Category Archives: For the Family

JOLLY TIME Smart Balance Pop Corn Review!

It’s time to snack happy with JOLLY TIME Smart Balance Pop Corn!  This is a tasty and timeless treat you won’t feel guilty snacking on!  If you are health-conscious but love flavorful foods, you’ll be in for a real treat!

Instead of reaching for something unhealthy for you and your kids to munch on, try JOLLY TIME Butter and Butter Light Microwave Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance unique blend of oils.  Independent, online research found that consumers trust the Smart balance name.  I know I’m one of them!

Not only is this popcorn mouth-watering and buttery, it also naturally has ZERO grams of trans fat and absolutely NO hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.  JOLLY TIME Pop Corn is even gluten-free and is an excellent way to add whole grains into your diet!  Imagine my surprise when my whole family couldn’t get enough of JOLLY TIME Smart Balance Pop Corn.  It’s delicious!

The Smart Balance blend is licensed exclusively for use in JOLLY TIME Pop Corn and contains a unique blend of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats.  The Smart Balance brand provides superior tasting, heart healthier alternatives in many product categories by avoiding trans fats naturally, balancing fats and/or reducing saturated fats, and adding beneficial ingredients that people may be missing in their diets.  You can find JOLLY TIME Pop Corn made with the Smart Balance unique blend at select U.S. retailers in 3 pack boxes and individual trial bags.

Each week until July 15, fans of JOLLY TIME on Facebook, can enter to win a thematic prize or one of 75 free JOLLY TIME Popcorn made with Smart Balance product coupons.  Find JOLLY TIME on Twitter too!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws Review!

Do you remember my post awhile back about straws?  Little did I know that I could cut down waste by introducing my children to reusable stainless steel drinking straws!

Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws have helped us cut down on waste but have also kept dangerous chemicals out of my children’s mouths.  Plastic straws contain toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates.  Epica’s food-safe stainless steel is completely safe and won’t damage your health.  Made from 18/10 stainless steel, these straws won’t rust, scratch, chip, or break.  You can expect to see these straws look just as good as new for years to come.

These straws are dishwasher safe or can be hand washed with the included cleaning brush.  The included cleaning brush can even be used to clean out other reusable straws you may have around your house, such as sippy cup straws.

Think about how many straws end up in a landfill each year.  You and your family can cut down on waste and sip in style.  Epica’s Stainless Steel Drinking Straws are bent just like plastic straws and feature an angled top for easy drinking.  I think they are so stylish and my kids have ditched plastic straws and will only use these!  They work perfectly in the cups with lids we commonly use too!

Make the switch to Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws – they are healthier, kinder to the environment, and just plain cool!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Soothing Company Brazilian Style Hammock Review!

Soothing Company is a website that offers hundreds of soothing products for your home or garden.  They even have a website, Soothing Walls, that offers a large selection of water fountains.  A Brazilian Style Hammock is just one of the products they offer to help you soothe away your worries!

When thinking about ways to unwind, what are some things that come to mind?  Reading a book?  Taking a bath?  How about relaxing out in nature in a strong, comfortable, breathable fabric hammock?  Soothing Company has just what you need!
This Brazilian Style Hammock comes with everything you need to start relaxing and unwinding.  Contained inside the drawstring carry bag are metal eye screws and hooks.
These thick rope loops reinforced with metal on the inside assure me that this hammock is built to last!
At 3’4″ wide and 6’5″ long, you’ll be able to stretch out and enjoy this hammock.  The overall total length of the hammock is 9’3″ long and will hold up to 220 pounds!
Look at these colors!  I love the Guacamole fabric choice I selected!  There are so many other color selections to choose from too!

While I have not had the chance to get my hammock set up from Soothing Company (my trees are a little farther apart than I thought), I am rather excited to try it out in the near future.  You may even consider purchasing a hammock stand which can also be found on Soothing Company’s website!  I see relaxing in my hammock in my near future and maybe you will too!

Junior Monet Review!

Junior Monet transforms your child’s artwork into a precious keepsake that can be displayed on a customized product of your choosing.  Celebrate your child’s artwork with Junior Monet!

