Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Filtrete Yourself to Better Water

We have rural water, which I think is by far better than city water, but still there are times I think it's got a whang. Yes, whang is a real word. Just ask anyone in Oklahoma. I have recently started drinking more water - a LOT more water. I feel better and lost five pounds within the first two weeks. Of course, when you're pushing 128 ounces of water through yourself every day it would only make sense you'd flush out something. But I was having a hard time making myself drink with that whang.

When water filtration pitchers came out several years ago and were all the rage, of course we got one. And while the water tasted good it took sooooo long for the water to trickle through the filter. Granted, I don't live a jetset lifestyle or anything, but I like convenience and instant gratification is always so.... gratifying. Eventually we sold the pitcher in a garage sale and have just tolerated the occasional whang in the water.

When Mom Central offered the opportunity to try Filtrete's Water Pitcher with a "fast flow filter" I was curious. I thought Filtrete just made furnace filters. I know, I know. I live a sheltered life. When UPS delivered the box I couldn't get to the sink quick enough. I washed it and called the family in to watch. "Fast flow" is the absolute truth! I couldn't believe how instantly the water went into the pitcher. We all had cups of tap water, followed by the filtered water. It tastes like bottled water - no aftertaste at all. And it makes my sweet tea tastes just like Sonic's. I mean, I make really good sweet tea (no joke, ask anyone who's had it - I'm a sweet tea guru!) but it's even better now with my Filtrete pitcher.

Filtrete's pitcher has a 12-cup capacity, so not only does it filter five times faster than other pitchers, it holds more as well. The sleek design is easy to handle and pour and fits in the fridge without taking up too much space. Ours sits on the counter most of the time, though. When you drink 128 ounces of water every day, it kind of needs to be convenient. I definitely utilitize my pitcher to it's fullest. Each of the Filtrete fast flow filters filter up to 100 gallons before needing to be changed and they figure it will take about three months for that to happen. I'm pretty sure mine will need to be changed sooner than that, but thanks to the handy filter change indicator right on the filter I'll know when it's time.

Check out the Filtrete website and check out all of their products. There are also promotions, money-saving offers you can take advantage of while you're there.

I highly recommend giving this pitcher a try - I also recommend drinking more water. :-) Seriously. Filtrete yourself.





Big thanks to Mom Central for the opportunity to try this great product!



“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Filtrete and received the water pitcher to facilitate my candid review.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Like, Don't Fret the Sweat

As I've mentioned before I have three kids, so we are no strangers to stinky pits around our house.

Yes, I'm talking about armpits. Stinky, smelly, odiferous armpits. Particularly those of my children.

Abby was very young when we realized there was a need for deodorant intervention. In fact it was just before she went into 1st grade. She was sitting on my sister's lap during a Vacation Bible School program and as she raised her hands to do the hand motions for a song she nearly knocked my sister out - not with her gangly elbows, but with the peeled onion smell emitting from her pit region. Poor thing. When we got home that night I handed her a sample stick of deodorant I had in the closet and the next morning called her doctor. He assured me she was fine and that because she was a very physically active kid it was not an issue that she was a bit stinky.

Trust me when I say I was not blindsided by the younger two kids - we did pit checks from 1st grade on. Now the oldest is 14 and quite the deodorant pro. The other two are tweens - stinky, stinky tweens. Heaven help us all.

Because this is pretty much a universal issue parents and kids face, Unilever has designed a website regarding this sensitive subject called DontFretTheSweat.com . There are informative articles from "perspiration pros", ways we parents can handle the conversation in a way so as not to scar our children for life and a product guide. There are also coupons! Who can resist a coupon? I can't - especially since I have three kids which equals out to six smelly pits.

Sam has been trying Degree Men and it's working better than anything we've tried so far. (And can I just say that boy pits are far more heinous potent than girl pits?) Kady has been trying out Degree Girl "Friends Forever". Out of the three sticks of deodorant adorning her dresser she likes it best. The packaging has all kinds of tween and teen jibberish on it, but I think "OMG" is the most appropriate because that's what I've uttered when I've gotten a whiff of that child after a hot day in Oklahoma.

Check out the site, grab a coupon or two and seriously, Mom, like...don't fret the sweat. Like, OMG.






“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Unilever and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gatorade - Beat the Heat

Here in Oklahoma we have seen a few days reprieve from triple digit temps. This has been one of the hottest summers I can remember in a long time and trust me, I've experienced my fair share of "Oklahot" summers. When the temperatures soar it's not always ideal to stay indoors under that blessed AC and that's where Gatorade comes in. Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" campaign works to educates athletes, parents and coaches about heat-related illness and the importance of proper hydration.

As a mom it's my job to make sure my crew stays hydrated. Water is a spectacular hydrator and we definitely need it, but when you're losing as much fluid as recent temps have caused you need more. Gatorade has the carbohydrates and electrolytes that water does not. My kids are basketball players and while they sweat their fair share on the court, it's a winter sport and rehydrating is easier. Football players play in the brutal heat of summer early on in the season. By drinking only water while practicing and playing the brain may turn off the perception of thirst before the body’s overall fluid needs are met and you may not fully rehydrate. The electrolytes in Gatorade help maintain the stimulus to drink so athletes drink enough to replenish and refuel.

Younger athletes may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness, so while your little quarterback is out sweating on the field be on the lookout for symptoms: nausea, headache, weakness, lack of concentration (that doesn't count playing in the end zone and picking dandelions for those first-year players!), flushed skin, lightheadness, loss of coordination and fatigue.

It's important to hydrate before, during and after physical activity. Thank goodness for Gatorade's full line of drinks made for all phases of activity. Gatorade, the NFL and Moms all over have taken our kids' hydration and safety to heart. And you can help, too. You can download a free Gatorade Heat Safety Kit at the NFL Training Camp website. For every unique download Gatorade will donate $1 to “Beat the Heat” charities up to $20,000. The Gatorade Heat Safety Kit includes educational resources from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, as well as an explanation about the “4 Downs” of Heat Safety – Prevent, Prepare, Proper Hydration, Plan – which athletes, parents and coaches should consider before engaging in practice or other strenuous physical activity in hot weather.

