Disclosure: Some posts on this blog are sponsored, meaning that I received goods, services, or monetary payment for my writing. My opinions however, are not 'purchased' and are always 100% my own. Posts contain affiliate links that I earn a commission on. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Soap as a Gift

Isn't it funny how as you grow older, family get-togethers seem to shrink little by little? When I was a girl, I remember that there were great-great aunts and third cousins and great grandparents and old friends of the family that would come to Christmas, Easter, 4th of July - whatever the occasion was. As a matter of fact, we had so many people each Christmas that we began to do something called "White Elephant Gift Giving" during our parties. All the men brought a gift for another man, all the women brought a gift for another woman. My Granny and grandpa and the other parents and grandparents in the room made sure to bring a whole slew of small gifts for the children. We would play games to decide who got to pick first, and after you got a gift (unless you were a child), you kept what you had or traded it. If you traded it in, you didn't get to see what you were trading it for, and eventually everyone ended up going home with one gift to replace the one that they had brought. (Again, except for the kids, who usually went home with a trunk-load of dollar-store toys. We kids really had it made back then and didn't even know it!)

This was how I first came to think of soap as a gift. I'm not sure who the gift-givers in the family were that were so fond of fancy little soaps, but I know that my mother would end up with a gift package almost every year after our White Elephant Christmas. Sometimes they were simply scented bars, other times they were put into little shapes. I think I even remember one year she came home with some that were cut into little bird shapes and sat in a nest - I thought they were too pretty to use.

This was ages and ages ago of course, but I still remember how sweet they smelled and how much I wanted to decorate my own bathrooms with pretty soaps when I grew up. I've always thought of soaps as a go-to present and never thought it the least odd to give soaps as a gift. I didn't realize how unique a gift it was until a couple of years ago when I gave a friend of mine a gift basket with decorative soaps and she was stunned as she exclaimed at me, "You always think of the neatest things! I never would have thought in a million years to give someone decorative soaps!" I can't remember the precise company I used at the time, but I do know that they matched her angel-themed bathroom, and she was thrilled to receive them. Now she gives soap as a gift quite frequently, and loves decorating different rooms with sculptured soaps.

A while back, Army Wife & Mommy did a giveaway featuring YesterYear Soap.  They came in a really pretty little box and had scents that sounded just delicious! The giveaway has ended, but that doesn't mean that you can't check out some of the soaps that YesterYear has to offer when considering your next gift! You can check out what she had to say in her review of their product here.

This giveaway has expired, check the details below for where you can find more giveaways on our site!

This giveaway may have ended, but we still have lots of current giveaways listed on our Giveaways tab! Just click the section marked "Giveaways" at the top of this page, and you'll be on your way to browsing through some of the best blogger-run giveaways out there! Good luck, and congratulations to the winner of the YesterYear Soap Giveaway!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seventh Generation Baby Shampoo & Wash Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a sample portion of Seventh Generation's Baby Shampoo & Wash. The sample was given to me for free by Smiley360. For more information on my disclosure policy, please click here.

I had high hopes for this product since I am a big fan of 'going green', but I concluded my testing with mixed feelings. First off, I washed both kids using this product, not just the baby, and I found out that a little bit goes a long way. I was very pleased with the amount of suds I got without trying too hard to build up a lather. I was able to wash their hair and body twice, and still had enough left over to wash baby again - all that out of a 0.53 ounce sample. This product regularly retails for around $7.99 in a 10 ounce bottle, so you are looking at a "green" clean for your baby at about 13 cents. That's not bad at all in my opinion, especially considering that babies usually only need a good wash 2-3 times a week! So for anyone that says being "green" is too expensive, it's time to rethink your stance! Yes, it is a bit more than the non-green wash, but the more who switch, the greater the impact will be on our families and the environment.

In addition to the reasonable cost for this product, I also noted that it left both kids' skin feeling soft and smooth. No film, no residue, no little crusty patches where their skin was drying out - especially good for us since my son has dry skin.

Now to the parts that I didn't like so much. This baby wash is heavily citrus-scented, not so bad in itself, but recently a lot of chemical hair-dye kits have also come with a "citrus" scent. Last time I dyed my hair, the citrus-combined-with-chemical-stink blend was so strong I couldn't even stay in the bathroom and had to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, because of this I am left with the remaining stigma of the citrus 'stink' and don't really care for the smell on this baby wash. I'm sure for others, the strong citrus smell is pleasant, or at the very least a non-issue. For me though, I feel like I just dyed my baby's hair every time I get a whiff of her head! On another note, it appears that I now have a strong grip of the 'smell-linked-to-memory' arrangement.

One last thing I didn't entirely like (but understand, since there is a necessity for certain ingredients) is that there were some things on the back of the sample that I didn't understand. I like to be able to turn over a natural product, scan through the wording, and be able to comprehend what exactly is inside. When I see things like Sodium Coco Sulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Magnesium Chloride... etc, etc, I get a little antsy. However, this product is USDA Certified to be Biobased at 98% (which means 98% of it is derived from plants), so I'll have to take their word for it, even though I don't exactly think the government-run USDA always has my best interests at heart... (*cough, cough, Monsanto!, cough*) LUCKILY... I do trust Seventh Generation. And I'm sure that they wouldn't print anything about their product that wasn't true. Green companies are well-known for having their consumers' needs in mind, something that drives my 'green' purchases almost every time.

Will I buy this product? Probably. I'll just be sure to steer clear of the kids' heads until my traumatizing citrus-hair-dye experience fades in my mind. I did sign up on their website, which says it will let me have access to special deals, programs and coupons, and if I get a good deal I'll most likely grab a few products at once. If you want to join Seventh Generation's mailing list, you can click here to sign up.

And before you go - if you want to test out products for yourself (for free) and give your opinions about them, you can join me on Smiley360! Just click here to sign-up and get started! Make sure you do your first "test" mission and you should be getting offers in no time!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who's ready to go camping? (Expired Giveaway)

One of my favorite summer pastimes has definitely got to be camping. There's nothing quite like packing up and heading out to a lake for some good old fashioned fishing. When I was a kid, you couldn't get me to eat fish even if it was covered in ketchup. Fish sticks were pushing it, and tuna fish sandwiches made me scrunch up my face. I was not fond of eating fish, just catching them. As I grew older though, I learned that the way they smelled before cooking wasn't exactly going to be the way they tasted (which had been my fear from the start). I became quite fond of my Granny's fried fish, and sometimes I sit around wondering how she got the fish so very perfect. I remember they were fantastic, and they were the first fish I ever enjoyed eating.

I wish I had thought to beg to tag along more often when she and my grandpa went fishing - not just for the fried fish that came after of course - but because it would have been nice to have just a few more memories with her, regardless of all the wonderful ones I already have. She really taught me to love the simple things in life, the great outdoors, and fried fish. I hope someday I'll be able to recreate memories I had with her with my own children, and someday my grandchildren (although that is way too far ahead to be thinking about).

