Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DoughMain: The Free Way to Organize Your Family, Teach Financial Responsibility, and Reward Your Kids!

DoughMain is an excellent free way to keep your family organized and teach financial responsibility too. The user-friendly tools designed by parents and teachers give you a practical, easy way to organize, teach, and reward your busy family. I personally know how busy life is with just one child, so imagine the benefits of using DoughMain when you have more than one child or a whole house full! Their site is super easy to navigate to learn more, but here are some awesome features of DoughMain that I think you'll enjoy!

ORGANIZE your family

Life is so fast-paced these days that it can be hard to keep every member of your family in the loop, on track and organized. With DoughMain's Family Organizer Tools, your family's activities are all in one easy spot to manage and organize for the entire family. Family Organizer Tools include a Family Calendar, a Chores Tracker, and an Allowance and Rewards tool. Learn more about each here:

Family Calendar
Chores Tracker
Allowance and Rewards

The Family Calendar in particular is an amazing way to organize any busy family. You can easily select just one or more family members and see all their activities, or just view the entire family. Activities are color-coded for each family member, making it easy to glance at your family's calendar and know who needs to be where on what date and what time. Easily stay connected with your family from any PC or from your smartphone with this awesome integrated calendar. You can even set up email notifications of events too. This tool is something I think every family should utilize and take advantage of, especially since technology is used for so many things in our lives anyway. Out with the old paper calendar, and in with the future of family management!

TEACH financial responsibility

Teaching your children basic financial principles and literacy just got easier with DoughMain's Money Games. Their three teacher-developed games feature age appropriate financial lessons, concepts and skills that are a fun way to learn and engage your children. I really liked each of the game sites and thought they were well-designed to keep your kids interested. The Fun Vault, geared for kids 5 and up, has 9 different games to get your younger children more money oriented. The "Exact Change" game combines coin value recognition with addition to quickly create the amount of change needed to gain points. I found it to be pretty fun and a great way to learn AND have fun! Here's an overview of the free game sites:

  •, a Flash game portal teaching basic money lessons to children ages 5 and up
  •, a multi player virtual world where children ages 8 to 12 manage a family candy shop
  •, a site for ages 13 to 17, featuring 30-second videos of teens talking about all things financial, from jobs, credit cards, car loans, to credit scores

REWARD your kids

Getting children and teens to do things these days sometimes requires an element of fun (like the DoughMain's Money Games) or some kind of incentive. There's nothing wrong with that since kids generally learn best by actually "doing" and putting what they've learned into practice. With options through DoughMain to reward your kids through prepaid credit cards and retail gift cards, you allow your kids to learn about money basics and money management in a controlled way. I absolutely agree with DoughMain when they say that research has shown kids do not know enough about money and money management. It's a recipe for disaster when they reach adulthood, head to college, and choose to get a credit card. I know far too many peers who got into major financial trouble at that point in their lives. It can take only a short time to get into debt, but a long time to get out and learn the hard way about money. 

DoughMain has partnered with leading bank and financial service partners to offer parents a way to introduce financial concepts, like saving and spending, to your children at an early age. You can even connect your existing bank accounts to your family's DoughMain dashboard using Bank Link to monitor all your family member's bank accounts in one place, and to teach your kids about money with real bank accounts. Kids need real life experiences to connect the dots when they decide to buy that toy or candy bar, and this is a great way to do that. 

I know I'm not the only parent out that feels the stress of busy schedules, events and appointments. That's why I love the ease of the Family Calendar. When Buddy reaches the age where chores will be assigned and eventually allowance comes into play...WOW, it's going to be a lot to manage! But with DoughMain, it's actually an exciting adventure I'm going to be ready to tackle and manage when it's time. Lastly, as parents we should know how important financial literacy is, especially for our children. Lessons we teach our children now will have a lasting, and hopefully positive, impact on our children for the rest of their lives. Let's get organized, teach our kids financial responsibility, and reward them so they have the best chance at success in adulthood.

Connect with DoughMain on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

Disclosure: I received monetary compensation in return for posting this information and learning about DoughMain through their website. Still, I only post information that is honest, and I feel will interest my readers. These are my completely honest opinions above based on my own experience and may be different from yours.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chuggington Winner!

The winner of the Chuggington DVD giveaway is... 

Rafflecopter Entry #165, Chevelle Sopkin!

Congratulations! You have 48 hours to respond to the email I've sent or I will have to draw a new winner.

Monday, November 28, 2011

(Closed) Tender Tushies: Cloth Diaper/Wetbag Review & Giveaway! Ends 12/11 (US/CAN)

Tender Tushies is run by a wonderful mama from Canada. Concerned about the high costs of cloth diapering with "premium" cloth diapers these days, she set out to find a more affordable solution for the average family. Thus, Tender Tushies was born and an affordable, great fitting diaper is available to you today.

