I have some lucky winners to announce! You've all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to claim your prizes! Thanks to everyone who entered, and be sure to check out my current giveaways!
Kelly Ann T.
In my household, one thing tends to be lacking. Well, at least for this mom! The one thing I don't seem to get enough of is sleep. As a matter of fact, I often get only 2-3 hours of sleep per night. With the demands of the blog, the babies, my preteen, a marriage, and a house that doesn't magically clean itself, I often find myself running on empty. I get tired in the afternoons, and I even get nasty headaches on occasion that I am sure can be attributed to sleep deprivation. I seem to have a hard time falling asleep, since I am always waiting for a baby to cry. Or my mind will still be racing as I think about everything that needs to be planned for or chores that need to be done the following day. Being a mom is busy work! So really, it's no wonder that it can be a challenge to settle into a restful sleep every evening.
That's why when I discovered the SOUND+SLEEP Sleep Therapy System, I knew I wanted to try it. The SOUND+SLEEP is the perfect solution for those with sleep disorders, or those who just happen to need a little extra help dozing on occasion. It's even great for those with babies or small children who don't like going to sleep in an absolutely silent room.
Book: Real Moms Love to Eat by Beth Aldrich
Release: Will be available to the public in early January,2012.
Please visit RealMomsLoveToEat.com to pre-purchase the book for only $10.20, 32% off of the regular price. That's a GREAT price! Beth is currently running pre-launch book giveaways on the site the 1st and 15th of every month until launch. Be sure to run over and take advantage of this great price and awesome giveaway prizes! I am hoping to win some of the prizes, myself!
MY REVIEW (Warning: It gets REALLY personal):
As you all know, I LOVE to cook. As a matter of fact, cooking is one of my favorite things to do. I tend to make everything from scratch, and I must admit, I do not always make the healthiest dishes. Sometimes I will just be craving certain comfort foods, like homemade Macaroni and Cheese or my sinfully rich Baked Potato Soup (aka heart attack in a bowl). Or maybe my husband wants my Chicken Alfredo. These dishes all taste amazing. But they are so ridiculously bad for you at the same time. These dishes rely heavily on sweet cream butter and whipping cream, along with savory cheeses, bacon,and other things that are not very diet-friendly. So I know first hand how challenging it can be to make food that is comforting and delicious while watching the waistline.
When I was contacted by Beth Aldrich, author of the upcoming book Real Moms Love To Eat about reviewing a preview copy of the book, I have to admit, I was intrigued. Even the title captured my interest. After all, I AM a "Real Mom" and I LOVE to eat! So when my galley copy arrived, I jumped right in. I was immediately drawn into the book because Beth writes this informative yet entertaining book as if she were talking to her best friend.
Real Moms Love to Eat is a must-have book, in my humble opinion. Beth addresses many common food and diet dilemmas that we, as real women and mothers, face on a daily basis. She helps us to dig deeper and discover the underlying reasons WHY we sometimes choose to make poor dieting decisions that only seem to make our weight creep upward. After all, eating is an emotional experience. So many moments in life rely heavily on food...Think about it for a minute. You get married, then you go eat. You have a baby, then you eat all the food that well-wishers bring over so you can recover. You go to a funeral, then you go eat. Even marriage proposals seem to somehow have food tied into them! Birthdays, Holidays, even lunch out with the girls...Everything we do seems to revolve around eating. So from an early age, we're hardwired to equate food with emotions rather than as fuel that keeps our bodies nourished and functioning properly.
As many of you already know, I LOVE to cook. Preparing tasty meals for my family is probably one of my greatest pleasures, and meal time is definitely a time of day I always look forward to. I love using the best quality ingredients that I can when preparing meals, and one thing I always insist on using is a good quality olive oil.
Why olive oil? Well, aside from the fruity, wonderful flavor it lends while cooking, olive oil contains the "good fats" that your body needs to survive. Many other cooking oils contain trans fats and saturated fats that have been known to be harmful. Another thing I love about olive oil is that it is incredibly versatile. Olive oil can be used in so many ways! From cooking meats to making dressings and marinades or even as a dip for some crusty, fresh bread, a good quality olive oil can add extra depth and flavor to any dish. So olive oil is a natural choice for cooking!