Thinking of camping reminds me of this item we had up for grabs in a giveaway a while back. This is a handy little outdoor kitchen that would be a great to take along on any camping trip, and I imagine that I might have one myself someday when I finally get around to buying a camping set-up of my own. Even if I don't ever get that camper, this would be awesome just to have for outdoor cook-outs. Imagine being able to prepare an entire meal for a family picnic without needing to walk back into the house a bunch of times because you forgot something, have to rinse a dish out, or need to stir a pot on the stove!

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, check out the Grub Hub USA Camp Kitchen review from A Ladybug on the Go, visible here: (A.L.L. Review)

This giveaway may have expired, but we still have lots of currently running contests available for you to enter! Check out our link up on the Giveaways tab featuring giveaways from around the internet! (And congratulations to the Prepare 4 The Wild giveaway winner, that is an awesome camping set up!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Swiffer Dusters Kit Review & Coupons

Recently I was given the chance to sample and review some P&G products for free, courtesy of SheSpeaks.  One of the products in my package was a Swiffer Dusters Kit.

I've always wanted to try the Swiffer. They always looks so handy and perfect in the TV commercials, wiping away every last ounce of grime while the lady of the house dances around, cleaning happily. I have to say, I was a little bit let down by the actual product. 

I didn't hate it. I liked it. I'd say it was pretty darn convenient even... but it wasn't a replacement for a bottle of lemon-scented Pledge and a good ole cloth rag. As the ultimate test I could put the Swiffer through, I decided to tackle my ceiling fan blades. We can always tell how dusty it is in the house by how dusty the fan blades are. For some reason the dust just seems to magnetize to them.

This is a chore I absolutely must do each week, and I hate it - not just because it makes my arms unbelievably sore - but because it's difficult to wipe up the dust without it falling all over the floor. I have to be very careful about it, especially on the ceiling fans in the bedrooms, since they are directly above the beds. The last thing I want to do is sprinkle all that allergen-causing junk onto the place we sleep.

I was really hoping that the Swiffer would catch all the dust as it claims to in the commercials, but it really only catches the smaller pieces of dust. As soon as you get a little bit of a dust bunny going from a long swipe, you're toast. The 'bunny' will hop away and off of the Swiffer and onto the floor. I feel like a big part of this is because the duster is so dry, but if you have to spray cleaner before using it, that kind of defeats the purpose of an easy cleaning job.

Another thing that bothered me somewhat is that whenever I came across a "rougher" surface (like the glass hanging lamp in the picture) the dust got left in the smaller grooves and the Swiffer's fabric would catch on any textured surfaces - leaving little pieces of Swiffer all over. (Which I then had to clean off.)

I also noticed that whenever my coffee tables or fan blades or any other wood item had a rough patch of wood, the Swiffer not only snagged, but tore. It reminded me of running rough skin over a pair of nylons. Snag, snag, snag. That's a sensation akin to nails on a chalkboard for me. After a little while I just started steering clear of any old-looking wood.

I did however, love the fact that it was easy to use. It worked great on the smaller dusting jobs (like around the edges of clocks or cabinets). And it is definitely something that would come in handy if I wanted some help around the house. It would be more than simple to hand one to my husband, point at the house and tell him to dust as much as he could with the one I've given him. Even the kids could do it, that's how easy it was to use.

I will probably keep some of these on hand for lighter dusting jobs and it can replace the Pledge rag for dusting my mother-in-law's knickknack shelves. (There are few things I hate so much as *spray* *move figurine* *swipe* *move figurine back* *repeat with the other twenty items*) It was great to be able to use the Swiffer with one hand and just move stuff around with the other. So convenient!

So bottom line, you can't just pitch all your other supplies in lieu of the Swiffer, but it can definitely make your life a lot easier when it comes to certain jobs. And it will certainly come in useful on days you can wrangle your hubby into doing a bit of work for you!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Grillin' (Expired Giveaway)

I can still remember the first time I knew the difference between food cooked on the stove and food cooked on the grill. My mom and dad had decided to have a few of the family over - I think it was for my mom's birthday, or maybe Father's Day - and they really went all-out with the meal. I remember we had mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh green beans, watermelon... and grilled pork chops. I'm sure I had eaten food off the grill at some point before this, but for some reason, it didn't really stick in my child-brain until this moment. Suddenly, food off the grill seemed like the most perfect food that there was, and I couldn't believe that we didn't cook with it every night. Now that I'm older, I know that it was because charcoal was a bit expensive for our family that we didn't have this "delicacy" every night.

A while back, Mom to Bed by 8 featured a Brinkmann Dual Function II Propane Gas and Charcoal Grill in a giveaway. I thought this was awesome, not just because grills are awesome, but because with this one  you don't have to make the choice between charcoal or propane! Between you and me, I prefer charcoal (Hank Hill would hate me). I just think it tastes better. But I also think it's more inconvenient. Suddenly you have to make sure you have lighter fluid and coal on hand all the time, and then you have to be careful about how you light the grill even - nobody likes lighter-fluid-flavored burgers. Yuck! My husband, however, loves propane. He likes the convenience of it, even though he knows that he's sacrificing a little on taste. So what do you think? Gas or charcoal? Are you split in the middle in your family too? Check out the grill in the link above, it could be just what you're looking for!


This giveaway was co-hosted by: Ultimate Coupon Club, My Dairy Free Gluten Free Life, The Savings Wife, Oh! My Heartsie Reviews, A Medic's World, Monica's Rants Raves Reviews, Beauty Brite and Baby Costcutters.

This giveaway is over, but that doesn't mean that there aren't lots of great giveaways to enter on our site! Click the Giveaways tab at the top of the page to see tons of current contests from around the internet! Good luck, and congratulations to those who won in the Good Grillin' Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. MasterofMom.com is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Cuddle Up Outdoors (Expired Giveaway)

Can you believe it's summer time again already? I can't believe that it's almost time for school to let out and vacations to start. When I was younger, my family would pack up and go to Cedar Point every single year. Unfortunately, we only had the one camper, and more often than not, there were more of us than there were spaces in it to sleep. If grandma & grandpa didn't come along with their 5th wheel, well, some of us got stuck sleeping in the van. That sounds worse than what it really was of course. We had a huge van, great for hauling stuff. The back of it was perfect for stretching out a couple of sleeping bags. Usually my brother and I were the two that got stuck in the back of the van, and more often than not we'd spend the night talking and punching each other sibling-style.

Cuddle up Outdoors ButtonLooking back, some of my best times were when our whole family was camped out there at Cedar Point. I have always thought of it as my family's special place, and I can't wait until my own family is big enough to go there. We can't afford a camper right now though, so when we do go, we'll probably end up putting up a tent. A while ago, we featured a giveaway on our site that had a giant sleeping bag as a prize. All I could think is how perfect it would be for us to take tent-camping! Especially since our family is still pretty small, and the kids love to sleep in bed with us. As a bonus, one sleeping bag means that there is less to pack, and more room for packing other important things, like bug spray or cheese puffs for middle-of-the-night snacking!
The giveaway for the giant sleeping bag is over, but if you want to check it out and see if it's something you might want for your next camping trip, you can click on the link below to get the details from Teton Sports!