I received this one-size pocket diaper in the Green Star print. I also received an adorable wet bag I will share about later. First, let's check out the features of this diaper.

Well, as I said it's a pocket diaper (my favorite cloth diaper style!). This diaper fits from birth to potty training age, and allows for you to adjust the rise using the 3 rows of snaps below the waist snaps. The wings have 2 waist snaps to attach to the top row of the front panel of the diaper. Each wing also has a hip snap to attach to the second row that also creates an ideal fit and helps avoid wing droop. Hip snaps are a must-have on my list! The pocket is located at the back of the diaper, and the lining is a soft micro fleece material. This diaper includes one insert made of 5 layers of thirsty microfiber.

The wings can actually overlap and snap to accomodate the tiny belly of a newborn and the leg openings are pretty darn small too. I really see no problem with this diaper fitting your average newborn, which can't be said with all one-size diapers.

The one small complaint I have is that the pocket opening is a bit small, and has elastic running all the way around it which constricts your hand as it goes in and out. This was certainly not a deal breaker for me with this diaper, and overall it doesn't bother me too much. I've found that folding the insert in half going through the pocket opening is really helpful too.

I really like the soft PUL and print of this diaper too. I feel like they've thought about almost everything an ideal cloth diaper should have, including the excellent price. You can easily get 2 Tender Tushies for the price of just one well-known pocket diaper brand. This diaper is really high quality, and you'll definitely be impressed.

With Buddy on the large end of the size spectrum at 35+ pounds, I can say this diaper certainly works for just about any age or size. We still have room to grow and this diaper is exceptionally trim with just one insert. As you can see it fits really well, and doesn't leave any gaps in the legs or waist. It also leaves no red marks which is a real plus too. It's just the perfect amount of absorbency for us if I decide to put him in a diaper while we're out, and he doesn't make it to the potty. We use 2 inserts at night, and generally are leak free unless he absolutely saturates the inserts, which is no fault of the diaper. Buddy likes to drink water like it's going out of style so he pees A LOT!
This wetbag has 2 waterproof zippered areas. This is perfect for storing dry and wet articles of clothing and cloth diapers within the same wetbag. The outside is a soft minky blue print with white polka dots that is backed with waterproof PUL. This wetbag measures 10 x 13 inches and fits approximately 6 diapers between the 2 areas. There is a small elastic loop in the top corner for hanging this wetbag from your stroller or door handle too. I really like the ease of having clean and dirty diapers in one bag, but still have them separate. It's convenient and definitely a smart design.

Price: Printed diaper - $10, Wetbag - $10

The Verdict:
Love this diaper and wetbag! The diaper fits great, is super trim, has many awesome features, and you can't beat the price. The wetbag is ideal for daytrips and outings and everything is in one bag! I definitely recommend Tender Tushies for your cloth diapering needs, especially if you have a tight budget.

Buy It:  Check out to shop now!

Win It!
One winner will receive their choice of printed diaper AND wetbag from Tender Tushies!

Friday, November 25, 2011


The 3 winners of the "Sunshine's Night Out" prize package giveaway are....
Rafflecopter Entry #151, Janet W.!
Rafflecopter Entry #195, Amanda A.!
Rafflecopter Entry #282, Renee R.!
The 4 winners of the 25 Crazy Dayz of Giveawayz giveaway from my blog are...
 PlasmaCar - Rafflecopter Entry #33, Coralie Seright!
Sprig Toys Eco Blocks - Rafflecopter Entry #520, Debbie jackson!
Rive Glass Water Bottle - Rafflecopter Entry #870, jennifer huff huey!
Rive Glass Water Bottle - Rafflecopter Entry #1777, Sherry Strode!

Congratulations! You have 48 hours to respond to the email I've sent or I will have to draw a new winner.

(Closed) 12 Days of Gifts Galore Giveaway Hop! 4 Winners! Ends 12/6

gifts galore hop

Welcome to 12 Days of Gifts Galore Giveaway Hop hosted by Tales From the Nursery, Formula Mom, and Mama on a Green Misson. There's over $5,000 in prizes offered between all participating blogs to help you get the gifts you need this holiday season. 

After you are done entering my giveaway in the Rafflecopter form in this post, you'll want to check out everyone else's in the linky below AND enter for a chance to win one of three GRAND prizes sponsored by Kudzoom! Each blog you stop and enter at will be another entry! 

