Monday, February 25, 2013

A Safer Toddler Toothbrush Option


 I have a new pet peeve. It is watching my new toddler run with his rigid, plastic, toothbrush. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my skin crawl just thinking about him impaling himself. I have tried to stop him from running with it but to no avail.  I generally have to take the toothbrush away which ends in tears or worse a tantrum. When I read about Baby Banana Brushes I knew that this might be a great solution to my problem. 


  This week Weston received his Original Baby Banana Brush and it was an immediate hit. As you can tell from my pictures he was a total moving target. He toted his brush around the house for hours teething on the flexible silicone. I think he really liked the feel of the bristles and other ridges on the brush. I was thrilled that the brush is a safer option to teeth brushing as well as another natural option to help with teething. When it was time to actually brush his teeth Weston was just as excited as ever (he really does like it). He loves holding this brush himself and I feel better about him practicing with the Baby Banana Brush. 


   You might be wondering exactly what makes the Original Baby Banana Brush special. Here is a list of the most important features:

The flexible banana shape decreases the risk of mouth injury if your toddler falls (Remember ALL baby products should be used with parental supervision!)

Made of the highest quality medical grade silicone

 BPA and phthalate free

The shape is fun and enticing for little ones

Dishwasher safe (This is a huge bonus in my opinion. I love a product that is easy to clean)

Can be placed in the freezer to help with teething and sore gums

Give me that brush back Mama!!

    I have visited more than a couple baby and product websites. I have noted that not very many freely post their safety testing documentation. I really commend this company for posting these notices and all of the information they include! Always good to have a visual of exactly how safe a product is that your using on your baby!


   In conclusion I am excited to have discovered this product and looking am looking forward to using it in the coming months. This brush is recommended for the 12-24 month age set so we have quite a few months of use to come. The Original Baby Banana Brush retails for $7.99 and can be purchased at a variety of stores in the United States. 

  If you would like to know more about the Original Baby Banana Brush you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product to trial. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. 










Saturday, February 23, 2013

Musselmans Applesauce #AppleSauceInstead

 
    On January 1st I made a resolution to live better. I started off going to the gym three of four times a week, eating very near perfect, and generally treating my body better. Then Weston got sick, and shortly thereafter I got sick too. As soon as I was better it seemed that he was sick yet again. If you have ever had children in your house you know that sickness just throws everybody off. No one sleeps well, everyone cries at some point (even the Mama), and it just is horrible. Your whole world stops when your baby is sick. The best part (read worst part) is that this cycle of sickness often continues for a while. Even my husband got in on the rat race that can be toddler to family illness sharing. Needless to say my fall off the health and wellness wagon was hard and fast. The gym was my last thought, and eating was a matter of convenience and need.



    Just when I felt I had recovered from our series of illnesses and was capable of cooking and working out again I discovered the joys of Nutella and fruit. It was joyful until I read the back of the jar. Just two tablespoons of that stuff can pack a mean one-two punch to the thighs, hips, and muffin-top. The funny part is, I honestly thought I was being healthier by having a bowl of strawberries slathered with a little Nutella instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream at night. Boy was I wrong. When I heard about Musselman's Replacement Resolution campaign I knew immediately what part of my diet I would work on replacing. I love a sweet treat at night but really needed something healthier than good ol' Nutella to put on my fruit!


   Musselman's sent me three kinds of applesauce to try, Cinnamon, Original, and Unsweetened. I decided to make a healthier dipping sauce for my evening fruit. With only a few a few ingredients, no measuring, and no baking this dip may be the easiest thing you ever cook up in the kitchen.

 Cinnamon Apple Cream Dip

1 4oz individual cup of Musselman's All Natural Applesauce
1 6oz indvidual cup of Faget Greek Yogurt 0% fat
2 packets splenda
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Stir, chill, and enjoy with a plate of fresh fruit.

    This recipe makes a large bowl of fruit dip and is only 150 calories for the entire bowl. This is a stark contrast to my old Nutella snack that has a whopping 200 calories in 2 tablespoons of dip. Additionally, lets really be honest...no one ever stops at 2 tablespoons of Nutella. I estimate by switching to my Cinnamon Apple Cream Dip you are saving yourself at least 250 calories per snack. Now that is a replacement resolution! 