A Ladybug on the Go hosted the giveaway and had this to say about the Teton Sports Mammoth Sleeping Bag:

"This has quilting throughout and "cushioning around zipper and shoulder to keeps drafts out".  Built for two or more people it has three sided zippering for easy access from either side.  This is roughly the size of a queen mattress so you can even fit the little ones if you want!

Best of all there is a Oxford Compression Sack with Drawstring Closure to hold the sleeping back when not in use!  The "mummy style" hood holds pillows in place as you sleep!

Teton Sports "was started in 2005 in Utah with a very long not-to-do list as opposed to the traditional to-do list. We do just a few things, but we try hard to do them well."  Their short but great list of products include sleeping bags, tents, bags/backpacks, cots, and a variety of accessories."

Congratulations to the winner! If you're looking for more contests to enter, check out our Giveaways tab at the top of the page! We link up giveaways from around the internet so that you can get all your entering done in one place! Who knows, your next win could be listed here!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Unique Wedding & Anniversary Gifts

It seems like May & June are just filled with weddings every single year. Last week one of my oldest friends got married. In a couple weeks my cousin will be getting married. My Facebook feed has been full of non-stop anniversary celebrations and photos.

This means I've been hard at work creating gifts of course, something I enjoy, but I've recently considered asking some bloggers to review my work and possibly send out a coupon code for my Etsy Shop after I put up my product.

The gifts I make are custom, hand-embroidered wedding/anniversary keepsake pillows. As you can see from the pictures below, each pillow is designed by me in a process that does not involve tracing or pre-cut fabric. All designs and appliques are made by hand by me. Even the design I follow when embroidering is first written onto the pillow by hand. For this reason, they are a more expensive gift, but that makes them all the more beautiful and well-fitted to being a "displayable" keepsake. These also make wonderful ring-bearer pillows, and I'm able to include directions and a matching pin & ribbon for the pillow for those who want to use it as such.

Hand-written, hand-embroidered verse. Colors done to match a "hot pink" wedding. I purposely left the letters unconnected in certain places to make it "pop out".
Here is the pillow I'm currently working on, nearly finished. The applique in the top right was assembled by me, petal by petal to resemble a Gerber Daisy. I have nearly finished with the wording. As you can see in this picture, I have drawn an outline for myself. Nothing is traced, this has all been free-handed. I take my time to make sure my customers get their money's worth. (And the fabric only looks wrinkled because I am not ready to iron it out yet.)

Because the pillows are made almost completely of re-purposed wedding dresses, they all look different. I also buy a variety of pillow forms, so the shape is often different as well. This means that I can't guarantee that one pillow will look just like another, but it also means that I am free to customize them to very specific customer wishes. Each pillow includes one custom applique, one phrase or verse of choice, and the bride & groom first names along with the date. Extra designs, appliques, phrases or whatever else a customer would like can be included, but there is an up-charge for this.

I am currently looking for two bloggers that would like to review & promote this on their site. I would custom-sew a pillow for each blogger (it can be for your wedding/anniversary or as a gift for someone that you want to send it to), along with a special coupon code for them to distribute to their readers. Please let me know if this is something that you are interested in by emailing me at masterofmom@gmail.com.

If you are not a blogger, but are interested in purchasing a pillow, please let me know by emailing me at masterofmom@gmail.com. Current prices of a pillow are between $65 & $95 depending on the size requested (the size of the pillow in the pictures above is about 19"x13" and would probably sell for around $75). If you mention that you saw this blog post, I will knock $10 off the final price of any pillow you would like to purchase as long as the order is placed before 07/31/13.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Concerned with what foods you eat? Check out these "Qwackers"

I've really been thinking hard about the food that I'm feeding my family lately. You hear so much in the news about evil companies like Monsanto trying to use us as human guinea pigs, dangerous chemicals in our food & water, hormone supplements being given to the animals we use for meat... it can get a little troubling. Add that to the fact that we usually discover that a certain supplement or additive is causing troubles (like cancer or allergies) only after it's caused substantial damage, and one begins to wonder which food companies can even be trusted.

It seems that these days, a lot of companies view making a profit as a priority above keeping their consumers safe and healthy. That saddens me, but that means we just have to be more diligent. The more people that voice their concern and need to see that the ingredients in their foods are wholesome, the more companies will be willing to go back to the old ways of doing things. After all, we (the consumers) drive the production of new things. If we show companies that we don't want to buy their inferior product and prefer to pay thirty cents more for a brand that has no GMO's or is completely organic, they will start to get the picture as their profits go down.

If you are currently shopping to save a few pennies here and there, I would encourage you to take a second view of what your family is eating. You may save $20 a week on your grocery bill now, but the cost of health problems or weight loss later just aren't worth it! I know that to some, $20 a week is a bounty, and I understand because I've been there, but I can also testify to the fact that there are cheap ways to eat healthy if you do it right. We're doing it now in our family by making food from scratch, searching for the word "organic", "all-natural", "gluten-free" and "non-GMO" on the foods we already buy, and trying to grow as many vegetables as possible. Ever been to a farmer's market? You can most likely find one near you that you didn't even know existed, and they generally have fruits and veggies available for just as cheap or cheaper than you would find in your regular grocery. (I can snag tomatoes at $1.28 a pound and apples for about twenty cents a piece where I go.)

Now on to our featured item. For those who aren't familiar with gluten and what it does, it acts as a "glue" giving breads and other wheat products a certain elasticity. It isn't a good thing though - not by a long shot. Not only has it been shown to support the building of cancerous cells, but about 80% of the population actually makes antibodies against it and are therefore allergic to it without even realizing it. If you think you don't notice your allergic reaction, it could be because the symptoms are easily disguised as just about anything - fatigue, lowered immune system, heart problems, lowered ability to absorb vital minerals... And if you think that's bad, to top it all off gluten contains opioid peptides. You know, like the addicting substance commonly found in drugs like morphine. Ever feel like you absolutely had to buy more bread? It's because gluten contains addictive properties.

So now that you see just a tiny bit of the scary stuff involved in processed foods, you will understand my concern when I feed my son snacks such as certain fish-shaped crackers that he loves. How can I feed those to my baby knowing that I might be getting him addicted to gluten, contributing to heart disease, lowering his immune system and ability to absorb vital nutrients he needs to grow... oh and let's not forget the fact that he will be more likely to generate cancer! I can't just not give him snacks though. Eating and enjoying food is one of the important social skills and a great "fun" in life. So when I saw these gluten-free "Qwackers", I immediately said, "Awww..." and went to go buy some. The fact that Savory Savings was hosting a giveaway on the item makes me really happy, because that means we got a great opportunity to get the word out about healthy foods! The giveaway on this item already ended, but I would encourage you all to check out her review at the link below regarding these little snacks, and possibly even go buy some. Make sure you check out Krista's link below to snag their buy 4, get 1 free sale going on now!