My children all have one thing in common and that is their love for drawing, coloring, or painting.  Whether they are doodling on their tablets, in color books, on plain paper, or in sketchbooks, it’s one thing they can do without fighting!  I have boxes and boxes filled with artwork created by my children that I just cannot bring myself to throw out.  It’s so amazing to dig out and reminisce on the days when they were little and just beginning to be able to draw.  I now love watching my 3 year old’s creativity take over a plain piece of paper.  She could paint for hours on a nice sunny day at our patio table.

It was a rainy morning.  My little artists, still in PJs, were excited to sit down and begin creating their one of a kind artwork.  Loaded with colored pencils, markers, crayons, and rulers, my kiddos were ready.  They were so quiet and so engulfed in their artwork.  It was nice to have a little piece and quiet – and no arguing except for the occasional tiff over someone having a color that the other wanted to use.

Junior Monet is great because I can proudly display my children’s artwork rather than store it in a box in the basement.  I simply mailed in their completed sheets to Junior Monet and in a few days received a code to view their artwork online.  Junior Monet scans the items online for easy viewing.  From there, I was able to view the many items they have to customize with my children’s artwork.  There are tote bags, ornaments, pillows, notebooks, magnets, and so much more.

The hardest part is picking out what keepsake you want your child’s item displayed on!

I chose magnets for Morgan and Julien’s artwork and an art apron for Amaya’s.  They thought it was SO COOL to see their items transformed from a sheet of paper to something they could touch and display.  And now every time Amaya wants to create more artwork for me, she can slip on her apron customized with her drawing and name!

Junior Monet also offers a great art fundraising program designed for schools, PTA’s, churches, and nonprofits.  There’s no paperwork or order forms involved!

Let your child’s imagination run wild with paint, markers, crayons…whatever they want to use to design a special piece of artwork and turn it into a keepsake with Junior Monet!

Epica 10″ Portable Battery Operated Fan Review!

The Epica 10″ Portable Battery Operated Fan with adapter is perfect for camping, power outages, or anywhere you may not have an outlet readily available!

If you are an avid camper, have children that attend summer camp, or are in need of a portable fan, the Epica Portable Fan is truly an asset.  When we received the Epica 10″ Portable Battery Operated Fan, it was perfect timing because my step-daughter was heading off to summer camp.  She was able to easily use it near her bunk without any problems!

The Epica Fan requires 8 “D” batteries (not included) to run or, if you are near an outlet, you can use the included AC adapter.  Unlike some battery operated fans, the Epica Fan is extremely powerful and will last up to 40 hours on batteries alone.  It’s perfect to take with to outdoor sporting events that offer little to no shade or even while sitting outside sunbathing.  It’s the perfect portable fan for my daughter’s bedroom where I don’t want to run an extension cord.  Plus it’s a great size – not too big and not too small.  And don’t let the 10″ size fool you, it’s packed with power!

There are two fan speeds, low and high, for you to choose from.  I love the built in handle too.  It makes for easy carrying.  The ability to tilt the fan in whatever direction you need is another great feature.  It is actually possible to position this fan and direct the airflow in the exact direction that you need and want it!  The unique U-shaped, anti-tip base, makes this fan extremely stable.  When loaded up with all 8 “D” batteries, it provides extra weight and stability.

All in all, this is the perfect fan for many different situations.  I feel extremely comfortable using this around my 10 month old (with supervision) who gets super fussy in hot, humid weather.  It’s truly proven to be a valuable accessory for our family!

Whether you camp, travel, attend sporting events, enjoy the white noise of a fan to fall asleep to, need a fan for the office, or do not have an outlet close by, Epica’s Portable Fan is the best fan for the job to keep you cool and comfortable!


Spark of Amber Hazelwood and Baltic Amber Necklace Review!


Spark of Amber carries a wide variety of amazing and authentic Baltic Amber products straight from Lithuania and the Baltic region.  With fast and FREE shipping, Spark of Amber has something for everyone!

I have always believed in the powers of Baltic Amber.  When my 3 year old was teething, she always had on her Baltic Amber Teething Necklace.  Even now when she complains of her molars coming through, I’ll stick a Baltic Amber Teething Necklace on her to help take away the inflammation and pain.  You’ll see my little Olive with a Baltic Amber Teething Necklace on almost always as well.