So when you send your little athlete onto the field - whether she's a cheerleader or he's a running back - make sure you're armed with information from Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" campaign and make sure they're armed with Gatorade.



I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Gatorade’s “Beat the Heat” campaign and received Gatorade samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Winner!!

Okay, because the internet was all wonky last night due to the Perseid metor shower or possibly a light southeast breeze or maybe a spider web on the receiver, I wasn't able to post the winner of the Chasing Lilacs giveaway.

*drum roll*

And the winner is..........


Okie Rednecks!!!!

Please email me at theredneckdiva@gmail.com and send me your contact info so I can get your books to you!

Thanks to all of you who entered!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chasing Lilacs - A Review and a Giveaway

**UPDATE BELOW**

I read the book Chasing Lilacs last week in a frenzy of reading, something I rarely get to do anymore. The last two books I checked out at the library were sent back, one partially read, the other not even cracked open. Even though it's summer, I just don't seem to have time to read, but I'm so glad I took the time to slow down and enjoy this one. My sweet friend, Jeane Wynn, was so excited to share it with me and the excitement rubbed off on me as well!

Chasing Lilacs is the first book by Carla Stewart and she started out with a bang. I cannot wait to see what else she shares with us in the future! I was drawn into the story from the very beginning and was sad to see it end.

Sammie Tucker is nearly 13 and the year is 1958, a time when depression isn't spoken of other than in hushed tones, the Edsel is the height of automotive fashion and life in a small town isn't always easy. She's caught in that sweet, mystical age between being a girl and becoming a woman when her life is turned upside down by her mother's suicide attempt. But when her mama comes home from the hospital she is vigilant and determined that things stay normal and that Mama gets better. As the summer progresses life doesn't get easier and Sammie wonders if her mama ever loved her at all.

Not only is the main story engaging and enveloping, there are other subplots throughout the book that draw you in as well. From Sammie's best friend Tuwana's quest to become a cheerleader, Mrs. Johnson's new furniture and Mr. Johnson's new Edsel to the mysterious, somewhat dangerous, Cly who moved to Sammie's hometown from California, Goldie's birds and Sammie's Juicy Fruit-smacking Aunt Vadine there is no shortage of mystery, drama, humor and even sadness among the citizens of Graham Camp.

I found myself laughing and crying throughout the book. While I grew up a few years past the late 1950's, I still remember being nearly 13 and how friendships, relationships with family, school and even your own faith can be tumultuous and unpredictable. Sammie is a girl much like most of us who have at some point in our life been on the verge of putting away our dolls and putting on lip gloss. Every character in the book has a story and they all come together in such a way the whole thing will stay on your mind even after you read the last page.

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And here's the best part of this whole entire blog post - I have a copy of the book to give away signed by Carla Stewart herself! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post to earn an entry. If you mention the giveaway on your own blog, tweet about it or post about it on Facebook you earn extra entries (You can post as often as you like, but only one entry is entered per day). Just send the links to any posts, updates or tweets to theredneckdiva@gmail.com and I'll take care of the rest. The drawing will be held on August 1st and the winner will be announced that evening.

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**UPDATE** Okay, it's very apparent to those of you who have entered the giveaway (all three of you, God bless you) that I haven't drawn yet. I'm going to blame illness, stress, the end-of-summer frenzy when I realized "OH MY GOSH THE SUMMER IS OVER AND I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING IN MY HOUSE I WANTED TO".... among other things. So the drawing is now going to be on Thursday, August 12th and to make up for the delay I am adding another book to the giveaway - Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio by Annalisa Daughety. And those of you who have entered already, you're getting TWO extra entries as thanks for being patient. Thank you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

YourSphere and Blogging


My kids are no stranger to the world of blogging. God love 'em, their entire lives are blogged on a semi-regular basis. They know few things are sacred when it comes to Momma and her blog.

But as a mom I want to teach my children the responsible way to blog and share things on the internet. They are children, under my care and my responsibility. If I choose to overshare on the internet, well, I'm an adult and a redneck and you know how we rednecks love firearms. Just sayin'. But my kids are innocents in need of my direction and supervision. They need to understand that what they say is permanent and can have long-lasting consequences. I'd like to teach  my kids to become responsible bloggers.

What better way to introduce them to the world of blogging on their own but through a blog on Yoursphere? My 8 year old took to it like a duck to water. She spent the better part of an afternoon creating a blog post about our very reproductively superior cat, aptly named Michelle Duggar. She was so proud of her work and I edited for her many, many, can I say many times? She loved the creativity involved in telling the story and has forced many a family member to read her blog.

My 11 year old wasn't as impressed with the blogging process. He is kind of anti-grammar and punctuation anyway - probably because he's 11 and a boy. I'll continue to gently suggest he give it a whirl. Who knows, he may be a daddy blogger someday. Or he may be like his daddy and just shake his head in wonder at his wife who blogs. One never knows.

I have been so impressed with the Yoursphere test drive that Mom Central made available. Without it I probably never would have tried it or let my kids try it. I think internet safety for our kids is of the utmost importance and Yoursphere comes as close to safe as I think you can get. We, as parents, still must be vigilant and very much a part of our children's online presences and activities. My kids have enjoyed becoming part of an online community where they have a voice and can have some fun, too!


"I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yoursphere

My two youngest kids are still having a blast with the Yoursphere site and we're two months into using it. I think what they like the most is that they feel like "big kids", like their big sister who uses Facebook.