Finding gluten-free snacks that kids actually enjoy can be crazy hard, especially when the allergy is a bit later onset and they have been exposed to regular, wheat-filled snacks in the past.  Qwackers gluten-free crackers aim to bring your munchkins delicious, cheddar cracker alternatives that are not only gluten-free, but peanut-free, too!


Krista at Savory Savings had the chance to review Qwackers, be sure to check out her full review.  Some of her favorite things about Qwackers were:
  • Gluten-free 
  • Delicious!
  • Have no sugar,
  • No corn,
  • No artificial flavors, preservatives or trans fats. 
  • The snack crackers are easy to eat, easy to carry for quick snacks and easy on the budget at around $0.80 per pack with their buy 4, get 1 free sale, these snacks are easy on the wallet, too!
This giveaway has ended, but that doesn't mean that you can't still win something! Check out our giveaways tab at the top of the page to see a list of currently running giveaways! We have giveaways linked up from all over the place - you never know what you'll find, and lots of them are low-entry! So check the page out, and please let us know if you win anything from a link you find on our site!
This giveaway is hosted by Savory Savings and Sponsored by Gluten Free Kids Co!
Would you like to win a six-pack of Qwackers for you and your family to try?  Use the giveaway tool below to enter!  This giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 and older.  It will run from May 23, 2013 at 5 PM CST through June 6, 2013 at 8 PM CST.

Savory Savings did not receive any compensation for this post.  Disclosure: I did receive the products for free and am sharing my opinion with you.  My opinion may differ from yours.  Savory Savings is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  Winner(s) will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours after the giveaway ends to respond before another winner is selected.  All entries will be verified. 
Savory Savings did not receive any compensation for this post.  Disclosure: Savory Savings did receive the products for free and is sharing her opinion with you.  My opinion may differ from yours. Savory Savings and MasterofMom.com not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  Winner(s) will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours after the giveaway ends to respond before another winner is selected.  All entries will be verified. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Congratulations to our winner!

We have a confirmed winner in the Oransi giveaway... congratulations to Nelda Gray!

As for everyone that entered, thank you so much for visiting my site and reading my review of Oransi. Don't give up trying to win those giveaways... someone has to win, and it could be you!

In other news...

I will be a bit out of touch for the next couple of days. My son's birthday is tomorrow and we will be spending most of our time with him to show him how special he is. Little guy turns three, which means he'll be given a pet of his very own (even though mom & dad will probably be the ones taking care of it!).

When he turned two, we got him some fish and explained the importance of keeping them alive and being nice to them and feeding them every day. He did an awesome job with his "concern" for the fish, and didn't lose a single one! I think that giving kids responsibility early on allows them to just develop responsibility quicker. Yes, it is more of a pain on the parents to do the things that a child can't, like cleaning a fish tank, or assisting with dog-walks, but it's so worth it to know that our son has an interest in a living being and is learning to take care of it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I am a procrastinator - Centrum Vitamin Review & Coupon

I'm a procrastinator - not by choice, but because my brain is just wired that way. When I was younger, my granny frequently shook her head at me when she thought I was "avoiding" chores, but in reality I have A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder). I can remember taking different medications for it when I was a kid, and eventually I decided I would rather just combat it on my own.

However empowering my decision may appear though, it doesn't mean I'm necessarily "better" this way. My decision mainly stems from the fact that I want to breastfeed, and I wouldn't be able to do that if I was taking medications. My biggest problem comes with remembering things. It's not that I'm a forgetful person necessarily, it's that my brain chooses to go off on an "ooh shiny" moment whenever I'm in the middle of doing something. Laundry is forgotten in the wash and is re-washed three or four times before I (finally) remember to go back and stuff it in the dryer. Dishes are left half-washed because I wandered away to grab something and forgot to go back and finish. And pills are not taken because when I go to the kitchen to get a glass of water, I literally forget what I'm doing in there and end up getting a snack, starting dinner or doing dishes. (Who left these half-washed dishes in here anyhow?!? Oh... right.)

As you might imagine, I have never been a good vitamin taker because of this (or any kind of pill-taker for that matter). On visits to the obstetrician while I was pregnant I always evaded their "Are-you-taking-your-prenatal-vitamins?" question with a sly, "I have some at home." I wasn't remembering to take them of course, but I did have them.

So when I got the chance to take the new Centrum Flavor Burst vitamins - which are chewables for adults - I hopped on board. I was given a free sample to try from Smiley360, just for being a member and responding with my review of the product on their website! I loved these so much though, I decided to take it a step further with a blog post. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.

First of all, the vitamins were delicious. They reminded me of Laffy Taffy, except in a candy-coated shell. I'm actually not one to sit around and eat candy - I just don't have that much of a sweet tooth. But these were just the right amount of sweet for me. I have to admit, as sweet as they were, I was doubting that I would notice any difference in how my body felt, but I was wrong.

I didn't have my daily coffee on the day that I tried these out, and I was feeling terribly sluggish. I wasn't feeling very in the mood to work on my blog or do much of anything. I wanted to go back to sleep. I had hundreds of emails to go through, about twenty new products to review, and several updates to make on my site. Believe me, this was not my best of days. I took the vitamins and didn't think much else of it besides noting their taste at the time. It wasn't until later that evening I realized that I had gotten some energy from somewhere and gone through about 150 emails, checked out two more of the products, written up three blog posts and even made time to go on a walk outside with my toddler. Whoa! That is more than I get done in a day on average! I still wasn't 100% that it was all the vitamins, so you know what? I went out and bought some.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm probably not getting appropriate doses of anything. My average diet consists of coffee, coffee, whatever was left on my kid's plate, coffee, bacon-containing snack-food, healthy(ish) dinner, and maybe more coffee. I am a coffee-aholic. The only times I don't drink coffee are when I can't jump-start myself into having that first cup (I "forget" about it in the microwave) and I just sort of sluff around all day. So when I say that a vitamin makes a difference in my day, I'm not even remotely kidding. I need those extra nutrients. After I bought and began to use the vitamins, I became perfectly aware of three four things.

1) The vitamins definitely, definitely work, and I could have done a lot more in my day with a lot less coffee if I could have just remembered to take some all these years before.

2) Taking vitamins that are chewable are easier on me not just because of my A.D.D., but because I can take them anywhere without worrying about grabbing a drink first. As long as I can remember at some point to take them and keep them on me, I can make a beeline for the bottle and just take a couple before I forget again.

