Thursday, December 8, 2011

Phix Energy Review and Giveaway

Hey everyone! Have you heard of Phix Natural Endergy Drink Mix? Phix is an all natural energy aid that comes in single serving powder sticks. Just add to your water bottle, shake, and drink. It is a low calorie green tea blend that also includes 14 vitamins and minerals. Phix Energy comes in 3 great flavors: Citron, Tropic, and Teaberry. These are so different from the sugary carbonated energy drinks on the market. The flavor reminds me more of a sports drink but in flavors I enjoy. You can use Phix Energy for a boost of energy in the morning or afternoon or as pre-workout support. I drank it chilled but you can also enjoy it hot if you prefer. I also liked that the ingredients were also organic.

Visit the Phix website to learn more and purchase Phix Energy for yourself. The Phix Facebook page also has a great offer for you to try their product. Phix is on twitter as well.

One of my ChaCha readers will win a 1 month subscription to Phix (3 boxes of the flavor of their choice) and a coupon for 25% off a future purchase. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents aged 18+. Use the easy Rafflecopter entry below. Good luck! 

*I received free product to review as part of a promotional program with Phix and MomSelect. The review is my own opinion. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Renuzit Fresh Accents Review and Giveaway

The holidays are just around the corner and we all want our homes to be warm and inviting. The easiest way to welcome people into your home is to have your home smelling pleasant and festive. I received samples of the new Renuzit Fresh Accents in Winter Berry and Festive Snow to try and review.

What is Renuzit Fresh Accents? It is an attractive new air freshener that offers a stylish versatile two-sided holiday design to use in any room. It is flame-less and does not require batteries or an outlet. It gives off 30 days of continuous fragrance and helps eliminate odor. Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday scents are perfect for our winter holidays.

I put the Winter Berry in our entryway and the Festive Snow in our living room. The scents are not overwhelming and can be placed anywhere. The snowflake design on the holders are appropriate for the winter season and compliment my existing holiday decor. They are also small enough to be discreet if you don't want them to be seen. The suggested retail price of each holder is $2.00 - cheaper than some of the competitors home fragrance systems.

You can purchase the Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday air fresheners at most of your local retailers. Three (3) ChaCha readers can win a product coupon good for one (1) Renuzit Fresh Accents in their choice of fragrance. Use the easy Rafflecopter application below. Giveaway ends November 18th, 2011 at 9PM EST. Must be 18 or older and live within the United States.

What is your favorite way to scent your home for the holidays? I would love to know!

*I am participating in the Purex Insiders program and received samples and coupons. I was not compensated and the review is solely my opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Pumpkin Pancakes

Fall is definitely here in Northwest Ohio. The weather has cooled, the foliage is changing colors, and it is pumpkin season. Every restaurant in the area is offering pumpkin bread, muffins, pancakes, and pie this time of year. But to me, there is nothing better than making these delicious baked goods at home with my family. Sunday is usually our slow to get around day, and pancakes are often on the breakfast menu. This morning I surprised everyone with my pumpkin pancakes and vanilla cream cheese glaze. They were more than satisfied! The pancakes were so light, fluffy, and moist with the perfect hint of pumpkin and spice. The glaze complimented the pumpkin favor and added just enough sweetness. I have a feeling these will be requested often ;)
Want to make these easy pumpkin pancakes? Here is my semi-homemade recipe:

ChaCha's Pumpkin Pancakes

3 cups store bought pancake mix (I use the "Just add water" buttermilk mix)
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (This is a mix of spices available in spice section)
*use more or less to adjust your spice preference
2 cups of water
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

Vanilla cream cheese glaze *recipe below

Heat your griddle pan or large skillet on medium high. Mix dry pancake mix, spice, and water until blended. Add more water if necessary for desired consistency. You do not want a thin batter, but easy to pour. Add pumpkin to batter and mix together.
Lightly spray bottom of griddle pan and pour batter to make about 4 inch pancakes. Flip when bubbles form and pop on top of the pancake. Remove when bottoms are golden. Top with the vanilla cream cheese glaze or warm maple syrup. ENJOY!!

Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze
2 Tablespoons room temperature cream cheese
1 cup of powdered sugar
4 -5 tablespoons of warm milk (to get desired glaze consistency)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Wisk all ingredients together, use more or less milk to achieve a thin glaze.

What is your favorite fall recipe that you like to make for your family? Please share in the comments below, I would love to know!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ooey Gooey Cereal Bars

I am a huge lover of the marshmallow cereal treats, which are traditionally made with rice cereal, but I changed it up a bit and used the oat cereal and added crunchy peanut butter. The family's vote was unanimous > WINNER!!! These were very delicious and a bit heartier than their rice counter parts.

Make Them>
*6 cups toasted oat cereal
*10oz bag of marshmallows
*2T of butter or margarine
*1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter

In large pan melt butter and peanut butter together on medium heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted down. Turn off heat and mix in cereal. Turn to coat. Pour onto wax paper or lightly sprayed 13x9 pan and flatten out. Cool and cut into bars. ENJOY!

What is your favorite go to treat for your family? Please share!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tips To Protect Your Family From Cold & Flu

We went from hot blustering weather to cool and damp fall. It is a breeding ground for the cold and flu season. What makes it worse, is the kids also pick up viruses from school and play dates. I don't know about you, but the snotty noses of little ones, especially when they sneeze it on you, makes my stomach weak! I try to prevent these common viruses in my family whenever possible. I came up with a list of tips that I would like to share with you.

Here are my top tips for protecting your family from the cold and flu bug:

*Stock up on tissue and keep the travel packs on you at all times. Get the travel packs or small boxes to keep in your purse, car, diaper bag, etc. so it can be used to cover those sneezes, coughs, and to catch those runny noses. It helps minimize the spread of virus among each other and far more sanitary then a sleeve or worse yet, a bare hand.

*Regularly sanitize household items that get touched frequently such as doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and phones. I like to do this a few times a week, Lysol carries a good variety of products to use such as sprays or cleaners, and it is very effective at killing the common flu virus. You can use whatever preferred disinfectant you like.

*Wash bedding and towels in hot water. I will also use the recommended amount of bleach for load size to disinfect non-color items. Dry all towels completely to avoid a damp environment.

*Teach your family to wash their hands before eating and after playing outside. Our hands are the transporters of germs and virus. If you are unable to wash hands traditionally (sink and water) then keep hand sanitizer with you. There are many types that are easy to use and kid friendly. I like the individual hand wipes.

*Don't allow your kids to share drinks or eat with the same utensils. This goes for adults too. We may not show signs of a cold or flu but we may be a carrier of germs and could pass it on to the next person.

*Get adequate nutrition and sleep. A healthy immune system is needed to fight off those pesky germs so get a good nights rest and eat a well balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.

*Teach your kids to cough in the crook of their elbow. You are less likely to spread germs than if you cough in your hands (and wipe on your shirt or pants).

*We love to kiss and love on our family, but if you have been around a sick person or your kids have recently been sick - it may be best to leave kisses on the forehead and cheeks temporarily.

I try to avoid sick people all together, but it isn't always possible. The kids still have to go to school and some of us still have to go to work. Practicing healthy habits like covering our coughs, using tissues, and washing hands can go a long way in protecting your family and yourself from the cold and flu. Take time to make your living and work environment healthy also. Find out more about Lysol's Mission For Health program and learn more about Lysol's family of products here.

** Pleas note: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wordless Wednesday 10/5 Fall is Here

Fall in Northwest Ohio

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Sample Barista Prima Coffeehouse K-Cups

Go here to request a free sample of Barista Prima Coffeehouse K-Cups. This is a sample pack of 4 varieties and should arrive in 2 to 4 weeks. Enjoy your coffee!!