When I told Kady about this week's "homework" which involved decorating her condo and getting a job at the coffee shop in Our World (kind of like YoVille to you Facebook game-players) she waved me away and said, "Done. Like, weeks ago." Well, what was I thinking? Of course she did. :-)

Both kids have created their own spheres and are actively participating in other spheres, some created by Yoursphere and others created by other kids. We'll be out somewhere and they'll see something random or we'll have a conversation about something and invariably at some point one or both will either say, "I wonder if there's a sphere for that," or "I'm making a sphere for that!" Needless to say, they are both really enjoying the feeling of independence they get from creating something of their own to share with other kids their ages.

If you have a kiddo between nine and 12 I encourage you to check out Yoursphere for yourself and then sign up your kids!



"I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SHOCKing!

Right before we went on vacation Mr. Hoover, the Hoovlets and I loaded up the van and headed for Tulsa to see Oklahoma's very own WNBA team, the Tulsa Shock play against the Indiana Fever.

For one thing, let me just say this: We are country folk. We (meaning my husband) is very intimidated by buildings taller than our barn. And traffic? Well, the man simply refuses to drive in Tulsa. I, however, have a Garmin GPS which makes me invincible. (Just go with it.) So all that being said, the BOK was incredibly easy to find and parking was great. For us bumpkins, this was already major points in the right direction.

The tickets were waiting for us at the Will Call window, along with autograph session passes. We were greeted by very friendly staff who helped us find our way in and when we stood there looking for our section a helpful fella came over to see if we needed help. Our seats were great and considering we'd never attended any event at the BOK we were very impressed with the stadium itself.



As far as the game is concerned we were very entertained and very impressed with the atmosphere, the talent, the entertainment, the players and well, pretty much everything.

We especially liked Volt the Fox.



Those ladies are amazing athletes (and did you know that a lot of WNBA players are moms? Yeah, me either!) and definitely know their game. In fact, mere minutes into the game our budding basketball diva, Kady, never taking her eyes off the game, asked, "Can I play for the Shock when I grow up?"



Unfortunately, we didn't get to stay for the autograph session after the game because Kady started in with an earache and sore throat just before halftime and spent from that point on lying in my lap and crying.


Pitiful, huh?


We'll definitely go back before the season ends and guess what? You can go, too! Because One2One Network has bestowed upon me a code to get you discount tickets when you take your own family. I know, it really is awesome. Go here to order tickets and enter the code WNBABLOG at checkout and voila! Discount! It's anywhere from 20%-40% per ticket depending on the price range:


$10 tickets will be discounted to $8.
$19 tickets will be discounted to $12.
$25 tickets will be discounted to $15.
$55 tickets will be discounted to $30.
$60 tickets will be discounted to $35.

Neat, huh?



Big thanks to One2One Network for the tickets, autograph passes and the opportunity to experience the Tulsa Shock!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shrek Forever After

Everyone loves Shrek. Okay, I really love Shrek. And Fiona, she's the ogre all girls secretly long to be. No? Just me?

We have had the Shrek Forever After game by Activision for Wii for a couple of weeks now and have really enjoyed learning the finer points of the game. I mean, how often do you get to assume the role of ogres, a righteously uhm....tough (?) kitty and a mouthy donkey then kick some serious rear in your own living room? Kady and Sam have played it more than the rest of us, but I keep telling them if they'd do some of their own laundry I could play more, too. They aren't buying it.

The drop-in/drop-out feature, however, allows me to holler at them for chores and it doesn't affect the gameplay of whoever they're playing with. They just drop out, take out the trash or empty the dishwasher, then jump right back in when they're done. Kady is 8 and has no trouble at all playing the games and figuring ou the puzzles. Sam just really likes it when Shrek burps. We can't wait to get two more controllers so we can take advantage of the four-player ability, too.

We're enjoying the swamp out of the Shrek Forever After video game. If you're looking for fun for the whole family, all at once or taking turns (a skill my children do not possess) it's the game for you and your crew of ogres!


Thanks to Mom Central for the opportunity!



“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Activision and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spherical, Dude

Kady and Sam are in their third week on Yoursphere and are still loving it like crazy.

Kady was the first out of the two to create her own Sphere and hers is about Timbaland and Timberlake and how they are full of teh awesome. (I wholeheartedly agree, by the way.) It took a little while for someone to join her sphere, but when they did she was ecstatic! Sam's is about Bigfoot and his immediately drew a pretty good following. Why, I'm not sure, but it must be a redneck thing. Maybe? Hmh. While Kady is always checking out fashion and music spheres, Sam is more into games and animals. They both come to me with random bits of information from the "Did You Know?" box on their homepage, like "Did you know your nose makes about a cup of snot each day?" Yeah. Information only kids can truly love. The other day Kady even "warned" me about putting too much information on the internet, as advised by her homepage.

They both have played some in OurWorld, a simulation game on Yoursphere. Sam has been on it more than Kady because he's a little dude with a serious video game need. They both have avatars they customized themselves and are earning coins and completing challenges. There's an arcade in the game where they can go play all kinds of games.

I'm still impressed with the site and the kids are able to navigate it easily and by themselves. I log in every day and check on what they've been up to and in addition to checking on them online, I talk to them about what they've done, what games they've played, etc.

If you have an older elementary child or a tween who wants to play online I recommend Yoursphere. When you sign then up, if you'd use my unique referral code I'd appreciate it: YSMC-0073.

My kids recommend Yoursphere, too. Sam told me to write that. He says it rocks. Take his word for it. He's 11 - he knows everything.




I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brusha Brusha Brusha

If I had a nickel for every time I asked the question, "Did you brush your teeth?" I would be a rich woman indeed. If I had a nickel for every time I said, "Go brush your teeth again because I'm not even sure your toothbrush touched your nasty teeth," I would make Donald Trump look like a poor hobo. I will never understand why toothbrushing is such a horrendous task to children. I personally like not having my teeth feel like they're wearing sweaters.