3) Vitamins are expensive! I apparently haven't been around to the vitamin-corner of the store in a while, but wow! I hadn't realized that they could get so pricey. These ones were $7.99 a bottle at my local Publix in Florida. I had a $2 coupon for the first bottle, but I'm going to have to scour the internet for more if I want to keep buying them. Each bottle comes with 60 vitamins, but the recommended serving is four of them each day. That means that they will cost me $16 each month. A bit more expensive than my coffee habit, but not by much and a lot more healthy, so I'm going to keep buying them. (Here is a current coupon for $2 off a bottle of Centrum Flavor Burst Adult Chews)

4) And perhaps the most important thing I learned... If you take these in front of kids, they will immediately say "I want one too!" Older kids will understand if you say "Sorry, it's a vitamin only for adults." Toddlers will not understand and may immediately begin to throw a fit, regardless of where you are or how many nearby strangers are witnessing this total-meltdown. So parents, if you take these, make sure the kids are looking the other way!

If you want to have the chance to give reviews, get free stuff and put your opinion out there, you can! Join Smiley360 today and start getting samples to try. You don't have to be a blogger, you just have to be someone who loves to try new things and tell their friends about it! Click here to go straight to Smiley360's sign-up page!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Really "Listen" to your Plants (Expired Giveaway)

Now that it's summer, I'm just itching to get outside and plant a new garden. I got my love of gardening and being outside from all the years I spent on my parents' small farm while I was growing up. We had a huge garden, and my mom planted a little bit of everything. Although my mom still gardens and loves to plant, I wouldn't say that she has a green thumb. (Sorry mom!) I remember telling my dad one year that I wanted to get mom a pot of violets for her birthday, and he promptly replied, "Don't buy an indoor plant, get something for outdoors. If God can't take care of it, your mom will kill it." It was funny and amusing then (okay so it's still funny now!), but it made me wonder if it could really be all that hard to take care of a plant indoors. I've found that (sadly), yes, it is quite possibly and all too easy to kill a favorite plant just by over-watering, under-watering, not enough nutrients in the soil, wrong nutrients in the soil... It would be so much easier if the plant could just tell you what it needs before you give it the wrong thing again!

So when I saw this product, I knew I wanted to help promote it. This is one of the coolest products I've heard of in a long time! The plant sensor sends information to you about what your plant needs and then tells you what you can do to take care of it. How cool is that? Even my mom couldn't mess this one up, and I plan to give her one of these next Christmas. A Lucky Ladybug hosted a giveaway for this product, and I got to be her co-host! The giveaway has ended, but you can still read her review at the link below! So check it out, who knows, this might be just what you've been looking for!!

"Thanks to the unique Plant Care Engine (PCE), Koubachi is able to advise you about everything your plant needs: water, fertilizer, hu­mi­di­ty, temperature and light! Koubachi not only tells you WHEN to care for your plants, but also gives you specific instructions HOW."

"Access your plants on the iPhone or Web App, always and everywhere. Notifications, advices and alarms are directly sent to you, through push-notifications on your iPhone or by e-mail. All your data, plants and settings are fully syn­chro­nized to the Koubachi Cloud and thus always up-to-date on all devices!"

... and congratulations to the giveaway winner! Still looking for some giveaways to enter? Check out the tab at the top of the page to see all the currently running giveaways we're linking to!

This giveaway was
Hosted by:
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Plummet Falls Adventure Waterslide (Expired Giveaway)

"Can we go to the beach, mom?"

This is a phrase I've heard almost daily for the past week - a sure sign that summer is upon us. You know it's hot when your two-year-old asks you to turn up the air conditioning! Down here in Florida, the summer seems to sneak up. One day it's hot, the next day it's really hot. Before you know it, the kids are running around in their underclothes and you're wishing you could do the same!

Unfortunately, going to the beach everyday isn't possible for our family, so last summer we bought our son a kiddie pool. That definitely seems to take the edge off the heat on a long day, and it always puts him in a happy mood. And if he's happy, my day just goes easier.

If you're looking for some backyard water-fun to entertain your kids, why not think about investing in a backyard waterslide? Products like these are the ones that keep your kids where you can see them at all times - right in your yard! Plus, you'll be the coolest parents on the block, and your home will become kid central!

Mom to Bed by 8 recently organized a giveaway for one of these waterslides. The giveaway is over, but that doesn't mean you can't still check out the product! Follow the link below to see what Amazon has to say about this product, then check out some currently running giveaways by clicking on the Giveaways tab on the top of the page!

"The Plummet Falls water slide/pool allows kids to plummet down the Banzai waterslide, refresh in the splash pool and get drenched in the falls, all without leaving the backyard. This water slide park comes with everything you need for hours of summertime fun."

This Summer Adventure Event featuring Banzai Plummet Falls Adventure Slide Water Park has ended! The event was organized by: Mom to Bed by 8

A special thank you to the co-hosts: Celebrate Woman Today, Capri's Coupons, Jack of all trades, Master of Mom (that's me!) and The Nurse Mommy.

... and congratulations to the winner!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ooh-La-La-LASHES! Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Review

Oh make-up. How can I live without you? When I was younger, I didn't think too much of make-up. My mom told me that I didn't need it, and I believed her. In all honesty, I didn't need it at that age. Not even a little. I had that fresh, young, glow of youth and innocence about me. I didn't have stress, so I didn't have wrinkles. I lived on a farm and had time to play outside, so my complexion always had that sun-kissed effect. I had ruddy cheeks from running around with my siblings and getting a fair amount of exercise. And if the truth must be known, I was a notorious lip-biter which led to my lips constantly looking plump and colorful.

Fast forward fifteen years. I have two kids. The last time I 'worked-out' was yesterday when I bent down (grunting) to put away my son's toys. I have (to my horror) kinks and crinkles working their way around the corner of my eyes and laugh lines. When I go outside, I blink like a mole, and my husband likes to tell me that I'm the palest person in Florida. In short, I'm a mom with little to no time for herself. (Is there a different kind of mom?) I may not have needed make-up as a girl, but I need it now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for make-up-less days and natural beauty, but the best way for me to instantly feel good about myself is for me to see myself looking good. Problem is, there are so many brands of make-up out there, it can become difficult to decide what works best for you. Even worse (if you're like me), you'll pick one that works for you at one point in time, and then forget to look for something different when your situation changes. That's what happened to me while I was pregnant.

My one must-have-cannot-live-without-make-up-item is definitely mascara. I have long, long lashes, and they curl all on their own. I need that mascara though because my gorgeous lashes turn pale blond about half-way up! This leaves me looking like I have little, stubby half-lashes, and there is nothing sexy about stubby lashes. (At least not on me there isn't.)

When I became pregnant with baby #2, I started crying profusely. I mean, it got to the point that if I was watching a commercial and there was a baby anywhere in it, I would bawl. If we were out in public and I saw a baby in a stroller, I'd tear up right there. It was a little ridiculous. The result? My mascara ran everywhere. So I switched to Covergirl's Lash Blast 24 Hour. It worked awesome. My tears flowed freely but my mascara didn't. One thing about the 24 Hour remedy though, is that it was thicker than the mascara I was used to, and I had to comb my lashes out a little after applying it. That was fine of course, I had the time to do things like that. After I had the baby though, my time went out the window completely. I barely had time to put the mascara on, I really didn't have time to comb them out!