*Note, these are K-Cups for the Keurig brand coffee brewer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 9/28 *Rainbow

The wonderment which is Autumn! Hope that rainbow brings luck my way ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Free Sample of Tom's of Main Silly Strawberry Toothpaste

Request a FREE sample of Tom's of Maine children's Silly Strawberry toothpaste!

If it gets my kids to brush their teeth without me telling them, it's worth a shot! Click the above link to fill out a short form. Sample should arrive in 4-6 weeks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 9/21

My son. End of summer means no more Navy whites~ My favorite uniform to see him in!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Imagine Toys Review - "In My Kitchen"

I recently received this awesome wood kitchen play set from Imagine Toys to review. They have a great selection of toys for imaginative play on their website and they happened to send me the "In My Kitchen" play set made by Alex Toys. It was a huge hit with my 3 year old daughter! She loves to pretend play with cooking, dress up, and make believe. Her eyes were so big when I opened the box and I was thankful that the assembly did not require tools.

This is exactly what is inside the box. The wood dowel hanging rack simply fits in the pre-cut holes atop the kitchen. There are metal hangers to hand pans, cups, or utensils (not included).

The wooden faucet knobs are labeled for "hot" and "cold" and they simply screw into their designated slots. The blue sink faucet rests in its place as well. Very fast and easy to assemble!

It didn't take long for my daughter to run and gather her dishes and play food so she could get cooking. The first thing she wanted to do was hand something from those curious hooks. The hooks are not easily removed from the dowel - even after a week, my kids have not figured out how to remove them.

The kitchen has knobs that turn, a removable plastic sink bowl, and oven door that opens. This is a small play set perfect for limited space and portable enough for on the go.

My daughter loves playing with this kitchen and makes something new everyday. On this day, I was lucky enough for her to make me some sushi!! As you can see by the smile on her face, she is enjoying playing with this kitchen. The "In My Kitchen" play set is for children ages 3 and up. It can be found on the Imagine Toys website, along with many other toys. They offer toys for the age range of 2 to 11+ and many interests such as artist, teacher, fashion designer, farmer, stylist, astronaut, along with many more.

"Imagine Toys is your online resource for all the playful components to raising healthy, imaginative, and curious kids!" Follow them on twitter here and facebook here.

I received this play set from Imagine Toys to review. I did not receive any compensation in exchange and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Was Your Little One a "Squiggle Wiggle"?

My daughter has recently been potty trained, but I remember diaper days quite well. My grandson is still in Pull-ups so I am still dealing with a "squirmy" tot on the go during diaper change time. It can pose quite a challenge sometimes when your little one is more focused on exploring and playing rather than changing his/her diaper. I used to tell my daughter she was a squiggle worm or Squiggle Wiggles. My grandson is my little booger boo. All my kids had different nicknames for being squirmy when they were babies, it is fun to reflect on those days- always makes me smile.

I can remember having to get my daughters favorite stuffed bear and distracting her with it while I changed her diaper. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. She would wiggle and roll and try to get away from me. I have had to change outfits more times than I can count and she has also took off running without her diaper on. The best tip I have is to be quick and have everything ready. If your child is interested in music, wind up a toy or sing to them. Maybe that will give you the 1.3 minutes needed for a quick change. I always tried to change my kids in the same place so they knew it was time for business and not play. A changing table comes in handy and has all supplies readily available, but a squirmy baby may need to be changed on a bed for easier control.

Huggies has now come out with a new slip on style diaper that allows you to change your little bee-bopper while they are still dancing. I love this idea! Once my kids learned how to stand on their own, they didn't want to lay still for a diaper change anymore. The new quick change Little Movers slip on diapers from Huggies also have tear away sides for easy changing of soiled diapers. It now makes changing your little squiggle worm a bit easier and quicker.

I am thinking of all the times I had to change my daughter on a counter or my lap because there were no changing stations available. These Little Movers slip on diapers from Huggies would sure have come in handy!! Not to mention, avoiding those nasty stations all together when possible. I sure would have bought these for my kids that are now grown.