Event Grand Prizes open to US/CAN:  
$150 Kudzoom Giftcard
$100 Kudzoom Giftcard
$50 Kudzoom Giftcard
(Please say The Reynolds Mom referred you in the mandatory entry!)

Enter to WIN one of the following prizes on my blog! There will be 4 winners!
 I have 3 FABULOUS sponsors for this event. Check them out and show them some love!

Prize #1: $30 Gift Certificate from For Your Bug-a-Boo!
 Read my Spotlight HERE

Prize #2: Yoomi Bottle! ($32.95 Value)
Read my review HERE

Prize #3 & #4: A Seat Belt Snoozer from Kalencom! ($30 Value each prize)  
Read my review HERE 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

(Closed) DownEast Basics Review & Giveaway! Ends 12/7

DownEast Basics is a fabulous shopping destination for cute, fashionable, affordable clothing for women. Their styles are great for teens, moms, and women who are looking for classic pieces, to trendy styles as well.

I recently had the pleasure of shopping at my local DownEast Basics store location for this review. The Roseville, California location had been closed for almost a year due to a devastating fire. After recently opening about a month ago, I was thrilled to experience DownEast Basics after hearing and seeing so much about it online. With a gift certificate in hand, I shopped my heart out and came out with a few fabulous finds!

My first impression of my local DownEast Basics store was,"This is so much FUN!" I walked in and outfits and clothing of coordinating colors were seen from wall to wall. I'm definitely someone that needs to see outfits and accessories together to really visualize the whole thing, so I appreciated this a lot. It's not a large store, but enough to fit the huge amount of styles this store had. I had previewed some styles online, and now I know it is WAY more fun shopping in person. Many styles I had seen online previously would not have been something I would have tried on or even looked at, but in store it was completely different. The sweater you'll see below is one of those styles! I tried on about 15 tops and sweaters, a few bottoms and lots of accessories like jewelry and scarves. Their sizing was pretty spot on, with only a slight (normal) variance for a few certain styles but otherwise I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything fit. So much so that I'm sad my own budget didn't allow for me to buy a whole wardrobe that day! (hehe) The jewelry by the way is SO much fun, and any of the chunky, vintage necklaces would make a wonderful gift. I took home the following 3 items that I absolutely LOVE!

The It's a Date Cardi is a style I NEVER would have even entertained for a second. See, clothes online are so different than in the store! It's a long-sleeved, knit sweater, with a little stretch and a very light grey color called Moonstruck (not the color above). It ties in the front to give a deep v-neck, and has a ruffle bottom to accentuate your waist and hips. Super feminine and classy, totally flattering, and something I never in a million years thought I could wear and get away with it. I'm SO thrilled about wearing this for the holidays, and what's even better is I can change the layering top underneath to create a different look each time. I love pieces that do that! Two thumbs up on this piece! 

Now on to the pajama pants I bought. Oh. my. goodness. If you like to buy pajamas for any women or older girls on your shopping list this holiday season, these Printed PJ Pants in Antique Lace are AWESOME. I'm tall, and generally find that PJ pants are high waters on me after washing. These are still plenty long and they have a wonderfully wide waist band elastic that I LOVE. They are super comfy to sleep in, non-restricting at the legs (they're actually quite baggy), they have an adorable vintage lace print, and the cotton is perfectly light weight. They also come in lots of other prints. They're my favorite PJ pants EVER!

In recent years I've learned how much scarves can really give an outfit a whole new look. It's about accessorizing! There were so many scarves at DownEast Basics that were just lovely. I chose the Lacey Day Scarf (only in a grey, not black as shown above) because I seem to love the grey tones this season and it goes with a lot of my wardrobe already. This scarf is very flirty. I love the lace edge, and the mega dimension you get with the ruffles. I was worried about the lace making my neck itchy, but I've had no problems with that at all. This scarf is definitely one of my favorite accessories this season!

Connect with DownEast Basics on Facebook and Twitter!

Price: It's a Date Cardi - $36.99, Printed PJ Pants - $19.99, Lacey Day Scarf - $14.99

The Verdict: I'm a wannabe fashionista, and DownEast Bascis makes it easy for someone like me to look "put-together" even though I'm horrible at that! Their customer service was also fabulous. The manager was easy to talk to. It was almost like talking to your best friend about fashion! I will definitely be back to shop for more in the future because almost everything fit, and everything from DownEast makes you feel great!

Buy It:  Check out or find a store location near you!

Win It!
One winner will receive their choice of any ONE new arrivals item from DownEast Basics!