I had forgotten a big rule about make-up. If your situation suddenly changes, your make-up might have to change too! Luckily, I was given the chance to try some of P&G's Best-Loved Products, courtesy of SheSpeaks! In return for my honest reviews, I was given several products to try for free - and Covergirl's Lash Blast Volume was one of them! To see my full disclosure policy, please see the tab titled, 'Let me disclose to you'.

I have to say, getting this mascara was a BIG wake-up call for me in the make-up arena. Not only am I currently going through all my other products now to see what sort of changes I need to make, but I am rocking this Lash Blast Volume mascara. It doesn't need combing out (which saves me time!), it makes my lashes look thick without the product being thick, and I think that the thinner application brings more focus to my pretty hazel eyes. Here is the picture I took of me wearing both kinds of mascara, and neither has been combed out.

Lash Blast Volume on this side... and Lash Blast 24 Hour on this side.
I think the thing I love the most is that the Lash Blast Volume feels lighter on my lashes and I can't even tell I'm wearing mascara. So what do you think? When was the last time you updated your can't-live without beauty product?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Children's Book Reviews (Expired Toys R Us Giveaway)

So did we all have a great Mother's Day? I'm sure you all got the naps you asked for, your husbands did the cooking and the dishes, and your kids were perfect little angels, right? No? That's odd, it didn't happen in our house either!

We did have a great day though, the family came over and we women cooked indoors while the men grilled outside. The kids all had fun and made an awful mess all over the house, and the day was wonderfully full of life and all the great things about being a mom. I hope you all had great days as well. Now it's back to thinking about others (as if we really stopped that at all yesterday) and what we can do for them. We mommies (and dads too!) tend to care so much for our kids that sometimes we nearly break the bank just trying to keep up with educational toys or giving them a treat!

The giveaway for Toys R Us has already ended, but don't let that stop you from checking out the great books below. You can buy the books on Amazon, or look for them in a library near you!

Still want to enter a giveaway? Check out the giveaways tab at the top of the page, or just click here to go straight there! Good luck!


Carole P. Roman recently released her fourth book in her Captain No Beard series.

This cute tale of the Captain and his crew not only teaches about strangers with the addition of Cabin Girl Cayla, but also about the importance of not judging people by the way they appear. Be sure to check out "Captain No Beard: Strangers on the High Seas".

And check out the second book in her series about countries around the world: "If You Were Me and Lived in...France - A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World".

Each book covers a different nation which opens up a new world of culture and diversity to children. The books focus on life from a child's viewpoint to put things into an easy perspective for young minds.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

No more chemicals in my food please...

Lately I've been hearing more and more about Monsanto, the evil chemical corporation that is genetically engineering most of our foods these days. And I didn't just toss the word "evil" in there as a matter of opinion. Google the words "Monsanto evil" for yourself and you'll see a never-ending plethora of results that lead to pages outlining the terrifying things Monsanto has done - like suing poor farmers for their entire life's savings, or worse, knowingly feeding uranium to pregnant women.

Monsanto has been in the news a multitude of times lately, especially after the recent bill passed (that the President signed into law) making it so that even if Monsanto's GMO products are shown to cause harmful effects on humans, the government can't stop them from feeding them to the people. That's right. Even if the government tells them it is now against the law to manufacture their chemically altered seeds, they can keep doing it anyway, and continue selling the resulting altered foods in stores to unknowing buyers.

It seems like the easy way around this would be to simply stop buying products that contained GMO foods. For those who don't know what a GMO food is, basically, Monsanto has engineered seeds that have their own form of pesticide contained within, and are resistant to chemicals like Round-up. (Yes, Round-up, the dangerous chemical that - surprise, surprise - Monsanto also manufactures.) Here is the problem. Regardless of multiple petitions against Monsanto and towards the FDA, the government refuses to require foods to be labeled as containing GMO's. You are eating them everyday, and you just don't know it. Ever stop and wonder why the foods don't taste as good as they used to, or why mysterious health problems (such as being unable to absorb iodine) pop up more and more? It's the GMO's.

"But wait!", you might say, "Isn't the food obviously safe since they are feeding it to humans? I mean, it's been tested for long-term effects, right?" Here's the kicker: You are the test. You are the unwilling experimental guinea pig being fed foods that have been chemically altered. These foods don't taste better. They don't provide more nutritional benefit. They certainly can't be promoting good health. The perk is that they literally make Monsanto money. Because the seeds and plants are resistant to Round-up, farmers can easily spray loads of Round-up (which Monsanto makes, remember) onto the plants. The plants live, the weeds and bugs around them die. Easy for the farmer, double money for Monsanto. And when I say double money I really mean more like a never-ending cascade of money for Monsanto. This is because they have also conveniently patented their seeds - yes, that's right! They took it upon themselves to patent the very source of all life, seeds!!! This means farmers are not allowed to save seeds as they usually would. They have to go to Monsanto every single year to buy more seeds for the next planting. That doesn't mean that nature won't blow the seeds into nearby farms, and guess what? Any farms that have been found by Monsanto to have any of their special seeds but didn't sign the contract to grow them have been sued into bankruptcy. They don't care that Mother Nature is the one that made the planting. To them, all's fair when it comes to getting their money.

Still, they must have some sort of platform to stand upon, right? I mean, it's not like anyone is doing anything about it. I think if it was a big deal, someone would do something about it. Well, it is a big deal, and lots of people are doing things about it, but it just doesn't matter. Media journalists that have reported the truth about it in mainstream media have been fired and even sued for speaking the truth. The government and Monsanto seem to be great friends, so we can find no help from that quarter. The farmers who speak out against Monsanto and the troubles that they've found are quickly silenced by lawsuits and ridden straight into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Monsanto only stands to gain more money.

So how can we stop them? By speaking out. By placing petitions on Whitehouse.org. By telling our friends, family and neighbors. By doing our own research online and then writing the companies that produce our food to let them know that we want our food labeled as GMO, or even better, we want them to stop using GMO's.

As for this family, we're doing our small part to save ourselves from the dangers we feel are lurking in the near future. We've switched to organic foods, and with some help we hope that we will be able to stick with it. Yes, it is a little more expensive. But it will also help us with things like portion control and adding more vegetables and fruits (which are typically cheaper) into our diets. Have you ever been to a farmer's market? The foods there are traditionally organic, and they are often cheaper or just as expensive as the local grocery. I'm thinking of starting a separate blog dedicated specifically to finding out which companies provide non-GMO options and encouraging more companies to switch back to non-GMO foods if they really refuse to label. Until the FDA requires labeling on all GMO foods, the best we can do is seek out the companies that take pride in labeling their foods as a non-GMO. The funny thing is - you don't see companies willingly labeling their foods as containing GMO's, and with good reason. They know it's not appealing to us as consumers, and they know we aren't thrilled about putting chemicals into our bodies.