My youngest daughter is 8 and has been trying out the Sonicare for Kids toothbrush for a few weeks now. I am so impressed with how clean her teeth are getting AND how I don't have to remind her (and remind her and remind her and remind her some more) to brush her teeth. Not once since she started using it have I had to have her re-brush.

The features that impressed me the most is the timer and the step-up levels. It's so hard to get a kid to brush for two full minutes, but with the Sonicare for Kids brush she has no problem at all waiting for the little music note telling her to switch sections of her mouth and keep on brushing. Before she knows it, two minutes are up and her teeth are sparkling! The first time she turned the power on she was a little leary of the vibrations, but the toothbrush has a step-up feature that starts out with less vibration and gradually over the first 14 full brushing cycles. There's also a lower, less intense level for ages 4 and under. The toothbrush is easy for her to hold and has bright colored changeable faceplates to mix things up a little.

I am so impressed with the Sonicare for Kids toothbrush we'll be purchasing one soon for our 11 year old who has braces. He has a hard time getting things sparkly amidst all the metal in his mouth right now - I can only be sure that the Sonicare for Kids will help him, too, be squeaky clean and his teeth will be free of sweaters. :-)

Thanks, Mom Central for the opportunity to try this amazing product!




"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Sonicare and received a free Sonicare For Kids toothbrush to facilitate my review.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm a Yoursphere Test Driving Mom!


I am an avid user of social media and networking sites. I am also 37. Let's be real: Facebook is not for kids. If you have a kid on Facebook I certainly don't mean to offend you, I just know for a fact that there are some creepy, creepy dudes out there just trolling around looking for kids. I am not dissin' social media and networking outlets, I'm just saying let's leave the little kids off of them. Abby is 13 and after many lectures and strict guidelines we let her have a Facebook page, but it is private to non-friends, she knows the rules and what will happen if she breaks them (beheading) (just kidding) and I also have her password and check her page and actvity often.

But I also have two younger kids who are very jealous of big sister's Facebook page and there is no way I am letting them on there just yet. I am my children's biggest advocate and if I don't step in to protect them, montor their online activities and make sure they're safe then who will? They're kids. Little, innocent kids who still have a hard time discerning good intentions vs. bad ones and who to trust online. So when MomCentral sent out the call for moms to test drive Yoursphere, the social networking site for kids, I was more than excited. It's "social media on training wheels" and parents must sign their kids up and verify their identity.

And now I am more than proud to announce that I am a Yoursphere Test Drive Mom!

My two youngest have signed on and so have I. I have access to their accounts, their "spheres" and activities and I monitor their time on the site. Oh the power! And the huge sigh of relief. So far they are loving it and now in addition to Abby asking if she can check her Facebook I have the two youngest asking, "Mom? Can I check my Yoursphere?" I'm going to have to set up a schedule.....or buy more computers. Nah, I'll just set up a schedule.

Check out Yoursphere and keep checking back here to see how my kids and I are doing with the test drive! If you decide to sign your child(ren) up, email me (theredneckdiva [at] gmail) and I will share a unique code to use that will help me earn chances for a $1000 American Express gift card!

Once again I have to give a big thanks to MomCentral for seeking out the sites and products relevant to moms and their families and giving us this opportunity!



"I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kees me, you fool - I have healthy lips

I am addicted to chapstick. I freely admit this and am not ashamed. I do not like the feel of chapped lips and refuse to live my life with itchy, dry ones. I have been called a chapstick snob by more than one person and this title does not bother me. I once paid $9 for a tube of chapstick and no, I'm not kidding. That is how serious I am about my kisser. I have tubes, pots, containers and sticks everywhere - and so do my kids because I give them all the products that disappoint me. I know. I'm awful.

I have been on a quest to find the perfect chapstick for years. What I run into more often than not is a waxy stick that doesn't make my lips feel any better than if I'd rubbed a candle all over them. Occasionally I find one that goes to the other extreme and it feels like I've dipped my lips in vegetable oil.

Neither is ideal. Neither helps the overall long-term appearance and feel of my lips.

I saw a commercial a few weeks ago for Neosporin Lip Health and when it said it was clinically proven to produce healthier lips in three days I was more than intrigued. If it hadn't been for the horrible weather and my muddy, sloshy, icy road I'd have driven to town immediately. The very next day MomCentral sent out the call for people to try the Daily Hydration Therapy and Overnight Renewal Therapy I felt that it was the universe telling me I needed this product.

Y'all know how I do that happy mailbox dance when packages arrive from MomCentral, well, I was even more excited to bust open this package and as fast as I could get the plastic off the tube of Daily Hydration Therapy I had it on my lips. Oh happy day. Oh happy, happy day. I sent a tweet less than 24 hours into the three-day challenge extolling the virtues of this amazing product. There is no taste, no greasy feel, nothing more than bliss. Yes, I just said bliss. And I meant it. It also has SPF 20 and if you've ever had sunburned lips you know how valuable SPF is in a lip product. I am in love with it. Like, deep, meaningful relationship in love with it. The other night we headed to town in a snow storm and I forgot my Daily Hydration Therapy on the dining room table. I seriously made my husband turn around a mile from the house so I could go back and get it.

The Overnight Renewal Therapy is absolutely amazing. I always put chapstick on my lips before bed, so I was very excited about an overnight product that used the word "renewal" in its name. At my age, renewal is a very good thing. Nearly mandatory. The little container is barely over 1/4 ounce and I don't possibly see how you could ever run out. At under $5.50, it's a total bargain. I mean, $5.50 and it lasts for eternity? Yeah. It takes such a small amount to do the trick! Oh alright, eternity might be stretching it, but I still bet it takes a long time to use it all.

When Kady got home from school the other day I noticed she had licked her lips to the point it looked like she had a burn under her lower lip. Even though it wasn't technically "overnight" then I put some of the Overnight Renewal Therapy on her and by her actual bedtime the severely chapped spot was gone.