What are some of the nicknames you have for active little one? I would love to hear them! Also leave any diaper changing tips here to share with others.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Huggies blogging program, for a gift card worth $35. For more information on how you can participate,click here.

The Huggies® community brings parents together so that you and your babies fully enjoy every day, whatever the day presents. Enjoy the ride with Huggies®.

More info on Huggies:

Wordless Wednesday 8/10

Essence of Summer

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Daughter's Sense of Style

It is almost time to send the kids back to school and shop for school clothes. This summer is slipping from my hands like grains of sand. Getting ready for school marks the end of summer for us - no more beach trips or weekends at the campground. Instead we get ready for football season, science projects, and evening study time. It looks like this fall will be the start of dance lessons for my daughter too. After having 3 boy and finally a girl, I am loving all the girlie, frilly, and pink clothes that I get to buy. But I fear my choices in what she wears is slowly coming to an end. She is now vocal about what she wants and what she does not like. She is 3 and is claiming her style independence much sooner than any of my boys did. My oldest boy was close to 12 before he found his style with baggy jeans and over sized tee shirts (He is now 21 and has grown out of that style)- I fought that one tooth and nail. My next son, who is now 19, followed the "athletic" style... jerseys, team sports apparel, and the newest and coolest sneakers (which I don't think they call them sneakers anymore, ha ha). When he got into high school he had to get what everyone else was wearing and refused to wear any of the new clothes I had just bought.... I was not a happy camper. From then on, I told him he was allowed a certain dollar amount for school clothes and if he wanted something more expensive or out of the budget, he had to pay for it with his own money from his job. He wanted name brands I could not afford (as a single mother) at the time. He also had to have his hair styled and expensive cologne - He was a fashionisto before his time. My third son just turned 10, and like his oldest brother, he really doesn't care what he wears as long as it is comfortable. He still enjoys the character clothing such as Star Wars and Pokemon. One thing he does ask for is skater shoes, he likes to skateboard.

So, as you can see, I was so excited when I learned a girl was coming. I dreamed of pink, dresses, ribbons, and hair accessories. And it has been that way, up until now. Her Dad loves to dress her up in the cool retro 80's clothes with checkered shoes, rock band tees, and mini skirts with leggings. She no longer wants any part of that. If she thinks it belongs on a boy, she will not wear it (willingly). Her jeans have to have embroidered flowers or hearts on them, but she would much rather fancy a tutu or a beautiful dress. She tells me I have to fix her hair because in the morning she has "crazy hair". For a 3 year old, she has an extensive vocabulary and can relay her opinions quite well. And she is very opinionated! I am embracing every moment of it, and letting her express her individuality. I can not wait to see the young woman she will become.

School shopping was always a chore, because the boys all wanted different styles of clothing. Some things we had to get at specialty stores. My first stop every year is JC Penny. They have a wide range of athletic and dress shoes as well as clothes for all ages and styles. My 10 year old can pick out some trendy skater wear and my darling daughter can find the perfect dress. I still pick up outfits for my older boys occasionally, or I will purchase a JC Penny gift card for them to shop themselves. Everyone is happy and I don't have to make more trips shopping than I have to. And the bonus, I earn JC Penny rewards for shopping there!! Yay! They also offer convenient online shopping and customer service on their website

What are your kids' individual styles and where do you shop for their clothes? I would love to hear about it, leave me a comment below! Enjoy what is left of your summer and happy Back to School shopping!!

**Please note: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and jcpenney blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here ."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make Life Easier and More Efficient while on the Go

Many of us are often "on the go" with work, family, and social engagements. Everyone needs to be somewhere but not at the same place at the same time. My kids are on summer vacation and you would think the running around would slow down a bit, but it hasn't. I still need to get work and errands done, but the kids want to be entertained or dropped off at a friends, the park, or the pool. Some days I feel like I am on auto pilot, just going and going. Thank goodness for Seattles Best Coffee Iced Lattes, they keep me going when I'm on the go! I have already been to Chicago this summer to pick up my son from Navy training school and I took my Iced Latte with me. If I can squeeze in another "short-cation", I would take Seattles Best Coffee Iced Lattes with me to Cincinnati. Where would you take your Iced Latte?