   If you would like to win a prize of 3 different types of Musselman's Applesauce snack packs and a Musselman's yoga ball please enter the rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received complementary Musselman's products to review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Go Red for Heart Health- A Heart Healthy Pomegranate Smoothie


Go Red for Women

Did you know that:

Heart disease is the number one killer of women?

As a woman you are more likely to die of a heart attack than all forms of cancer combined?

That very few women are excluded from the risks factors for this disease. Over 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

That 1 in 31 American women die of breast cancer each year but 1 in 3 die of heart disease?

That since 1984 more women have died than men of heart disease?

    These staggering and startling statistics are just some of the facts that can be found on the American Heart Association website. Being that my husband is in training to be a cardiologist, heart disease and heart health are both a pretty big topic around our household. I still found myself shocked by these statistics. 



    You may be reading this wondering what can be done to help prevent these numbers in the future. For starters you can work on staying healthy NOW. Measures such as quiting smoking, reducing your stress, eating healthy, and exercising at least 30 minutes a day, and visiting your doctor once a year can all help you avoid some of the major risk factors of this disease. In honor of Go Red Day I concocted a heart healthy pomegranate smoothie. This smoothie is relatively low calorie, low fat, and low cholesterol and definitely tasty.


How to make a Heart Healthy Pomegranate Smoothie.

Ingredients and Instructions:

1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1 ripe banana (or a frozen one if you like)
1 handful of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup skim milk
4 ice cubes (or more if you like it really icy)

Combine all ingredients and blend well.

Enjoy!

 
Please ignore the fact that my smoothie for Go RED is actually green. :)



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Perfect Basketball Hoop For The Tub, The Nuby Fish Swoosh


 Toys have this weird way of creeping steadily into your life until all of the sudden you are overwhelmed and just don't know how it happened. Bath toys are no exception to this phenomenon. In fact, I often think bath  toys are even worse because of the prospect of piling up, stewing in water, and acquiring mold. Thus far we have managed to limit Weston's bath toys to a few balls and a cup. We recently had the opportunity to try the Nuby Fish Swoosh bath time play-set and I was cautiously optimistic about it not contributing to the beginning of a cluttered tub.



   Turns out my optimism was not unfounded. This bath set is not only a play toy but a toy chest (of sorts). I love that it suction cups to the side of the tub. You can even place it on the side of the tub closest to you so that when you walk in the bathroom it isn't even visible. Can I just reiterate how refreshing it is to have a bathroom that doesn't have bath toys all over it?! I love that the net can be cinched at the bottom and then functions as a place to dry out the toys and hold them in one place. The little "fish" balls are also squirters. The squirting is fun but I will be honest and say I have thought about super-gluing the little holes shut to prevent water from getting stuck inside and molding. Paranoid mom move? Perhaps, but it is a pretty good idea if you ask me.


 Ok, so enough about what I like as a Mom. This toy is also kid tested and approved. Weston loves to dunk the balls through the hoop. This toy really is the perfect basketball hoop for a baby. When I cinch the bottom of the hoop Weston also likes to collect all of his toys in the hoop. This toy is promotes hand eye coordination which is always a postive.


   The Nuby Fish Swoosh is marketed for the 18 month plus range however Weston is only 15 months now and really loves it. I honestly think he would have enjoyed it as early as 10 or 11 months. If you have more questions or want to know more about Nuby or their products you can connect with them on Facebook and/or Twitter.


     Disclaimer: I was provided a free product to trial as a part of the Nuby Mom Blogger Program. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flashdance The Musical Is Coming To New Orleans!


Image

   If you are a theater junkie you certainly have heard of Flashdance the musical! It is the unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. I personally have never seen Flashdance before but I am over the moon excited to dust off my heels, don some lipstick, and check out this amazing performance on a date night right here in New Orleans. That's correct, our very own Mahalia Jackson Theater is hosting Flashdance for a limited 6 night engagement. 


  The thing that has me most excited about this show is the music. I can't wait to hear some of my favorite music from the hit movie Flashdance including “Flashdance – What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt,” and “I Love Rock & Roll.” As if the inclusion of these great 80's classics weren't enough, the musical features 16 brand new songs that were written especially for the stage performance of this amazing musical. 