When they say three-days to results they mean it. I saw results in less than 24 hours with the Daily Hydration Therapy and the Overnight Renewal Therapy just sealed the deal. You don't have to reapply constantly like with traditional chapsticks and lip balms, which is a HUGE plus for me.

I don't think I will ever buy another lip product besides Neosporin Lip Health.

Really.






"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Neosporin and received a sample of the Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy and the Lip Health Daily Hydration Therapy to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate."











Friday, December 11, 2009

Green Laundry is Actually a Good Thing


My youngest daughter has eczema. This summer was the worst it has ever been. She was digging and scratching to the point I was worried about staph infections. We tried modifying her diet to no avail, changed her bath soap and shampoo and it didn't help either. I switched to fragrance-free laundry detergent at that time as well and finally we have things under control. For probably nearly six months now we have had absolutely neutral laundry. It wasn't a bad smell, it was just no smell. I like my laundry to smell fabulous - there are few things better than opening the dryer and smelling all those warm clothes! But for Kady's sake we have all adjusted to our positively skin-friendly, very boring clothes.

I signed up for the Green Works blog tour with Mom Central not thinking that the addition of scents might flare up Kady's eczema again, but when I received my bottle of detergent (AND stain remover!) in the mail I was pleased to read that it's dermatologist tested. It's a step in the right direction knowing that Clorox cares enough to test its products, right? After visiting the website and reading "clothes washed in Green Works™ natural laundry detergent won't leave a harsh chemical residue and are gentle on skin. Yet it still cleans with the power you expect from Clorox." WAHOO!! And? AND? There is also a dye-free and fragrance-free variety, too. Oh, Clorox, you made me love you.

I decided I wasn't going to tell the family I was using a different detergent because I wanted to see if anyone noticed and I wanted to see if Kady would complain about her skin without knowing something was different. The first time I opened the bottle I thought the fragrance seemed kind of strong, but I told myself that I had been doing boring laundry for so long my nose was out of practice. From washer to dryer I was pleased with how things looked and smelled and ohhhhh my when I opened that dryer and there were all those wonderfully scented warm clothes just waiting for me to sniff....well, let me tell you without shame, folks, I SNIFFED.

I've done probably 20 loads of laundry with Green Works Original Scent natural detergent and so far there have been no skin issues and I've noticed that when the kids come get their folded laundry to take to their rooms they immediately bury their faces in and sniff like there's no tomorrow. The clothes are clean and I feel better knowing the detergent I'm using is fully biodegradable and never tested on animals.

I also received a bottle of the stain remover and have used it on muddy puppy prints on jeans legs, chocolate ice cream spilled down a pink t-shirt and a glop of makeup, but I really put it to the test the other night after Paul and I worked at the Park of Lights in the rain. Because I have embarrassingly short legs I step on the hems of my jeans all the time. They are always stained and always gross, especially in rainy weather. When we got home I sprayed the hems of my pants down with Green Works and let them soak for about 30 minutes then threw them in the wash. There is no trace whatsoever of mud on my pants legs! I've used the same laundry stain remover for my entire 17 years of being a homemaker, but I now have a new brand.

Check out the Green Works website for more information. I made the switch to Green Works household cleaners and dish soap earlier in the year and it's safe to say I haven't been disappointed with any of the products I've tried. And right now their website is offering a coupon for $3 off their laundry detergent!



"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Clorox Green Works and received a bottle of Green Works Natural Detergent and Stain Remover to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate."

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Fancy - It's Nancy's!


It's time for holiday parties, family get-togethers and snow days! Here at my house we've been fans of Nancy's Appetizers for a long time - even though I am an avid do-it-yourselfer in the kitchen. The Petite Quiches are my absolute, all-time favorites in the Nancy's line because you can't make mini quiches as good - and as affordable - as Nancy's can! I've also tried the Deli Spirals and well....YUM!

I like the fact that any appetizer I've tried from Nancy's tastes fresh and is always delicious. They don't taste like some frozen food with that well, frozen taste. And the crusts on those quiche! Oh lawsy, it's flaky and buttery and just all-around yummalicious, as my 7 year old says.

The Petite Quiche are so handy as well because if you're stuck home on a snowy day and don't feel like eating SpaghettiO's and vienna sausages with the kids for lunch you can just put a quiche (or seven) in the oven and leave the rest for a different snowy day!

MomCentral was kind enough to send me a coupon for a FREE 12-count box of any Nancy's Appetizer - and they sent one for one of you, too! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and tell me if your family has a traditional Christmas dinner with ham, turkey and all the trimmings or if y'all are more a potluck or sandwiches type group. We're potluck all the way and Nancy's Appetizers always make an appearance!

You can enter until Monday at 9am, so leave your comment and tell your friends! Make sure you leave a valid email in your comment so I can contact you if you win!








"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Nancy’s Appetizers and received 2 coupons to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate."

Friday, November 27, 2009

I *heart* cereal


We are a big cereal-eatin' family around here, especially now that basketball practices have started and those coincide with little theatre practices. There are a lot of evenings we just grab a bowl of cereal before practice and then try to eat something resembling a meal afterward. It's a glamorous life we lead, lemme tell ya.

That all being said, I am a pretty picky cereal eater and have passed that snootiness down to my children. There are only a handful of cereals we will eat. MomCentral offered up a review of the new fiber-added Kellogg's Apple Jacks and Froot Loops and I jumped seeing as how Froot Loops are one of my favorites! I was tickled when I found out we were getting Froot Loops AND Apple Jacks to try!

The day the box came in the mail Conner, my cousin's baby, got his little toy screwdriver and tried valiantly to open the box to get at the goodies inside. When I finally helped him and we opened it to expose the cereal-y treasures inside he looked at the box, looked at me, looked at the box and whispered, "Wow." I totally agreed. He chose Apple Jacks first. I, however, chose Froot Loops. We were both silent for many minutes as we partook of the joyous delights - and increased the fiber in our diets quiet tastily!