So next time you're at the grocery store, really think about everything you are putting in your cart. Every time you see something without the words "non-GMO" on it, you have to assume it contains GMO's. Do you really want your family eating something that is immune to pesticide?

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Mommy Fantasy

When I was younger, I day dreamed constantly about being a mother. I day dreamed about the look of pure joy on my husband's face when I told him I was pregnant. I dreamed about how I'd just glow all through my pregnancy, maneuvering through that delicate time with the utmost grace and poise. I'd be the image of perfectly contented mommy-to-be. And then of course when my little one came into this world, it would be just as easy - I'd miraculously overcome the pain. My husband would beam at me and tell me I was the most beautiful woman in the world and then we'd go on to raise our little children in the most perfect way possible.

Are any of you still there or are you doubled over laughing right now? Sadly, that is so absolutely the way I day-dreamed my life would be. Me. The oldest of nine children. Apparently watching my mother overcome all sorts of struggles did nothing to dampen my spirits. (She made it look so easy, I actually thought I could do one better, HA!)

The reality is that my husband threw up when he found out about baby #2 (this was after he stared at the wall for about five minutes). I didn't glow through pregnancy. I got injured during the last one in a car accident and could barely move. When I did move, I waddled. I was not a perfect image of any sort of mommy. I had crazy mood swings, I would yell at my husband and then cry with my toddler. And when it came time to have the baby, the only thing I overcame was the hurt feelings of having to get another c-section rather than having my baby naturally.

As for having perfect little children and being the perfect mother? Not a chance. Not even a little one. Yesterday my son kissed the baby and then poked her in the eye. The day before that he was pretending to be Batman and super-hero-leaped himself right off a chair and down the step. Where was mommy? Two feet away but not quick enough to catch him. Last night I snuggled the baby, fell asleep with her and woke up with both of us covered in pee. (Hers, not mine thankfully!)

This house is 85% chaos and "going with-the-flow"and 15% things going exactly the way they were supposed to. Honestly though? I love it. I love finding crayon artwork on the wall and seeing my son proudly show it off. I love that my daughter blows spitty bubbles out of her mouth and all over my clean shirt in her excitement to communicate with me. I adore that my son is trying out his problem-solving skills by putting electronic toys into the washing machine after he hears that they are "dirty". I love the small accomplishments in the seeming-mistakes.

My mommy fantasy is no longer for things to be perfect. Now my fantasy is just to get through each week with no serious injuries and something accomplished each day, no matter how small. My fantasy is now for my husband and I to keep growing in the deep love that older relationships have rather than the Hollywood-romance scenes that played out in my head as a youth. My fantasy is for my kids to grow up feeling that they can do anything, and my husband and I to grow old feeling like we have done everything. If I could just accomplish that, I'd say I'll have done alright.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Everyone has time for selfishness

Selfish. That's one of those things that everyone is from time to time, but no one wants to admit they are. It's not a good thing, it's one of those things that people are embarrassed about and try to cover up or hide. No one ever brags about being selfish. But it still happens.

Last night I was point-blank accused of being selfish by the one person I have promised to devote my life to thinking of: My husband.

Now, my initial reaction was to protest. When we are faced with an ugly accusation about ourselves, our immediate response is to go on the defense.

"I've been working hard," I told him. "I'm trying to make money for our family. I'm trying to keep the house clean. I'm dealing with the kids."

My second reaction was, of course, to get angry. "You're not exactly perfect yourself, you know!" I snapped back at him. "You sit on the computer for hours on end and don't bother to help, and you don't always help me with the kids when I ask, and you make messes all over the place that I have to clean up!"

In the end, we realized we were both being selfish with our time. I sat around and thought about it a while, pondering the thought that I am constantly telling people (usually him), "I have no time! I'm so busy! I just can't do it this week!" But am I really that short on time? Or am I just choosing to do the things that I want to do the most? You guessed it. I've been blogging (which I love) and skimping out on time with my hubby and phone calls with my mom. It's not that I don't love my husband, or that I don't enjoy talking with my mom... it's that I've been selfish with my time lately.

Some might think I'm taking a harsh view of myself here, but I can look back in the week and see several times when I pushed off stuff with others for stuff that would satisfy me and me alone. My options are to keep on being selfish (which will continue to give my hubby hurt feelings) or to fix it. Obviously, I decided to fix it, and the hubby and I have implemented a new "game" as of last night that we hope will put an end to selfishness on both sides. I'd like to encourage others to play this game and let me know how (and if) it helps out their relationship with a significant other!

My husband I made up the rules last night as we were discussing our problem, so tweaks may be needed, but here is the basic idea of this "game". Once a day, either partner calls a halt to the daily activities and requests an hour of time. If something urgent is going on (like dinner is cooking, or children are being bathed), that activity can continue until finished but both partners have to be involved in it. For the next hour, everything that is done gets done together. If there is no urgent activity going on, one partner can pick what to do for the hour and that privilege of activity-picking will rotate every other day.

So what do you think? Tell me what you would do if you got to pick anything for a whole hour!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How-to Get Rid of Cradle Cap!

Cradle cap. Lots of babies get it at one point or another, and if your baby has it, don't feel bad. You haven't done anything wrong as a momma, and the reasons behind it are most likely hormone-related. Of course, that doesn't stop those who are uneducated about cradle cap from thinking that your baby has a disease and/or that you don't wash your baby often enough.

So the best thing to do seems to be to just get rid of it. But how? If you do a web search, some sites will actually tell you to peel the scales off with your fingernails, but I advise against that. For one, your baby can't be happy having you pick at their head. Secondly, what happens if you slip? You run the risk of accidentally digging your fingernail into baby's soft skin - ouch!

Outlined here, I've put my tried and true method of getting rid of cradle cap. Best of all, it's a great opportunity for you and baby to bond, and most babies love the feel of the mini-massage they get with the soft brush. (Before we go any further, I just want to point out that I do mention the fact that I use Ivory 2-in-1 below, and in an effort to disclose, I want my readers to know that I received the product to check out for free from Influenster. For more on my disclosure policy, click here. Now read on for my awesome cradle-cap removal how-to!) 

Step 1) Assemble your tools. You don't want to get half-way through baby's bath, only to realize that you left something in another room. I'm sure it goes without saying (because we're all smart parents, right?), but never ever leave a baby unattended in a bath, not even for a few seconds. Here's what you'll need to grab: olive oil, a towel, a soft bristled brush (the kind specifically made for babies), a warm & fuzzy towel, washcloth, and soap.

Step 2) About 20 minutes before you are going to give baby a bath, gently rub some olive oil into her scalp. This isn't meant to be an intense rubbing, and a little goes a long way. I don't use more than a teaspoon or so on my baby's head when I treat her cradle cap. Leave the olive oil on for about 20 minutes.