  The thought of the amazing music alone should be enough to make you want to join me! If you are interested in seeing Flashdance in New Orleans at the Mahalia Jackson Theater tickets are on sale now! Performances are Feb. 26 through March 3. Remember this is a limited six-night engagement!  Ticket prices start as low as $32 and will be available at the Mahalia Jackson Theater Box Office, BroadwayInNewOrleans.comTicketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1.800.982.2787 (ARTS). Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 504.287.0372.  


  If you would like more information about Flashdance feel free to visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or check them out on YouTube

Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary tickets to this event in return for posting about the upcoming show. All opinions are 100% my own. 




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Flower Power By ProFlowers- Do You Send or Receive Flowers For Valentines?

   

  When I was a teenager it seemed that every time a boy gave me roses we promptly broke up. My husband is no exception to this rule. Valentines Day was one of our very first dates as teenagers (today is our 11th Valentines Day together). He kindly brought me a rose and a teddy bear and I returned the favor by participating in an awkward date and then letting him know a few days later that I thought we would really be better as friends. Once we got back together we joked that roses were simply not a good idea. While I occasionally receive flowers from my husband he tends to lean towards varieties other than the standard red rose, which is just fine with me. I love exotic and long lasting orchids, think tulips in spring are festive, and more recently have discovered the joys of succulents.


    This week I had the opportunity to try out ProFlowers. I was really excited to explore the pages of options to choose. While the standard rose options abound there is also a large variety of potted plants, flowers, wreaths, and even gift baskets. I like that there is a variety of flowers where you can even select which vase you would like. I think the customization makes the item more special. I chose the Deluxe Succulent Garden for myself (Happy Valentines Day to me). The garden was delivered to my house on the day that I requested it to be. It was fresh and as pictured on the website. The pot which is described on the website as a black zinc pot is a little less substantial than I would have liked. It is a thin tin like material. I appreciate that they sent directions for care of the plant, as I am one that definitely struggles with a lack of a green thumb. You have to spell out plant care for me in black and white if you want the plant to have a chance of survival (yes even where succulents are concerned).

Excuse the wrinkles, I folded the card and taped it to the bottom of the pot for future reference. 

   I also decided on a dozen rainbow roses to be sent to my Mother. While I don't love receiving roses I still believe they convey the message of love. I know my parents are missing my son and his little toddler years something fierce. I sent the roses and ordered the enclosed card to be signed to the grandparents from my son. They were thrilled to receive them and said they were fresh and beautiful. I think it is important to note that ProFlowers also offers a 7 day freshness guarantee which I think is fabulous.


  While it is too late for Valentines Day, if you are in need of flowers for any other holiday you should take a look at ProFlowers.  As a Mom on a budget I know every little bit counts and Proflowers has a discount codes page to help you get a little extra off.

Disclosure: I was given the chance to review a complimentary product from ProFlowers.com. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with FTC regulations. 



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Curious About My Thoughts on Mardi Gras?

   If you are curious about my thoughts regarding my first ever Mardi Gras please head on over to the New Orleans Moms Blog. Over there today I have posted about my expectations pre Mardi Gras and about my thoughts post the actual experience! Happy Wednesday All!




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Striving to Find a Teething Solution- A Nuby Product Review

   

    My husband had zero teeth on his one year birthday. Son to a dentist and a very worried mother they took him into the office for x-rays. They were worried that he had no teeth or something was very wrong. Turns out my husband was just a late bloomer in the teeth department. I am happy to report that my husband now has a beautiful smile. Turns out that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and it has been no surprise that Weston has been a little slower than most in the teething department. At his one year birthday he only had two little woodchuck teeth. On one hand, I am not complaining about this because the lack of teeth certainly made breastfeeding a more comfortable situation for a longer time period. On the other hand, I wonder if we will be teething, and experiencing all the joys that teething brings, until he is five.

My boys and their teeth (Photo credit)

   At 15 months tooth and gum pain is a regular occurrence around here. It is so obvious that my boy is in pain as he gnaws on his fingers, cries, and grabs his mouth. Sometimes its hard even to tell if he is sick or if he is teething. The nose runs as do the tears (for both of us).  The agony of teething has sent me on a mission, looking for natural ways to cope with the symptoms.  Side note before I delve into all of the things I have tried: I am not against a little Motrin when things get really bad (or whatever your pediatrician recommends  for teething). Its just that around here teething has been such a constant that I needed some options that were safe for use all of the time. 