Monday, November 21, 2011

12 Days of Gifts Galore Sponsor Spotlight: Yoomi Bottle Review

The innovative Yoomi baby bottle and warmer were inspired by a mom and dad who thought there had to be a better way to warm a bottle. The result is the very unique Yoomi bottle and warmer system that provides a warm bottle in only 60 seconds. Whether you're feeding breast milk or formula by bottle, this system will simplify early morning feedings and feedings on the go.
I received a 5oz feeding bottle, slow flow teat, and warmer to review. I was so intrigued by this concept of a bottle simply warming in 60 seconds because I bottle fed Buddy my breast milk for a whole year and remember all the not-so-fun-parts that came with it. I always found it easy to warm a bottle at home under warm running water in the sink. But on the go I would just have to serve a cold bottle of breast milk and hope Buddy would take it. This was okay as he got older and didn't care so much about temperature, but in the early days as an infant he would only take a warm bottle. I definitely would have loved the Yoomi bottle and warmer back then!

Yoomi bottles are all interchangeable, regardless of bottle size or teat used, and each piece can be purchased separately. You can also use the bottle without a warmer which is great since at some point I know Buddy didn't care if his bottle was cold. The warmer needs to be charged before each use, and once charged, it can only be used one time by just pressing the button on the warmer once the bottle is fully assembled as shown above. To charge the warmer, it needs to be placed in a pan of boiling water for 25 minutes, or placed in an electronic steam sterilizer for 25 minutes. Once charged, the warmer must "rest" for at least 70 minutes before it can be used. Although I feel like this is a really long time to charge a warmer for ONE bottle, I guess it would be more effective if you had a few to do at the same time. The concept of the warmer getting charged by boiling water is pretty neat, and I do like that it stays charged until you use it, even if it's not the same day or even days later. To use, just press the button on the warmer that's now under the teat and wait 60 seconds before feeding. This would be so nice when you have a screaming infant and no extra hands to take care of warming a bottle. 

I really like the curved design of the bottle and the breast-like design of the teat as well. The teat itself is firm, but it pushes inward very easily and feels as close to the real thing as you can probably get. Although I don't have an infant to test this bottle on right now, I can tell just by my experience with various bottles that this design would be very effective in transitioning from breast to bottle for whatever reason needed. Yoomi says that their bottles' teat provides for easy latch on, and are perfect for bottle only, combination feeding or transitioning your baby from breast to bottle. This is the best teat design I've seen to date, so I absolutely love their design. The warmer is pretty cool too. :)

Yoomi bottles are BPA free, and the makers have even tested out their bottles on their own children. The warmer will only heat up to a normal breast milk temperature, and won't make it too hot (which isn't good for baby, or for breast milk!). Each warmer can be recharged up to 100 times. Bottles are available in 5oz. and 8oz. sizes. Teats are available in slow, medium, and fast flow.

Connect with Yoomi on Facebook and Twitter!

Price: 5oz or 8oz feeding bottle with warmer - $32.95

The Verdict: The Yoomi baby bottle appears to be an excellent choice for infants. The shape of the teats look especially great for easily switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Charging a Yoomi warmer definitely takes time, but it you plan right and have quite a few, it's a very convenient and easy tool to warm a bottle for your baby.

Buy It:  Check out!

**Come back to my blog during the 12 Days of Gifts Galore from 11/25 - 12/6 and enter to win your own Yoomi bottle & warmer!**

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

(Closed) i play, Inc.: Winter Wear Review and Giveaway! Ends 12/4

In 1982, i play, Inc. was founded on values that prioritize protecting our children and the earth. Their products encourage healthy and safe development through playing as they continually research better ways to make safer baby products for your children.

I received two products from the i play, Inc. line. The first is the Fleece Earwarmer Cap in the Navy Yeti color. It's a size Toddler that fits 2-4 years. This cap fit perfectly snug, but I feel like it doesn't go low enough on Buddy's forehead. When I do pull it down in front, it lifts up in the back and practically chokes him around the neck! Otherwise I do like it, and I'm glad it fits his large head! It's actually reversible, with navy on the underside of what you see here. The velcro closure at the chin is perfect for Buddy to put this on and take it off by himself. This cap is also very warm and practical for colder days.
I also received the Fleece Mittens in Navy. These are also a Toddler size and fit ages 2-4. Although Buddy is not yet 3, his fingers hit the end. He is big for his age though. They do seem to be generously sized width wise.

I like that they are mitten style instead of gloves with fingers. Those can be hard to get on toddler hands! The velcro around the wrist allows you to gently tighten the mittens so they don't fall off. The non-skid palm patches are great for an easier grip with these on, and almost feel like imitation leather. It would be nice to have a loop of some sort so I can attach the mittens together when not in use, so I might have to pull out my sewing machine but that's not a big deal. If your child doesn't have monster hands like Buddy has, these are a great choice to keep warm this winter.