Step 3) Prepare the bath. Make sure that you don't lay the baby on anything that could possibly stain. His little head is covered in olive oil right now, and oil can ruin fabric. I recommend letting another adult hold him (if possible) while you get the water to the right temperature.

Step 4) Begin to wash the baby just like you usually would, but save the hair for last. I was recently given a bottle of Ivory 2-in-1 (for hair & body) for free from Influenster, and I've found that not only is it gentle enough for the baby's skin and hair, but it saves me the hassle of having to deal with two different products - which is pretty nice when you have a slippery baby to think about. Plus it smells really good and it didn't dry the baby's skin out - she feels as soft as, well, as a baby.

When you are ready to wash your baby's hair, get a handful of water and just barely wet her hair. Now take her out of the bath, and roll her up like a burrito in the towel.

Step 5) With your little one in front of you, add shampoo to his hair and use the brush in a soft, circular motion. When you have baby's hair nice and sudsy, it's time to rinse him in the tub.

Step 6) If you have control over the temperature of the water in your home (in other words, the temperature will not suddenly fluctuate due to toilet flushing), I always recommend this form of rinsing baby's hair. It keeps soap and water out of their eyes and is a lot easier than holding them half-upright with one hand while you (try to) use the other hand to rinse their hair. Keeping baby in the towel-burrito, put him or her under your arm like a football. Make sure to support their body with your arm and their neck with your hand. Turn on the water and make sure it isn't too hot or too cold. Rinse baby's hair underneath the running water.

While rinsing, use the brush to get the bubbles out. Not only will this clean the soap out of the brush, but it makes sure there is no soap (or olive oil) left in baby's hair.

Step 7) After all the soap has been rinsed out, sit down in a quiet corner with your baby. Lightly pat (don't rub) his hair dry. Now use the brush to give baby a mini-massage by going in soft and gentle circular motions.

As you brush his hair, not only will you notice that much of the cradle cap will begin to flake off as it dries, but you will also notice that as the cradle cap comes off, brand-new shiny baby hair will be released from underneath.

Many times the growth of new hair will get stuck inside or underneath the oily growth of cradle cap, and this process of gently removing the scales will allow it to come free without accidentally pulling it out. (Which is another reason to avoid removing the scales with your fingernails!) This should cause your baby's hair to look thicker than it was before. My daughter had several "bald-looking" spots that went away after I did this with her. Plus, her hair smelled & looked clean and fresh!

Don't worry if all the cradle cap doesn't come off in one try. Wait a day and then do it again, and the remainder should be removed. Even if you only treat once, remaining scales will usually fall off on their own and flake away during the course of the following days. If your baby's cradle cap comes back, retreating is as simple as repeating the above process. It may be tempting to leave oil on baby's scalp to try and "nourish" it, and it may also be tempting to pick at baby's scales, but please don't. Picking at the scales may cause fresh hair to be pulled out with it, and putting oil on the scalp when you don't intend to wash it off will actually provide a platform for the scales to build on.

Hopefully these tips help anyone out there who is struggling with this. I treat my kids using this method and their scalps always come out looking fantastic! Let me know if you try this and how it works for you. I love to talk with my readers, feel free to leave questions and comments below!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Helping Hands Giving Hope (Expired Giveaway)

Every day, hundreds of people are sexually assaulted in the U.S. alone. Statistics have shown that during the time it will take to read this post, chances are that another person will suffer from this type of abuse. The saddest part is, we will never truly know how many out there are in need of help - experts estimate that as much as 54% of abuse cases have gone unreported in past years. While we can't turn back time and stop the events of the past, we can help those who have gone through this experience by providing support, hope, and love. Keep reading to find the link to Jenn's site that will outline the awesome partnership between School of Wash and LilyPad. They were so pumped up by their mission that they even had a giveaway to bring awareness to their cause. The giveaway is over, but you can still find ways to support them in their mission by visiting the link below!

(References: Rainn.org; Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)

School of Wash has started a campaign to raise money to donate over 1,600 body products to sexually abused women and children.  These women and children want nothing more then to wash the assault away and School of Wash wants to give them a helping hand in doing that by offer wonderful products to them.  Find out more about this campaign and what you can do to help.

The Helping Hands Giving Hope Giveaway was hosted by School of Wash & Jenn, Mom of Two Munchkins

... and congratulations to the winner! To find our currently running giveaways, please click on the Giveaways tab at the top of the page!

Jenn, Mom Of Two Munchkins and MasterofMom.com are not responsible for shipping of prize.  School of Wash has the sole responsibility for shipping of prize. Prize value is approximately $250  .Prizes may be shipped separately.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sounds of my childhood

When I was kid - a mere two decades ago - I distinctly remember the sound of my mother calling me into the house for dinner. She usually had to holler pretty loudly, standing on the back porch step before heading back inside. She always trusted that we would just show up a few minutes later, and never had to worry about where we were.

Today, this amazes me. We lived on a small farm that had fields in every direction. When I think back on where we were many of those times, as opposed to where we lived, the reality of it frightens and astounds me. We didn't have any cellphones - mom didn't have a way to get a message to us, or ask how far we were going, or even pin-point where we had gone. I actually google-mapped what I considered my play-territory as a child, and from the sky, the expanse seems intimidating. I can't believe my legs ever wandered that far!

As you might imagine, the sound of our mother's voice didn't always reach us. Whenever we didn't show up, she'd get on the telephone. Back then, people knew their neighbors and their phone numbers, and this is the reason why. Mom would call the closest neighbors first, to see if we'd stopped in to beg a treat or a drink while we were out and about. Sometimes if we hadn't stopped in, the neighbors would just have happened to hear or see us out the windows anyhow. (We were a rowdy bunch.) After mom figured out which direction we were heading, it was a simple thing to either guess where we had gone, or call more neighbors in that area to pinpoint a spot. When she knew where we'd be (or close to it), she'd call someone up to send us home or recruit one of the other kids to run after us. More often than not the nearest neighbor would just come out their back door and yell at us, "Hey! Your mom wants you home!". Then we'd scatter. It didn't matter how many other farm kids you'd picked up along the way, when one mom wanted you home, it was time for everyone to check in.

When I was a kid I didn't see anything wrong or worrisome about any of this. It was just the norm. Now, when I think about my own kids, I feel guilty about the amount of time they spend inside and I feel bad that they don't get the same out-of-doors experience that I did. I'm afraid to let my son play in the backyard unattended, let alone a mile away! Granted, we live in the suburbs right now, but I think I'd be even more worried by the knowledge that he could be in the middle of a field somewhere, or lost in a woods. Even I can remember a few times as a child that I thought I was lost (although I told the other kids I knew exactly where we were), and I was very relieved when things started to look familiar again.

It's hard to believe that this was the way of things just 20 years ago. I'm not an old woman yet, by any stretch or standard, but it seems like life has become so different so rapidly it might as well have been 60 years ago.

What does everyone else think? What's the biggest change you see in today's children vs. your own childhood?