This is just one thing that makes life easier on the go. Seattles Best Coffee Iced Lattes come in single cans or four packs in three great flavors; Iced Latte, Iced Vanilla Latte, and Iced Mocha. Seattle's Best Coffee makes it so easy to grab and go! No more waiting at the drive thru or in line at a coffee shop! I have several tips to share with you to make your life easier and more efficient while on the go. Here are my ten favorite:

1. Have a kids "emergency" bag packed with wipies, toys, snacks, etc., ready to go or in the car.

2. Use the date calendar on your phone or mobile device and set reminder alerts.

3. Set anything that needs to get returned (i.e. videos, library books) in a spot near the door that is visible so you don't forget them.

4. Buy enough groceries for the entire week to lessen the trips. I always stock up on juice, toilet paper, laundry soap, etc., so I don't have to make emergency trips.

5. Utilize online bill pay when possible. It is safe, secure, and easy to follow up on. No postage stamp or over the phone fee required!

6. I always keep wet ones and a Tide pen in the glove compartment for life's little "OOPS"... they happen at the worst time!

7. Invest in a mini sewing kit to keep in your purse or glove box. It is a life saver! Most provide buttons and small safety pins- handy for immediate wardrobe malfunctions!

8. Before you set out to run errands, make a list of your stops, prepare checks, and have postage ready for mail ~ this greatly shortens time spent running around. And you can drive the most efficient route without backtracking.

9. If you have a mobile device, install traffic and weather apps to keep you informed of any hazards or delays.

10. Confirm appointments a couple days prior to ensure you have the right date and time. Nothing worse than taking a day off to find out it was another date or time!

There are so many ways we can be more efficient and make life easier, what are some tips you can share here? I am a big coffee lover, iced and hot, so I am very thankful that Seattles Best Coffee has provided a product that makes my life easier and puts a smile on my face at the same time :)

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seattle’s Best Coffee blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here."

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 Reasons I Want To Go To Virginia Beach

It is vacation time and I always get asked, "Where do you want to go on vacation?" There are many places I dream of going, but to be practical, I decided that I am much more likely to go on vacation to a U.S. destination. I am a lover of the beach and water so this pick was a no brainer- Virginia Beach. And here is why:

1. Most hotels and resorts are right on the shore front, so nice to just walk to the beach! There are over 50 hotels along Virginia Beach!

2. The boardwalk. Yes! Virginia Beach has a boardwalk!! It stretches from 4th Street to 40th Street and there is a bike path too!

3. The ocean front dining. I am a foodie and dream of eating fresh crab cakes and sushi at casual dining establishments such as Mahi Mah's and Ocean Eddie's.

4. The golf courses. My fiance' is an avid golfer and would love to brag to his friends that he played on the Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Bay Creek. The course is so beautiful! Many golf courses to choose from.

5.The nightlife. You can relax at one of the many bars or clubs along the beach. I wouldn't mind sipping a Fat Tuesday margarita from Guadalajara's Mexican Restaurant while listening to the waves hit shore.

6. The fishing. I would love nothing more than to catch my own tuna. There are many chartered fishing boat services available if you want to go out in the ocean and fish.

7. The attractions. There is a plethora of amusement parks, water parks, and theaters near Virginia Beach. I could really go for a music concert at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater!

8. The water activities. My family could spend all day renting jet skis, para sailing, or surfing. Not a water fan? They also offer mountain bike tours and ballooning!

9. The boat tours. How exciting to go dolphin or whale watching at sunset! I can't think of anything more relaxing than being on a boat enjoying the sunset and seeing the dolphin play. Spectacular.

10. The beach. My idea of a vacation is lounging on the beach let the kids play in the sand while looking out on the ocean. Nothing compares to the salt air, warm sandy beaches, and beautiful blue waters!