9 out of 10 kids - and adults! - lack enough fiber in their diets. In fact, most people only get HALF of what they need when it comes to daily fiber. Kelloggs understands how difficult it is to increase a child's intake because, well, frankly no one's come up with a way to make fiber fun and delicious - until now. Apple Jacks and Froot Loops now have three grams of fiber per serving! These cereals include ingredients such as whole-grain corn flour, whole-grain oat flour, oat fiber and soluble corn fiber. They also plan to extend the added fiber benefits to their other cereal lines over the next year. Maybe I won't avoid the cereal aisle so much anymore...

I decided to set up a little taste test in my kitchen and unbeknownst to them, my kids were the guinea pigs, I mean subjects. I had received two boxes of Apple Jacks WITH fiber and a box of Froot Loops with and a box without added fiber. The kids had absolutely no idea there was any difference in the Froot Loops with or without fiber and frankly, I can't tell either. They have already devoured both boxes of Apple Jacks with fiber as well. YAY! I can now feel slightly better about throwing a bowl of cereal at the kids on the way out the door for practices and rehearsals knowing that I am giving them something more nutritionally sound. Score one for me - and Kellogg's!





"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kellogg’s and received boxes of Froot Loops and Apple Jacks and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lakeshore Christmas


I don't get to read as much as I used to. Before I had kids it was nothing for me to read several books in a week, but as my kids were born and I became a stay-at-home mom I found my reading time limited to Dr. Seuss books and Goodnight Moon. Now that my kids are older I have more time to read again (Oh, basketball practice, how I love thee!), but I'm having to develop the habit all over again. I'd never signed up for a book tour from MotherTalk before and thought that the book, Lakeshore Christmas, sounded like as good a place as any to start.

Now, normally I shy away from romance stories because they tend to frustrate me and make me wish my life was as romantic and ooey-gooey as the characters' in the story, but since this story was a Christmas romance I deemed it worthy of my hardened heart. The story takes place in Avalon, aka Smalltown, America, and centers around the librarian, Maureen Davenport, a staunch supporter and lover of all things Christmas and her task of producing the town's annual Christmas play. She's the quintessential librarian, complete with two cats and her hair in a tight bun, and likes her life to be uncomplicated and simple. Enter former child star Eddie Haven who turns her world upside down as he helps her with the play - and in the process helps her find her heart. Sprinkle into the story a crisis that could leave the town without a library, a couple of side stories about other citizens of Avalon and a mysterious boy named Jabez and you really have yourself a wonderful holiday read by the fire.

While the story was a little hard to get into for me, as it wound on I became more involved in the characters I was so caught up in the town's people and their lives and their dramas I found the book hard to put down. My husband has a new work schedule on the weekends so one weekend after I got him off to work at 4am I managed to get so caught up in the story before I knew it the sun was up and so were my kids!

I didn't realize until after I finished it that this book is part of the Lakeshore Chronicles series, but I had no problem getting involved with the characters, so it's evident that the story can also be read as a stand-alone novel. I have every intention of looking into more books by the author, Susan Wiggs, and reading the rest of the Lakeshore Chronicles.

Next time there's a forecast of snow, go check out this book (or better yet buy it!), pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate, grab your favorite blanket, curl up in the window seat and enjoy Lakeshore Christmas.





“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by MotherTalk on behalf of
Lakeshore Christmas and received a copy of the book to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Crazy for Some Crazy Love



I am a cuh-razy fan of Michael Buble', so when One2One Network offered up a review of his new CD "Crazy Love" I just about drove to their home office and sat outside with a sandwich board on offering my services. I really do love me some Buble'.

This new CD is my favorite of all of them - and trust me, I have all of them. It features his newest single "Haven't Met You Yet" which is just an endearing little song about the love of our life who, if we haven't already found them, is out there, even if we just don't know who it is yet. My favorite song from the CD is "Hold On" which brings me to tears every time I hear it. And "Georgia on My Mind"? Yeah. I melt. There's only one song I'm not crazy about and that's "Heartache Tonight" and I think it's only because it's an Eagles song and really, no one should mess with Eagles songs. Period. (No offense, Michael.)

The stops were pulled out for this CD and as always, Michael's voice is swoon-rendering and can make even the hardest of hearts flutter. I also like the pairings he's done on this album with artists Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Naturally 7 and Ron Sexsmith. All of them wonderful.

Here's the tracklist:

Album Tracklisting:
1. Cry Me A River
2. All Of Me
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. Crazy Love
5. Haven't Met You Yet
6. All I Do Is Dream Of You
7. Hold On
8. Heartache Tonight
9. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
10. Baby (You've Got What It Takes)
11. At This Moment
12. Stardust
13. Whatever It Takes (bonus track)

Make sure to check out Michael's website: www.michaelbuble.com and here's the link to that new video that you just have to go see RIGHT NOW. I MEAN IT.

Well, after you go buy this CD. And then call me so we can spend the evening hot rolling our hair, gossiping and giggling over how cute he is.




I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by One2One Network and received a CD in exchange for my review.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harry, Baby!


A few weeks ago we watched the movie New in Town with Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. The movie itself could've been a big ol' bunch of stink (it wasn't, by the way - totally wasn't) but I'd have watched it no matter what because of Harry Connick Jr. Heck, I'd have watched Borat if Harry Jr. would've been in it. He's just some serious eye candy. So naturally, when One2One Network offered HCJ's new CD Your Songs for review, I jumped. I'm a sucker for a man with a voice like that. A total sucker.