Price: Fleece Earwarmer Cap - $13.99, Fleece Mittens - $8.99

The Verdict: I love these two winter wear products from i play, Inc.! They take pride in offering only safe, PVC-free products which parents like me definitely appreciate.

Buy It: 
Shop online or find a store near you!

Win It!
One winner will receive their own Fleece Earwarmer Cap & Fleece Mittens in choice of color and size!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

RSV & Preemie Awareness

Cold weather is here, and that means an abundance of colds, flus, and other viruses are going to be more prevalent too. RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) season began this month, and almost every baby will contract RSV by age two. It can appear to be a common cold in full-term babies, but it can be potentially dangerous for preterm infants who lack the antibodies needed to fight off infections because their immune systems haven't had time to fully mature. Preterm infants are more susceptible to respiratory problems because they are also born with underdeveloped lungs and are deemed high risk for developing severe RSV disease. RSV can become life-threatening and require medical attention or even hospitalization for preterm infants.

I just became an Auntie a few weeks ago, and thankfully my niece was born full-term. All new parents have a lot to think about when they bring a new baby home, but parents need to be aware of what RSV is, how to prevent it, and when to call the pediatrician at the first sign of a virus. While RSV is still a danger for any newborn, it's especially a worry for new parents of a preemie.
World Prematurity Day was a few days ago on November 17th, but we can't stop there and build awareness of health risks for preemies on just that day. Please take a few moments and learn more about what YOU can do to help with RSV prevention.

RSV Quick Facts
• RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
• RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
• Certain regions have longer RSV seasons than others, with the season beginning as early as July (e.g., Florida) or ending in April.
• Despite its prevalence, one-third of mothers have never heard of RSV.

Prevention is Key
There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take the following preventive steps to help protect their child:
• Wash hands, toys, bedding, and play areas frequently
• Ensure you, your family, and any visitors in your home wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid large crowds and people who may be sick
• Never let anyone smoke near your baby
• Speak with your child’s doctor if you believe he or she may be at high risk for RSV, as a preventive therapy may be available

Be Aware of Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:  
• Persistent coughing or wheezing
• Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
• Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
• High fever
• Extreme fatigue
• Difficulty feeding

It's no fun to watch your child be miserable and sick, but it's especially difficult preterm infants. Any virus that can be quick and mild for an adult, can become life-threatening for young ones. If you will be visiting family over the next few months for the holidays and for the rest of RSV season, remember to wash your hands often, cough in your elbow, and avoid the littlest ones if you are sick, or feel even slightly under the weather. Be sure to check out to learn more about RSV, and what you can do to keep your precious little ones healthy this season.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

12 Days of Gifts Galore Sponsor Spotlight: Kalencom Seat Belt Snoozer Review

Kalencom has been making high qailty, affordable diaper bags for over 37 years. They also have an adorable line of baby layette, and various accessories including the Seat Belt Snoozer we received.

The Seat Belt Snoozer is a pillow that attaches to the seat belt, creating a more comfortable way for children to take a snooze on long car rides (or even short ones!). This product is shaped like the number seven and measures 15"L × 3.50"W × 10"H. It has a super soft velour type material on the outside, a material that is commonly found on baby blankets these days and is absolutely yummy! The Seat Belt Snoozer attaches to the seat belt with adjustable velcro on the backside, and doesn't interfere with the safety of using the seat belt. The age recommendation is for children who are out of a car safety seat, and are using a seat belt shoulder strap.

Although Buddy is too young to really use this pillow as intended since he's still in a car seat, I was able to use it. It's too small for an adult to use attached to the seat belt (too short and not plushy enough), but I used it a lot during my hernia recovery. I was so freaked out about having Buddy anywhere near my stomach while I recovered, so I kept this pillow handy and put it over my stomach as a precaution while I healed and when Buddy wanted to sit next to me. It was soft, cushy, and totally made me feel more at ease to have my own son around! Now, the real use of the Seat Belt Snoozer is a fantastic idea though, and although we weren't able to use it the way it was intended, it looks awesome. I wish it came in an adult size to test out because I've never found any product that works well enough to let me sleep in the car without a majorly sore neck afterwards!!

Connect with Kalencom on Facebook!

Price: $30, available in Red/Navy, and Pink/Lilac.

The Verdict: Definitely a fun product for kids, and great for long car rides or your next summer road trip!

Buy It:  Check out!