I was excited to get my hands on one of Spark of Amber’s Tranquility Hazelwood and Baltic Amber necklaces.  I’ve heard so many great things about Hazelwood that combined with Baltic Amber, I knew this would be a powerhouse necklace.  Hazelwood has long been used in Europe as a traditional remedy to help with such ailments as eczema, heartburn, morning sickness, acid reflux, headaches, heartburn, and arthritis.  The healing oils of Baltic Amber, which is a fossilized resin, is said to relieve teething pain, tame baby’s irritability and relieve inflammation in the throat, ear, and stomach.  Baltic Amber is also greatly prized by Europeans for its claimed 100% natural anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and calming properties.

The quality of this necklace is outstanding.  This necklace was handcrafted with authentic Baltic Amber rounded beads and naturally grown Hazelwood from Lithuania.  It’s a comfortable and lightweight necklace that my 10 month old wears constantly.  She doesn’t even notice it is there most days.  I have noticed she sleeps better at night and her demeanor is much more relaxed and calm throughout the day.  Since the oils are released through contact with the skin, it’s working the whole time she has it on.  She just recently popped 4 teeth without the need of any tylenol or pain relievers!

You’ll notice that the necklace features a twist screw clasp which I find to be incredibly durable and safe.  Baltic Amber and/or Hazelwood Necklaces are not meant to be sucked on or chewed on.  They are meant to be worn against the skin to receive the most benefit!  I just tuck it in my daughter’s shirt and you’d never know it was there!

A lot of places sell Baltic Amber but Spark of Amber ensures their Baltic Amber is authentic.  They even quality test all jewelry before shipment.  Plus they offer FREE shipping.  How awesome is that?!  Since A LOT of my friends enjoy the benefits of Baltic Amber for themselves and their children, you bet I’m going to be telling the all about Spark of Amber’s quality and craftsmanship….and FREE shipping!


BeKOOOL Itch Relief Patches Review!

Itch Relief Patches are fast-acting, medicated patches that help relieve pain and itching from pesky bug bites and other skin irritations.  These little miracle patches have been life savers for us.  My 3 year old, Amaya, swells up terribly over insect bites and itches them until they bleed.  I’ve done creams and gels and find them to either not work at all, or worse, cause her more pain from the  harsh ingredients.

I’ve been able to really put BeKOOOL Itch Relief Patches to the test on myself, my daughter, and my daughter’s friend.  As soon as my daughter knew I had these in the house, she suddenly became “itchy” all over.  I, of course, did not cover her in patches but explained to her that these would help if she got a naughty mosquito bite.  Low and behold, after a busy afternoon playing with the neighbor girl outside, they both came in with mosquito bites.

Knowing that I had these awesome miracle workers in the bathroom cabinet, my daughter grabbed the box, brought it over to me, and we got to work.  I carefully peeled off the circular patch from its plastic backing and placed on each one’s bite.  Instant gratification and relief!  Goodbye messy itch creams and gels!  These patches effectively covered the mosquito bites and neither girl itched once.  They are great in the fact that they are nearly invisible once placed on the skin.  I love that each patch offers the bite protection from scratching and bleeding.  Plus, they are totally noninvasive.  I can put these on my kids and they forget they are even there!

I even used a BeKOOOL Itch Relief Patch on a bee sting I received on my finger.  It’s been YEARS since I’ve gotten stung by a bee and there was one stuck to the handle of my cloth grocery bag.  When I grabbed the handle, I felt a pain in my finger and sure enough, there was a bee sting on my finger.  I knew right away that I could use a BeKOOOL Itch Relief Patch to assist in the pain associated with bee stings.  It worked like a charm!  And even though the sting was on an awkward part of my finger, the patch stayed in place and held up well.  It’s generous size relieved the pain from all around the site of the sting, not just the wound.  I was amazed!

Enter for your chance to win the entire line of BeKOOOL® products, a year-long subscription to FamilyFun Magazine, the book, The Travel Mamas’ Guide, and a BeKOOOL tote!
Must be 18+ to enter.  Open to US only.
Giveaway ends 11/1/13 at 11:59 pm.