     So what have I tried for teething purposes?  I love Chewbeads but to be honest my beautiful blue beads don't always match my attire. I have been dreaming of a turquoise Chewbeads necklace for spring (although I would love it if spring came and we aren't teething).  The ever popular and expensive, Sophie the Giraffe, was a hit. Unfortunately she recently got thrown in the bathtub and irreversibly took on quite a bit of water. We have tried giving him frozen GoGurt but no matter how I try to wrap it up to create a little handle he wants to hold the bare frozen stick in his hands and they end up getting too cold. We have also tried carrots and celery sticks which are great all natural ideas. My only problem with this is that now that he is walking so well I worry that he will gag himself or hurt himself if he falls. 


   When I recently found out that I was going to become a Nuby Mom Blogger I knew that the first thing I would like to try was the Nuby Icy Bite Keys. I love that the keys on this teether are the only frozen part. This frees up the rest for Weston to hold onto and prevents him from freezing his little hands. The keys also have a lot of bumps and textures for him to bite on. The liquid in the keys is Purice. Purice is a non toxic gel that allows the teether to stay frozen longer than water filled teethers. I found that if I dipped the keys in water and then froze them they stayed cold even longer for some reason. It seemed that Weston also liked getting just the little bit of ice off of the outside as well. 


   The Icy Bite Keys are marketed mainly for the 3 month to 18 month crowd but given our slow teething we may be using these keys for quite a while. If you are looking for all natural ways to cope with teething this teether is a great start. At around $5.00 depending on where you look, this is an affordable, practical, and easy option. The Icy Bite Keys are currently available for sale at Buy Baby Direct, Babies R Us, K-Mart, Target, and Wal-mart. 


  If you have more questions or want to know more about Nuby or their products you can connect with them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free product to trial as a part of the Nuby Mom Blogger Program. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pickle Peas Review- Clothing with snap off Applique Bibs

 


   Necessity is the mother of invention.If you had three small and drooly children who constantly soaked their clothing what would you do? Try to battle the situation with constant clothing changes? Cover outfits with bibs? Both are viable options but Shannon, a mother in this exact situation, decided to create a better option. She created a new clothing line called Pickle Peas. This line of clothing is made of  100% organic cotton and comes with snap on appliques. The cotton is right up there with the softest cottons I have ever felt. The appliques are cute, trendy, and they are also functional. They were created to catch drool and can be easily swapped out if wet. The appliques are also one size fits all and can be swapped out among any of the Pickle Pea clothing line.



   While Shannon created the line specifically for children who drool a lot I wondered if the appliques would help at mealtime too. The answer is yes and no. Weston is a horrifically messy eater and while swapping out the appliue helped the situation it didn't completely prevent a messy outfit. I should note that this is no fault of Pickle Peas, I was just trying to see if I could figure out additional uses for this adorable product. 


 Important Points Worth Mentioning About Pickle Peas

- All  pieces are 100% organic cotton
- Bibs are interchangable via way of snaps
-The bibs have a waterproof layer increasing your outfit protection
-The bibs are one size fits all (meaning you use any bib with any size Pickle Peas clothing)
-The clothing washes up really nicely. If anything the outfit just got softer in the wash. The applique bib needed a quick once over with the iron to make it lay flat. 




If you would like a chance to win a spring set of Pickle Peas clothing, for either a boy or a girl, please enter the rafflecopter below. 

   
Update: The giveaway is over. Congrats to Deborah N. 

Disclosure: I received a product or products for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations. 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Bobux Infant Shoes- A review



     Have you heard of Bobux shoes? These stylish, quality, leather children's shoes were created by a set of parents in New Zealand in 1991. Chris and Colleen Bennett created these shoes out of necessity for their 9 month old daughter. Their goal was a pair of shoes that didn't need laces and would stay put on their daughter's feet. As a parent myself I totally relate to this. The more my child has the play with on the tops of his shoes the more likely that they are going to come off! I find this very frustrating after I have already struggled to get the shoes on in the first place! The original shoes that the Bennett's created were soft soled shoes (much like Robeez). Since the launch of their initial line they have created several other lines of baby shoes including the Step-ups, the I-Walks, and the soft soled toddler shoes. Bobux are now sold in  over 18 countries world-wide including most countries in Europe, as well as the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.