That's why I was so excited to review the olive oil from California Olive Ranch. You see, olive oils are not all created equal. Some olive crops are grown with pesticides, and not all olives are cultivated and processed quickly enough to maintain that to-die-for flavor we all know and love. That's why some olive oils, even of the same variety, can taste and appear so different! It's all about quality. California Olive Ranch is dedicated to providing the highest quality olive oils to their consumers.
I love it when I have the opportunity to review products that can be customized. I feel that customizable products, especially for children, are always extra special. When a child has a product that was created specifically for them, they seem to be thrilled. Sure all the other kids have toys, clothing, etc. But how many kids have items that were lovingly created just for them? Personalizing products is also a wonderful way to show children just how special and unique they are, and can be a wonderful self-esteem booster!
That's why when the nice folks at Happy Toy Machine asked me to review their line of fully customizable toys, I readily agreed. Happy Toy Machine offers adorable plush pals that are created by YOU, then expertly crafted to your precise specifications. Yes, when using the Happy Toy Machine website, you are in complete control of your toy's design! There is a special 3D creation wizard that allows you to pick everything from the shape of the head, limbs, and even hands and feet! Since the creation can be viewed in 3D, you can check out your toy from every view. You can even choose the toy's facial features, emblems, and more! Once you have the perfect toy created, you can even choose the colors for every single element, and even add embroidered text. How cool is that?!
As the mother of a toddler and a picky preteen, I sometimes have a hard time finding quick and easy snacks that my kids will eat without complaining. And breakfast time for my daughter is especially challenging. She doesn't usually like typical breakfast foods and she hates most fruits, unless I cleverly disguise them. Sophie won't eat eggs or bacon or even oatmeal! But one thing she does like is cereal. She loves a bowl of cereal with milk, but when we're in a rush, this isn't always the ideal choice. Sophie is a very messy eater, and her milk tends to end up on her rather than in her. So if I have an appointment I have to get to, this is out of the question since I don't usually have time to give a bath before heading out.
That's why I was so excited to review the new Cereal Treats Bars from Betty Crocker. With these super portable snacks, kids can enjoy the goodness of their favorite cereals while on the go! No muss, no fuss! We received these tasty bars in the Golden Grahams and Lucky Charms varieties, and my kids absolutely loved them! Sophie especially enjoyed the Golden Grahams Cereal Treats Bars, probably because they are chock full of Golden Grahams cereal, marshmallow, and chocolate. She had the biggest smile when eating them! Kyle, my 11 year old, loved the Lucky Charms Cereal Treats Bars the most. These also have marshmallow, and have everything we all love about Lucky Charms, including the colorful marshmallows! These delicious bars are chewy, satisfying, and small enough for little hands to easily hold.
As you all know by now, I have been nominated for the Parents Magazine Best Blog Awards in the Best All Around Mom Blog category. I am incredibly honored to even be considered for this award, and I would really appreciate your support.
I have noticed that MANY of the other blogs nominated are soliciting votes several times a day on Facebook, twitter, and other social media platforms. While this is not breaking the rules, it goes against my personal integrity and values. I don't want to spam everyone to death. I have been on your end as a reader before, and frankly, I find that constant reminders to vote can get pretty darn annoying. As a matter of fact, I have been less likely to vote for people who unashamedly beg for votes, day in and day out.
However, I also realize that my refusal to engage in such practices will inevitably cause me to fall way behind. So after consulting a few PR reps I have good relationships with as well as a few other bloggers that I trust, I have come up with a way to earn votes without having to spam everyone to death. I would really like a shot at this award, and I feel that if the competition were solely based on content, I would have a decent shot. I work very hard on my posts, and try to provide the best content I possibly can. Sure, I could copy and paste and make very brief posts, but I don't feel that is fair to my readers OR to my generous sponsors. I promise in-depth and detailed reviews, and that's what I strive to give you. I wholeheartedly believe in quality over quantity. But since this is obviously a contest where votes can be begged for rather than legitimately earned, I would like to give you some incentive to vote for me.