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker and Seasoning Mixes Review plus Recipe Contest!

If you haven’t fallen in love with the ease of slow cooking with your Crock-Pot, then you don’t know what you are missing!  Whether you are a busy stay at home mom or working mom, Crock-Pot Slow Cookers and Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes will guarantee a delicious dinner for you and your family at the end of your hectic day.

I am excited to try all these wonderful mixes that I received.  I’m going grocery shopping right away because as the weather turns colder, a big bowl of Hearty Beef Stew or Chili sounds delicious.

I have a large family (6 of us total) so I need a BIG crock pot.  With a 7 quart capacity, I can easily serve 9+ people.  The flat digital panel, brushed stainless steel exterior, and black accents are pleasing to the eye.  I also love the easy to use one touch digital controls.  There are 2 high and 2 low cook settings and my favorite part that NONE of the other slow cookers I have do – an automatic shift to warm setting!  Have you ever been out and about and realize OMG I think the slow cooker might be done and the food is going to go bad?!  I have!

The removable oval stoneware and glass lid are both dishwasher safe – SCORE!  I even love the included recipes.  With so many expertly blended seasoning mixes for use in slow cookers, even if you can’t cook, you can’t possibly mess these recipes up!  From slow cooker to table, you can choose from Beef Stroganoff, Original Chili, Savory Herb Chicken, Hearty Beef Stew, Savory Pot Roast, or BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning Mixes.  What seasoning mix sounds the most appetizing to you?  Perhaps every single one?!

I know our dinners are going to be filled with delicious, easy to make meals thanks to Crock-Pot and Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes!

The contest Grand Prize winner will win a year of free groceries worth $8,500, including a year’s supply of Crock-Pot® Seasoning Mixes. Also, he or she will be featured in product/brand marketing efforts.

Here are the contest details:
  • The entire contest will take place on
    ·         Kicked off on October 1st
    ·         Recipe submissions will be accepted through Oct. 21st
    ·         Ten semi-finalists announced on Oct. 28th. Public voting begins
    ·         Voting ends on Nov. 18th
    ·         Grand Prize winner announced on Nov. 25th. The contest judges will judge all the finalists and take into consideration public voting.   They will select the top entry for a total of three (3) potential winners based on the following criteria: (a) creativity and inspiration; (b) appearance/presentation, and (c) taste.

Gumdrop Drop Tech Series iPad Case Review!

Keep your iPad safe with a Gumdrop Drop Tech Series iPad Case!  An affordable and rugged case that offers maximum protection for your device.

My 3 year old is addicted to my iPad.  This means, I need a case that can withstand the bumps and bangs of being lugged around all over the place by a rather clumsy little girl.  She loves playing educational games and letting her creativity flow on drawing apps so I don’t want to hold her back because I don’t want my expensive iPad broken.  Since receiving our Gumpdrop Drop Tech Series iPad Case, my mind has been put to ease when the occasional drop occurs.

An extremely easy to snap on case makes adding the Drop Tech Series Case a “snap”!  This case offers protection for your iPad and it’s delicate screen.  The dual material construction conforms to fit the iPad and features multiple layers of shock absorption plus reinforced rubber bumpers for each corner.  I also have the security of knowing each port is safely covered so sticky hands or random toys can’t get shoved into places they shouldn’t go.
The superb quality of the Gumpdrop iPad Drop Tech Series Case is unmatched by anything else I’ve seen.  I have been using it for almost 2 months now without any issues or concerns.  The durability has amazed me through several pretty serious drops, including one out the back of a stroller onto concrete.  I can safely say that I no longer bite my nails and sweat over each time my 3 year old feels the need to run with iPad in hand.  I’m confident that the Gumdrop Drop Tech Series iPad Case has got my back (and my iPads)!

Gumdrop features cases for phones, iPads, Macbooks, and Tablets!

One lucky reader will win their own Gumdrop Case of their choice!
Must be 18+ to enter.  Open to US only.
Giveaway ends 10/22 at 11:59 pm.