. I did not expect to like this bar at all. To my surprise, I DID like it! It didn't taste sickeningly sweet and over-processed like a lot of the jarred peanut butters that are commercially available. This bar was still sweet, but it was a cleaner, lighter sweetness. Probably due to the honey. It was much better than I expected, and again, very filling.
And last but certainly not least, there was the Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bar. I let my chocoholic hubby do the honors here! Dan is a junk food connoisseur, and I didn't expect him to like anything healthy. He can detect "health food" a mile away, and he generally runs the other direction as quickly as he can and grabs the nearest box of Nutter Bars! Guess what? He actually ate and LIKED this bar. He did say it's not the same as his usual candy bars, (duh!) but that it was still very appetizing and that he loved the chocolate and the peanuts used in this bar.
So overall, we really liked these bars, and think they made a great pick-me-up snack. After eating these bars, I felt good, and was energized. I didn't feel weighed-down or sluggish. I really think my body thanked me for eating such healthy, raw, organic ingredients. After all, the GoodOnYa Bar's motto is: Every Ingredient Matters. I totally concur!
You can buy the GoodOnYa Bar in all of it's yummy varieties at their website. They can also be found at several retail locations. Check out their store locator to see if they're available near you!
The generous folks at GoodOnYa Bar are offering one of my very lucky readers the opportunity to try ALL 3 varieties for themselves! That's right! ALL 3!
Please fill out your entries on this form. You only need to submit once. All necessary links are provided on the form for your convenience. This giveaway will end on May 8, 2011 at 11:59PM. Winner will be chosen using random.org and will be notified via e-mail. The winner will then have 48 hours to reply, or I will have to redraw.
FOR ANYONE WHO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE EARLY ENTRIES, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST LETTING ME KNOW. I WILL TAKE THESE ENTRIES INTO ACCOUNT WHEN COUNTING MY ENTRIES AT THE GIVEAWAY'S CONCLUSION!
***Disclosure: I received sample products to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are 100% honest, and have not been influenced in any way. Your opinion may differ.***
The winner of my CrunchyNYummy Organic Fruit Snacks giveaway is....
Rita, you will be receiving a prize pack with every single flavor! I am e-mailing you now. You've got 48 hours to claim your prize, or I will have to select another winner.
Thanks to everyone who entered! Please stay tuned for more giveaways with NEW easy entry forms! (Yay!)
Because I am toying with the idea of switching my giveaway entry method to a Google doc form, I would like to test this method to see how it works. What better way than with a GIVEAWAY!?
I am offering a $10.00 gift credit to EcoMom.com. They have a HUGE variety of eco-friendly products for the whole family! Some of my personal favorites include Plum Organics baby and toddler foods and Boon items!
So help a mama out and enter! If all goes smoothly, I may just change my entry method to one that is WAY more user friendly than leaving comment after comment after comment....
This giveaway will be a quickie, and will end at 11:59 PM EST on 4/12/2011. Winner will be chosen using Random.org. I will contact the winner via email, and they will have 48 hours to respond, or I will have to choose another.
***Disclosure: EcoMom has absolutely NO IDEA who I am. The giveaway prize is being provided by yours truly! This being the case, obviously my opinions have not been influenced in any way. Good luck!***
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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