This CD is just chock full of his swoon-inducing voice covering some of the great oldies and not so oldies (I refuse to consider Billy Joel songs "oldies"):

Album Tracklisting (Originally performed by):

All The Way (Frank Sinatra)
Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel)
Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)
And I Love Her (The Beatles)
(They Long To Be) Close To You (The Carpenters)
Besame Mucho
The Way You Look Tonight
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
(Roberta Flack)
Your Song (Elton John)
Some Enchanted Evening
And I Love You So
(Don McLean)
Who Can I Turn To? (Tony Bennett)
Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)

Eye candy and ear candy - happy cooler weather to me! This is the perfect CD to curl up on the couch and listen to while the snow falls. I can just envision me tuning out the kids on a snow day by listening to Harry Connick Jr. telling me about the first time ever he saw my face... *sigh*



Other links:
Behind the Scene look at ‘Making of’ the album: http://bit.ly/HCJrVideo
Harry’s website: http://www.harryconnickjr.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/harryconnickjr



I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by One2One Network and received a CD in exchange for my review.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Place for Moms


My kids have been back to school for nearly a month now and I still find myself struggling to get a handle on this routine. Abby's in 7th grade this year so that means she has ballgames and dances and social activities she didn't have last year and those always seem to hit me right upside the head and have me running around screaming like that kid in Home Alone. Plus Sam is in 5th grade this year - the first year of two really hard years at the kids' school. I have developed a theory that 5th and 6th grade are like boot camp for the Marines - they break them down, beat the tar out of them and teach them way more than they can process so that by 7th grade they are less likely to be sold to the gypsies by their exhausted parents who are tired of the tears (their and their child's).

All that being said, it's no wonder I feel like I could use some motherly advice. Oh, not from my mother (though hers is always helpful) but I mean for me as a mother. Mom Central came to the rescue and introduced us mom-bloggers to the MSN Homeroom website. The blog tour was set for two weeks, but with losing my Nana last week I didn't get to spend as much time as I would've liked prior to writing the review, however I have pored over the site as much as I could and bookmarked it so I can go back time and time again. You know, so I can avoid selling my kids to the gypsies as the school year continues.

I think what I liked most about the site was the brevity in all the videos and articles. We're MOMS - we don't have time to sit and read four page long articles and 30 minute videos sometimes what with all the taxi driving and homework checking we have to do! I was able to watch several little videos with great ideas and tips and because they're so short and to the point I could watch more in the limited times I had throughout the day. The moms on the site are professionals, too - an MD, a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, a child psychiatrist and a former Teacher of the Year. These gals knows their mom-ing!

There are forums for moms to bounce ideas off each other and while there seemed to be a lot of comments removed due to folks spamming or trying to advertise, the site managed to get them off kindly and quickly. I didn't participate in very many discussions, but read quite a few, gleaned a few great ideas including "ice cream and cake" for breakfast. I can't wait to try this one instead of our usual toaster pastries!

There are several topics on the site, including writing, attentiveness, giving back, and memory. All of them are relative to what moms and kids (and dads!) deal with on a daily basis. How nice to have a community to participate in discussions, gather ideas and then use the ideas to keep us from selling our kids to the gypsies - I mean, to make our children better citizens, better students and better people in general! Thanks Mom Central and MSN Mom's Homeroom!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shake Your Cinnabon-bon

I have a real problem with most snack bars. I'm not saying they're not good, but I find them lacking. Meaning, I want like, two. Or seven.

I have only tried actual Cinnabon cinnamon rolls once in my life and it was after having spent the night in the Kansas City airport and just before boarding a plane for Orlando. I was so tired I vaguely remember the greatness of it. That makes me sad - that I squandered away all that is Cinnabon-y goodness in a sleep-deprived stupor.

Mom Central made new Kellogg's Cinnabon Snack Bars available to try and I figured, "Hey, I'm getting ample sleep these days, why not? Maybe I can actually enjoy these." They came in the mail and I did my usual Happy Mailbox Dance of Joy when Mom Central packages arrive and then I sat the box carefully on the counter and threatened the children TO STAY AWAY FROM THE CINNABON. I'm kinda territorial like that.

The first one I tried (after holding the children at bay with an electric cattle prod) was under extreme hunger duress and all I could concentrate on was getting the package open and the food in my mouth. I kid you not, I am taking no poetic liberties or editorial privilege when I say I put a bite in my mouth, chewed, then literally stopped chewing, closed my eyes and sighed. Seriously. I was not expecting it to be that good. Shame on me for that one.

The crust is light and crumbly, the filling is rich and just the right amount of cinnamon - not too much, not too little - and the icing? Ohhhhhhh baby. It is probably ten kinds of wrong to have this kind of relationship with a snack bar, but if it's wrong I don't want to be right.

In the early morning hours a Cinnabon Snack Bar and a cup of coffee are my little bit of quiet indulgence. Okay, so it's summer and by "early morning hours" I mean, somewhere around 9:30 or 10, but hey, stop picking, you. It's still quiet and I am so indulging. And what I like best is that one is enough. They are rich enough that one makes the hungry go away and 150 calories per bar is, as my pre-teen would say, SUH-WEET. Literally.

You should go get some. Now. And then you should come share them with me - I'm out.



Big thanks to Mom Central for making this blog tour happen!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moooooooo

I have three kids and only two of them are milk drinkers. Those two will come in from playing outside in the hot 100 degree Oklahoma summer heat and pour a big ol' tall glass of milk and chug away. And considering that my oldest is nearly 13 I am tickled that she still drinks milk with meals and hasn't developed her momma's bad sweet tea habit. That third child, unfortunately, takes after her mother and doesn't much care for milk, so when Mom Central offered the Why Milk? blog tour I jumped at it - especially after they mentioned recipes to help get your family on the dairy train.

The Why Milk? website is absolutely chock full of information. I spent some time analyzing my daily beverages and discovered that by not drinking milk I am really shortchanging myself in the vitamin department, something I guess I'd never really given much thought. I'm not saying I'm going to run in right now and drink a half-gallon of milk straight from the carton, but I am going to make a more conscious effort to include milk in my diet since I'm all like, knockin' on the ripe old age of 40's door and all. Plus, that non-dairy child of mine could use a boost as well....