**Come back to my blog during the 12 Days of Gifts Galore from 11/25 - 12/6 and enter to win your own Seat Belt Snoozer! There will be 2 winners!**

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product(s) to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Friday, November 18, 2011

(Closed) Green Sprouts: Sea Friends Bath Toys Review and Giveaway! Ends 12/1

Green Sprouts is a division of i play, Inc. They focus on making green, safe, baby-friendly products for happy and healthy growth. I thoroughly enjoy their entire line and would like to share with you about their Sea Friends Bath Toys!

We think the Sea Friends Bath Toys from Green Sprouts are awesome! They are so simple, yet make bath time so much fun at our house. These are fully immersible, they float in water, and also cling to smooth surfaces like the bath and tiles when moist. We had another brand of this same type of product for quite some time, but their shapes were not normal shapes or figures at all. I was so happy to see ocean creatures that actually encourage more creativity and fun! Buddy loves to play with these, and pretend the crabs are playing out of the water on the beach. The whales and fish jump out of the water, and the octopus and starfish come up to the surface every once in a while. I feel like we've been missing out by not having these!

These are made of EVA foam that is safe, and PVC free. They come with a mesh bag that sticks to the side of your shower or bath with 2 suction cups. I don't anticipate any mold or bacteria issues with these because they dry quickly and there's no place for water to get trapped and stay for any period of time like other bath toys. There are 15 pieces in this set and it makes a great, inexpensive but thoughtful gift!

Price: $8.99

The Verdict: These are a must-have in the bath tub and are great for any age since they are soft and pretty indestructible. They also take up very little space and can be stored away easily.

Buy It:  Shop online or find a store near you!

Win It!
One winner will receive their own set of Sea Friends Bath Toys!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Planet Earth Esssential Oils WINNER!

The winner of the Citrus Delight Organic Perfume Balm from Planet Earth Essential Oils is....

Rafflecopter Entry #337, Penny K.!
Congratulations! You have 48 hours to respond to the email I've sent or I will have to draw a new winner.

12 Days of Gifts Galore Sponsor Spotlight: For Your Bug-a-Boo

Are you looking for a trustworthy online shop when you need an organic or all-natural product recommendation? Look no further! For Your Bug-a-Boo offers a wide range of baby clothing, cloth diapers, blankets, toys, feeding gear, gifts, nursing tops and so much more. All products are carefully selected and researched to ensure your child's safety is first before anything else. Many of their products are also eco-friendly or fair trade too.

Here are a few products I love from For Your Bug-a-Boo:
Totally cute, right?! You'll find many recognizable and respected organic and natural brands like Under the Nile Organics, ImagiPlay, Episencial, Green Sprouts and Imse Vimse. Not only that, but by shopping at For Your Bug-a-Boo, you're supporting the owner who is also a mom that clearly cares about your children as much as her own!

Be sure to check out For Your Bug-a-Boo on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the latest new products and sales this awesome shop has to offer!

Check out today!

**Come back to my blog during the 12 Days of Gifts Galore from 11/25 - 12/6 and enter to win a $30 gift certificate to For Your Bug-a-Boo!**

Disclosure: I received no compensation of any kind for posting this information. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Naturepedic Waterproof Organic Mattress Protector Pad Review

Naturepedic is the maker of organic bedding solutions to let you sleep safely and healthy. They are
a GOTS certified organic mattress and bedding manufacturer offering high quality products made right here in the USA. Naturepedic has also received numerous certifications, recommendations, awards, approvals and memberships that give a highly regarded impression of this company.

I received a Naturepedic Waterproof Organic Mattress Protector Pad to review. We bought a brand new mattress when we transitioned Buddy to his a twin bed, and we knew it would be very important to use a waterproof barrier of some type to protect the mattress from the inevitable leaks and accidents we knew would happen. We also wanted a product that would be free of PVC, vinyl, BPA, Phthalates, and any harmful chemicals. This Waterproof Mattress pad from Naturepedic seemed to be the solution.

First, let me tell you how this waterproof pad works. There are 2 layers of sturdy, absorbent, organic cotton with a very thin layer of waterproof material between them. You can't see this layer, and although the exact specifics of what it is are not on their site, it is apparently a safe, breathable material. Buddy doesn't get extra sweaty laying on this pad so it is definitely nice and breathable! The organic cotton feels similar to canvas to me, but softer. This pad is the size of the top layer of a twin mattress (other sizes available), and elastic straps at each rounded corner secure it down to avoid sliding around under the sheets. It fits quite well and I really like the straps as opposed to a pad that fits like a fitted sheet would. It also doesn't make loud sounds when you lay on it, and it's quite flexible and comfortable.