Now, how can you tell me you wouldn't want to visit Virginia Beach after reading my reasons? I am fortunate to live close enough to Virginia Beach that we could drive there in about 12 hours. It is a great family getaway or a couple's getaway if you prefer. I am certain it would make for great vacation memories either way! Virginia Beach, I hear you calling me!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach Tourism blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Top 10 Time Saving Tips for Busy Moms

I am a busy mom, as I know most of you are. I have 4 kids, 2 of which are still at home and under 10. One of my adult sons is in the Navy, the other has a son of his own which makes me a grandma too! I run the household, do the errands, and entertain the kids- Everyday. Did I mention that I also have a fiance, 2 cats, a blog, and I work from home?? Are you wondering how I juggle this and still have a bit of "me time"?

Here are 10 time savings tips for busy moms:

1. Make a list. I can't remember anything if I don't write it down. I have at least 2or more running lists a day, and you get a great sense of accomplishment when you cross something off.

2. Delegate. My children are assigned household chores according to their age. My 9 year old son is great at folding towels and taking out the garbage. I am killing 2 birds with one stone here,as this is a great life lesson of responsibility for him as well.

3. Organize. The household runs much more smoothly when I keep everything organized such as a place designated for mail, shoes, toys, and appointments. It also lessens the amount of times I hear, "Mom, I can't find the ...".

4. Plan ahead. Try to get all of your grocery shopping done in one trip for the week to eliminate additional trips. Make a weekly meal planner so you know what and how much to buy. Keep your pantry stocked with the basics; Sugar, flour, pasta, sauces, peanut butter, etc. If you can make multiple meals from cooking just once, that is great! It saves time on cooking.

5. Utilize a white board. I have a calendar type white board to write my appointments on with a space for comments. Everyone knows where they need to be and when. It is also helpful to remind hubby to pick son up from school, basketball practice, or take cat to the vet.

6. Fill idle time with something productive. If you are like me, we have doctor, dentist, and hair cut appointments frequently. I wish I had the patience to crochet a blanket, but I don't. So I clip coupons or create my meal lists while I am waiting at appointments. Smart phones are great for looking up recipes.

7. Scheduling. Try to schedule hair and dentist appointments the same day for kids. Then you are only going once and not making another trip.

8. Food prep. At the beginning of the week I will slice, dice, thaw, or peel whatever is needed for the week ahead. It makes meal time and snack time a breeze by having everything prepped and ready. I clean and cut apples, carrots, and celery just about every week. I keep diced onions in a container in the freezer as well as spaghetti sauce that I make ahead in batches.

9. Network. Talk to the other moms at dance class or football practice to take turns with transportation to and from. This frees up time for yourself or to shampoo rugs while kids are gone.

10. Relax and slow down. By the law of nature, things go faster and more smoothly when you are calm. Getting worked up and upset only sets everything back and could lead to other time consuming problems. Remember, you are not super mom and nobody expects you to be. Live, love, and laugh everyday with your family and reflect on the positive things.

So there you go. I know there are tons more time saving tips for mom, but these are ones I practice almost daily. Please share some of your time saving tips in the comment section below.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here."

Wordless Wednesday 6/21

~New life and the dependence on Mama- All Mamas~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer is Here!

I am so excited for it to be officially summer, but that also means each day from here on becomes shorter... ugh! I don't know if it is my age or what, but I dread winter more and more each year. I seriously would consider living somewhere nice all year around. The kids are enjoying their summer break. We have been to a near by lake, the public pool, and even had a picnic. We visited a carnival, but it was too expensive to entertain 2 kids on a budget there, so we left after an hour with goodies in hand. It got me thinking about the rest of the summer activities and how they will fit into our tight budget. I am considering a yard sale to make a little extra money for a fun getaway.

How do you all plan for your extra activities in the summer? I would love to hear your ideas and share them with others!

Enjoy your summer vacation... if you have one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 6/15

~My Dad~
Is an awesome father, grandfather, and great grandfather.