Which brings me to my next paragraph: RECIPES! I am a sucker for a recipe section of a website and wasn't disappointed in the least by the selection at the Why Milk? site. Sam just got braces and a horrific, medievel-looking torture device known as a Rapid Palate Expander which basically means the little dude is on a pretty squishy diet for the next week or so. We've been trying out smoothie recipes for a week or so and we've all decided that the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup smoothie is DA BOMB and even little Kady No-Milk likes it! And Berry Dairy Dream? Ohhhhhhh yeah. It's my personal favorite. Soup-er Creamy Veggie Soup is on the list for when the weather cools off because here in Oklahoma I think it's state law you can't eat soup when the temperatures outside are this close to boiling.



I think the Why Milk? website is great and am so glad Mom Central partnered up with the Milk Council to bring this blog tour around. I wasn't aware a website about milk could be so informative, to be honest. I worry about my youngest's milk intake and am going to work harder to "sneak" some milk into her diet - thanks to the Why Milk? website I'm armed and ready!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Wanna Rock! (Beware: the words "awesome" and "rock" are well overused in this post)


This past Christmas my son, Sam, got a dual-guitar Guitar Hero pack for the Wii and since then I have discovered that I am freakin' AWESOME. I mean, most of you already knew I was awesome to begin with, but I AM EVEN AWESOMER NOW because I can hold my own against Slash in a face-off and I can do it in my pajamas. Once, when Mom and Pops were over and Tater and I were duelling, Mom said, "Oh look, honey, Kristin thinks she's playing a real guitar! Isn't she cute?" Well, she was just discovering my awesome-ness, that's all.

All that being said, when MomCentral sent out the call for moms who wanted to review Guitar Hero On Tour for Nintendo DS I was SO. THERE. And since we own more than one Nintendo DS we got TWO - Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades and Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits - to try out. Unfortunately, for them anyway, the two older kids just happened to get their DS's taken away for fighting the morning they came in the mail, so that meant Kady and I had complete reign over the games for two whole days. I probably don't need to tell you how awesome we are and just how much we rocked out.

And before I go further - anything that includes Tenacious D is gold, baby. GOLD.

The games come with a fret adapter that has the colored fret keys like you find on a Guitar Hero guitar. Instead of using a regular ol' boring stylus, Guitar Hero for Nintendo DS comes with a "pick". Oh yes. And it's awesome. You plug the fret adapter into the DS, pop in the game card, grab your pick and proceed to get busy. I like the fact that with two DS's you can use wireless magic to duel. I totally kicked my 7 year old's butt on more than one occasion. I also managed to kick her butt while she was in the 3rd row seat of the van and I was rockin' it in the front seat. (No, I wasn't driving. Her daddy was driving, pretending he didn't know the strange woman sitting next to him strumming like a madwoman.) The wireless option is also convenient when the kids are fighting, but don't want to play themselves - they can sit in their own rooms and kick their siblings' rear end without having to look at them. Hey, it's summer and I'm a stay-at-home mom. I will take relief and peace however I can get it.

The only thing I found that was not 100% awesome about the game is that if you tend to get a little uhm....into your game the adapter has a tendency to slip out, causing the screens to go black and thus causing you to shriek and scream and force yourself to hold back tears. Or maybe that's just me with the tears.... I read in another review that she had the same problem until she just quit using the strap that holds your hand securely to the adapter. I haven't tried not using the strap yet, but logically it seems that that might work.

I think the games are great. Sam had been wanting to get one for awhile and I was leary about it, not sure how playing guitar on a hand-held game would work, but after trying Guitar Hero On Tour for Nintendo DS, I can say that it really does, indeed, rock. Literally.

Many, many thanks to MomCentral for hookin' me and my kiddos up with two games to try!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Skinny is yummy


I am not a big ice cream fan, but I have a tween who loves ice cream more than she loves shoes and that is a LOT. (When I told her that I had been chosen to be a part of the Skinny Cow blog tour from MomCentral the child did a cartwheel. Seriously.) Now, please don't misunderstand me - I may not be a big fan of ice cream in general but don't you dare deny me access to ice cream sandwiches when I get a hankerin' for one. Just don't.


My sister actually discovered Skinny Cows when she started Weight Watchers several years ago because the chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwiches are have 2 Points apiece. The woman had a deep, meaningful relationship with Skinny Cows that year. I was skeptical about them because, well, let's just be honest: Sometimes low-fat food doesn't taste all that great. Either it's got a funky whang to it or it's devoid of all flavor. That is not the case with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I really do like them! They don't taste any different than regular ice cream sandwiches in my opinion. Each sandwich has 140 calories and 2 grams fat - in my mind it's guilt-free indulgence! The diet experts say you have to treat yourself occasionally - Skinny Cow products allow you to treat yourself AND stay on track!


It's heating up here in Oklahoma and let me tell ya, trying to find your favorite flavor of ice cream is difficult, so the day we took the coupons to Walmart the only flavor ice cream sandwich available was vanilla. No worries. I hadn't backed my van out of the parking space before the kids had already broken into a package and were scarfing them down. They seemed satisfied. Now, because I am a mother I have learned that keeping my mouth shut is essential when it comes to food and children. I waited until the last drip of ice cream was licked from the last finger before I asked the kids how they liked their low-fat treats. A few seconds of silence ensued while they decided if they still liked what they had just devoured or if they were going to get all weird about it. The unanimous decision was WHO CARES.
We managed to demolish the two packages in a matter of about 28.3 hours and today when we got about halfway home from grocery shopping Sam whined, "Mom! We forgot the Skinny Cows!" So we'll be making another quick trip into Walmart to pick up more this evening.


Thanks to Skinny Cow for making watching our weight a little easier and tastier!


And thanks to MomCentral for the opportunity to try out the treats!