Well, we used this mattress pad for a few days until Buddy had leaked through his cloth diaper during the night and, as paranoid as I am, I immediately checked the effectiveness of the mattress pad. I was shocked to learn that it had somehow gone through to the mattress. It was not only moist, but it smelled of urine. My brand new mattress was already stinkin' up a storm! I think I got it out, but I can only hope...

I contacted Naturepedic, and they definitely stood by their product and had awesome customer service. I explained what happened and I also made sure to ask if this product was truly waterproof, or just water-resistant. They assured me it is indeed waterproof. They wanted to ensure that I had not received a defective or wrong (non-waterproof) product so they immediately sent a new one. Just to note, we ended up covering the mattress in a polypropylene plastic casing to completely avoid another incident like this, just in case. I placed a couple towels on top of that, and THEN the 2nd new Naturepedic Mattress Pad I was sent. I was determined to figure out what was going on, so the towels were there to absorb any moisture that might get past the mattress pad.

Accident after accident, I would strip the bedding and sheets to find the towels under the mattress pad to be moist and smell of urine almost every time. By now, this had happened around 25-30 times. I washed everything each time and started again. You might be asking why I was still using this product since it was clearly not working. Well, I still liked having the organic cotton from the mattress pad as the top layer (besides the sheets) just under my son. Having a conventional, chemical-filled mattress and a plastic casing (although without vinyl, PVC, or BPA) makes me so nervous, and I hate that 1/3 of my son's time each day would be spent laying on it. The mattress pad is a safe barrier between my son and those chemicals and that's what this mattress pad has become for us.

So, what is REALLY happening to cause the moisture to get past the waterproof mattress pad? I was determined to find out because it was just NOT making any sense. By the time I would find that Buddy had leaked, you wouldn't visually see the ring of moisture (but would feel and smell it) so I couldn't figure it out. Just a couple weeks ago I decided to experiment. 
I took the mattress pad and laid it out on the carpet. I poured about 1/4 cup of water on the mattress pad. Under this same area I had a layer of paper towels to see if it was going through. A paper towel would easily ripple so it would be easy to tell what was going on. I sat there the whole time and watched the water absorb into the top layer of the pad quite quickly. I continually lifted the pad to look underneath, and saw NO leaking! WHAT? I was baffled. This means the waterproof layer between the organic cotton IS effective. I waited longer and saw the moisture spreading out into a larger area. Then it got to one edge. Still no leaking underneath at this point. A few minutes later, it happened!!! I looked underneath and saw that the moisture that had gone to the serged edge of the pad had then transferred to the bottom layer of organic cotton and continued to spread from there. Finally, an answer! The moisture transfers to the bottom layer at the edge of the pad, which explains why the mattress and towels were and are getting moist and smelly. Buddy likes to sleep right up against the wall on one side of his bed, so when he leaks, it's not in the middle, but normally near one side. If he leaks enough it will spread to the side of the pad quite easily, and transfer to the bottom at the side. 

Waterproof? Well, sort of? While liquid won't go THROUGH the pad, it will transfer at the sides to the bottom layer of the pad, thus transferring to your mattress. I wonder if this mattress pad can be redesigned to incorporate some sort of edge that will stop this from happening. I'm hoping my experience will help Naturepedic figure something out to avoid this problem in the future.

Connect with Naturepedic on Facebook and Twitter!

Price: Naturepedic Waterproof Organic Mattress Protector Pad - Twin with straps - $79

The Verdict:
I'm sure Naturepedic's other products that work more effectively than this mattress pad. For me, I can't rely on this product to fully protect a mattress but I do like the water-resistance and absorption I do get to avoid full saturation of the mattress and all the bedding. I just wish it was 100% effective.

Buy It:  Check out to buy online today!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for my review other than a free sample of the product from Naturepedic. No other compensation was received. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(Closed) "The Chugger Championship" Chuggington DVD Review and Giveaway! Ends 11/28

This is our first experience with Chuggington! Buddy is a HUGE fan of trains, so I eagerly accepted the opportunity to review "The Chugger Championship" DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment. The young trainee engines learn to work together as a team, despite wanting to constantly create a competition and win. Within each story, great lessons on important educational and developmental messages centered on learning and social-emotional development are given. Here's a little more on this DVD:
In “The Chugger Championship,” the traintastic trio is ready to put their “wheels to the rails” for the biggest race in Chuggington!  These six, action-packed adventures will have the whole family cheering. Young fans join Wilson, Brewster and Koko as they prepare for a test, invent a new contest and pick up a fun hobby, while learning about the importance of accountability and responsibility.  Along the way, the three friends – and viewers at home – discover that a true champion isn’t always the one who finishes first! 
Buddy loves popping in this DVD and frequently asks to watch it. I have also watched it with him, especially since Chuggington is new to us. The Chuggington series is geared towards ages 2-7. I'm honestly surprised by this because I feel the messages could be a bit much for the younger ones. Buddy will be 3 next month so he's in the projected age range for this DVD. 