IF you help me WIN...which I probably will not...I am up against some very big blogs...I have purchased a very awesome prize that I will gladly pass along to a lucky supporter.
HELP ME WIN AND YOU CAN WIN:
A HUGE Disney DVD Box Set, with over 160 FULL LENGTH DISNEY FILMS! These are NOT burned copies, and no copyright violations are present. These are actual Disney DVD's, prettily packaged in a beautiful collector's case.
My babies LOVE bath time. Especially my toddler! She will come running as soon as she hears the bath water being drawn, and would play for hours in the tub if I'd let her. She loves splashing around and giggling as she plays with her sea-life themed bath toys. My 7 month old, Xander, likes the bath as well. He loves kicking his feet in the water in his infant tub and always cracks up when I rinse his hair.
Now my oldest child was an entirely different story altogether. He hated taking baths, and would scream bloody murder as soon as his hair got wet. It was a challenge to see just how quickly I could get him adequately clean and out of the tub! Ahh, the memories!
So needless to say, I consider myself lucky that my younger babies love taking baths. This is our special time together, and nothing warms this mama's heart like hearing their laughter and seeing them smile. I love the feel and smell of a freshly washed baby, too!
One part of bath time has the potential to be much less pleasant, though. That's getting out of the tub. Babies are very delicate and can catch a chill quite easily. So keeping babies warm and comfortable after their bath is essential if you want to keep the smile on their cute little faces! That's why I jumped at the chance to review the maamam aacua.
What is the maamam aacua?
maamam aacua is a 4-in-1 bath towel that triples as an apron, babywrap, and toddler bath wrap. The maamam aacua transforms bath time into a relaxing, safe, and fun experience by freeing up both of your hands—allowing you to give your baby your complete attention. Made of soft, absorbent, 100% cotton, aacua grows with your child and can be used from birth through toddlerhood. maamam aims to improve our lives as parents by creating unique products that are modern, functional, and most importantly safe for our children. Founded and operated by mothers, maamam is a private company that strives to achieve social, ethical, and environmental sustainability.
As the mother of three children, I am always on the lookout for kids books and movies that send a positive message. This can be more challenging than it seems! With so many so-called children's entertainment outlets sending the WRONG message to growing kids, finding products that reinforce positive values in a realistic manner is getting increasingly difficult. For example, I recently had to ban an entire television channel that is supposedly geared towards kids because its programming was beginning to affect the way my preteen thinks. He was starting to believe that a person's worth is in their material possessions and in being famous, and that nothing else would ever be good enough. The characters in these shows are also snarky, disrespectful, and sometimes downright mean. This is SO not the message I want my children being taught!
Yes, my son is a preteen. But this just goes to show that children of all ages are very impressionable, and the TV, books, and movies they are exposed to can definitely influence their thought processes...and not always in ways that a parent would like. I am a firm believer that you can never start pointing kids in the right direction too young. Whether it be please and thank you's, sharing, kindness, honesty or tolerance, these are values that are absolutely essential for a child to grow into a successful and productive adult. As a mom, my main goal is to raise children that are good people, who make the right decisions. Sure, there will be hiccups along the way. Sure, mistakes will be made. After all, kids will be kids. Childhood is one long learning process. But if kids are taught positive values from an early age, it's a process that can go much more smoothly.
That's why I was so excited when Britt Menzies, the creator and author of StinkyKids, reached out to me about reviewing her new series of books and dolls. The name “StinkyKids” comes from the phrase “little stinKers”, which Britt used to describe the innocent behavior of her two kids when they were little.
The StinkyKids characters are little stinKers who learn to make right choices through their childhood mistakes and who live by the motto “Always be a leader of good”. StinkyKids is an innovative brand that appeals to parents for the values it represents and appeals to kids because the characters are real kids getting into real mischief.
What makes StinkyKids so special? Other than the fact that they're stinkin' adorable, these colorful characters help teach valuable life lessons. These characters are diverse, and are based off of real children. Ms. Menzies understands that kids will always get into mischief. They will always have bigger-than-life imaginations, and this can sometimes get them in trouble. But in the end, what really matters is that kids learn the skills to make the right decisions, ultimately being a Leader of Good.
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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