   I received a pair of Bobux Up and Go shoes from the Step-up collection in the mail.  The first thing I noticed was how cute they are. These are totally little man shoes. I love the two tone brown leather and the double velcro straps allow for easy on and off. The leather is soft and supple. Due to the softness of the leather some scuffs can be anticipated. My little guy is still kind of in his "drunken sailor" walking days if you know what I mean. So he toddles, then falls or drives to the ground, and several scuffs hare visible after just a few wearings. In the two tone brown I think these scuffs kind of look cute and vintage-esque. If the scuffs aren't your style you the company has enclosed care instructions that state you can use like colored shoe polish to polish up your shoes. Honestly though I think once Weston is a better walker scuffs won't be such an issue. 


So You Might Be Interested In What Makes Bobux Shoes Special:


They are made from Eco-leather, a soft natural leather, tanned in an environmentally friendly method that is safe for your baby. 

As per the company Bobux are are "Recommended by Pediatricians as the perfect footwear for children under two."  

The soft leather upper and suede leather sole allow the feet to function properly and grow without restrictions.

None of the shoes in this line have laces or ties.

The Step Up's line is designed specifically for begining walkers.  These shoes all the natural full range of movement and thus unrestricted development


   It is also of note that the insole of the shoe has some orange print on it. After a long day at the Mardi Gras parades I realized that some of the orange ink had rubbed off onto the bottom of my boys white socks. To remedy this situation I added just a touch of baby powder to his shoes and shook it around. The powder helps to absorb any extra moisture. I guess my boy must have sweaty feet in this hot southern weather!

     In conclusion I love the look and feel of Bobux shoes. I think quality, soft, two tone leather shoes are a great addition to any toddlers wardrobe. If you would like to learn more about Bobux you can visit their website or connect with them on facebook. As a special to my readers you can receive 20% off any purchase from the website! Head on over there now and use the code AB2013. 


Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. I have no monetary gain if you use the discount code enclosed in this post. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations. 


Friday, February 1, 2013

My Snuggle Bunny By I See Me

Valentine blog hop

    Welcome to the From Our Hearts to Yours Valentine’s Day Giveaway Hop hosted by Life With Two Boys and With Our Best. Each blog participating has a prize of at least $25 worth of Valentine-related items available for you to win!  After you have entered my giveaway you should make sure to check out some of the other awesome blogs in this hop as well!


    If you have a child and you have not heard of I See Me Personalized Children's books I highly recommend you take a closer look. Our first experience with this line of books came before Weston was even born. A lovely friend sent us a book entitled " My Very Own Name." When we were expecting Weston I often felt as though the pregnancy was just a dream. It all seemed so very unreal. When we received the book, a tangible item, spelling out the name of our sweet babe to come, it made our boys arrival seem more real and imminent.


  This week Weston received My Snuggle Bunny. This fun little book was written by award winning author Maia Haag and illustrated by John Butler. This book is based loosely upon a very famous poem by Elizabeth Brown Barrett.  Perhaps the lines, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" may ring a bell?  Now as you read your child this book, which is peppered with personalization, you can count the ways the snuggle bunny loves your child together! The feelings that this book promotes are that of cuddles, love, and warmth. If you want your child to experience the feeling of the book in a tactile sense you can also purchase your very own 12 inch plush snuggle bunny. I honestly wish I had the snuggle bunny so that Weston could hold him as we read. 



I love how my child's name is in the story as well as the pictures! 

Weston and I look forward to settling in and reading this book around bedtime in the coming months. I personally love that the company timed the release of this book for spring. It is the perfect book to read as we approach Valentines Day and Easter. If you are looking for great non candy options for Easter the snuggle bunny and book combo would be a great addition to any basket! If you would like to win this book for your own little snuggle bunny please enter the rafflecopter below! Goodluck and happy snuggling! 


Update: The Giveaway is Over! Congrats to the Winner Tracy J 

Disclosure: I received a product or product(s) to review for free. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.  Additionally, the From Our Hearts to Yours bloggers and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.


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