My small issue with this DVD is that all 6 episodes involve the 3 young trainee engines competing in some way during most of each episode. Condescending, sometimes hurtful or mean words are spoken between them or other characters in the process of competing to win. Sure, these things are common between kids or adults, but I'm worried that younger children might focus on all the negative, and not connect the positive message of teamwork and helping others you see at the very end. The message might get lost in translation for young kids who are just trying to understand the whole storyline and language in general. I just don't want Buddy to learn that winning is all that matters, and nothing else. He often runs around at home and in public and screeches to a halt while saying "I won!" This is something he got from Chuggington. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, or with a DVD that involves competition. The poor attitudes and whining of the characters is what gets me. Other parents may totally feel different, but that's what I think, and what my Hubby has said also. There are plenty of other programs that are more appropriate our son. I still like the DVD and think it's fun for kids, I'll just be putting it away for a while until Buddy is a little older.

Price: $16.99

The Verdict: Definitely a great DVD and Buddy loves it! Just be sure to watch it with your children first (just like any new DVD or program) to make sure it's right for your family.

Buy It:  Check out

Win It!
One winner will receive their own "The Chugger Championship" DVD!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Made With Love Giveaway Hop WINNERS!

Wow, over 4,400 entries for my Made With Love Giveaway Hop giveaway! Thank you all for showing your support for these amazing handmade shops! Congratulations to my two winners!

The winner of the Vinyl Wall Decal from Urbanwalls is...

Rafflecopter Entry #945, Judy C!

The winner of the Prize package from Great Cakes Soapworks is... 

Rafflecopter Entry #3060, Claire!

Congratulations! I have emailed the winners and they have 48 hours to reply or I will choose a new winner(s).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Making A Difference: The o.b. Share-It-Forward Facebook Campaign

At one point or another we come across little things in life that we often take for granted. I hadn't thought much about one of those being basic sanitary protection until I received the opportunity to share information about the o.b. Share-It-Foward campaign. Do you remember when you got your first period? Personally, I was 14 and excited because I was the only one in my group of friends that had not been visited by the monthly Aunt Flo yet. I was prepared mentally and physically for things to get going. But can you imagine what many unprepared girls go through in other parts of the world, and even in our own country?

For girls in many developing countries, sanitary protection is considered to be a luxury item. That means millions of girls go without this monthly necessity and often end up missing school, dropping out altogether, or resorting to dangerous alternatives. Furthermore, poverty and disease, including HIV, is increased. To help respond to this crisis, the o.b. brand created the Share-It-Foward Facebook campaign as a way to raise and awareness for Huru International.

Huru International is a non-profit organization that provides at-risk young girls in developing countries with the resources and knowledge they need to complete their education and safeguard their health. Offered to girls at no cost, Huru Interernational offers a Huru Kit. Check out the contents below.

How can YOU help??

Through December 5th, the o.b. Brand will donate $1 (up to $25,000) for every person who visits the o.b. Outreach Tab on the mighty. small.™ movement Facebook page and "Shares" a message about Huru International's mission. Posts can be shared, on your Wall, a friend’s Wall, within a Group, or as a Message.

Will YOU help Share-It-Forward? It's as easy as following these simple steps:

If you are not already a fan of the page...
Step 1: Like the mighty.small.movement. Facebook Page. You are now on the o.b. Outreach Tab.
Step 2: Select your state from the drop down box (under the green box)
Step 3: Put a check mark next to the box that says you've read the Terms & Conditions
Step 4: Click the pink "Click to Share" button to post the message on your Wall
Step 5: Spread the word!

If you are already a fan of the page...
Step 1: Go to the o.b. Outreach Tab on the mighty.small.movement. Facebook Page, or click this link:
Step 2: Select your state from the drop down box (under the green box)
Step 3: Put a check mark next to the box that says you've read the Terms & Conditions
Step 4: Click the pink "Click to Share" button to post the message on your Wall
Step 5: Spread the word!

The o.b. brand is my preferred brand of monthly sanitary protection. I'm proud of them for recognizing the struggles of young women in developing countries and I think this is a great step in the right direction for these girls. It's even better that they're partnering with Huru, who is giving these girls REUSABLE sanitary protection instead of a tampon like o.b. makes. Now that is called compassion without boudaries! Helping out these girls is SO easy so get going!

Tell me! Did you spread the word? 

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of o.b. and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.