Barbie’s Moved into the new Barbie Dream House! #BarbieisMoving

What’s pink, purple, just about 3 feet tall and likely to cause shrieks of delight when a child sees it?  The new Barbie Dream House! Barbie’s been saving up her hard earned pennies (as a vet, doctor, teacher, lawyer, swim teacher, dolphin trainer, ballerina, and what else does she do for careers?) and she’s got a HUGE and fabulous new dream house with ocean views right in Malibu.


Photographer DennisStylist Cheryl Jo

This post is sponsored through my affiliation with the One2One Network.  

Barbie’s new dream house is AMAZING. I can’t even imagine a kid not wanting to play with it. So many rooms, so many features, so many fun things to do, to move, to hear, to see. TWO elevators.  Stainless appliances (which have a pinkish hue, and I would totally love pink of any sort on my appliances) and all kinds of lights and sounds and fun things.  Plus, a closet that’s basically half of one floor of the house. What girl doesn’t want a closet that big?  I would love it.


Aside from the closet, which actually comes with hangers so you can hang some of the clothes you already have for your dolls, there’s actually a decent amount of storage in the new dream house for toys, clothes and accessories.  There are several compartments that you can tuck pieces into – the appliances open up in the kitchen, there are open shelves near the bathroom, as well as the closet, plus another compartment within the closet.  (I would have loved for the little vanity that comes with this set have a little drawer that opens up for makeup and stuff!! Maybe in version 2.0).


Barbie’s new house is totally modern.  From a flatscreen mounted on the wall that looks like art and drops down to TV to the stainless appliances, Barbie’s laptop and even a recycling area, this is definitely the dream house for 2013.  It’s hip, modern, funky and fun, and with lots of rooms and features to play with, kids will spend many, many hours enjoying the dream house.


Of course, before any kid plays with it you have to assemble it. Now, I’m not going to sugar coat this. If you think you can set this up Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed, think again. Plan on 2 hours for just in case for assembly. Plus setting it all up nice, and “test play” runs. Also, this house is over 3 feet tall.  It needs some serious floor space.  Plan accordingly.


The dream house comes with the funniest instruction sheets I have ever seen. One is deliberately funny, and pokes fun at the 1000 stickers included (it’s really not that many stickers, and none are tiny). The other funny instructions are the actual instructions. They are lacking. Thankfully, Mattel is aware of this and you can access a pretty decent YouTube video that gives a much more in depth explanation- although that skips over a lot. Between the paper and the video, you should be good to go. (I don’t think that the actual instructions were meant to be funny, but really, they are super hard to follow)


Really, I find toy assembly goes best with wine and good friends. Or, at the very least, chocolate and good friends. Plan on a few hours, if it takes less, celebrate. And then sit back and watch the kids enjoy Barbie’s fabulous new digs. AFTER you have a chance to play yourselves.  Rewards for the hard work and job well done, of course!

Barbie’s 2013 Dream House is priced at $184 and is available at,, and!


Did you catch Julius Jr on Nick Jr this weekend? #JuliusJr

There’s a new little monkey pal on Nick Jr and he’s stealing out hearts.  Julius Jr premiered on Sunday morning (although we viewed much later in the day since we were at church!) and my little one is just delighted with this show.  He’s so cute! She tells me.  They go on a squiggly line and go around and around and I like that part- that’s how they get where they are going to go.


Yesterday, we watched the premiere again with one of her friends, also age 4. Both enjoyed it.  It was fun to listen to my daughter pointing out her favorite parts- and like the “teeny tiny snail” that she has already decided she wants one of from Santa.  There were giggles and lots of “I want to try to do that too!” from the chair the girls were in.  Both were delighted to have a butterfly in the first episode- who doesn’t love a butterfly?


It’s a lot of fun to see the problems Julius and his pals face, and the solutions they come up with- paperclips CAN be butterfly wings for a little friend who wants to fly, lost things can be found…and so many other things….after all,  as Julius says, “The best inventions are the ones that help your friends

Julius Jr is all about imagination and friendship- and creativity…something that kids love to watch, live and be.  The very box that Julius turned into a playhouse was “just” a cardboard box like so many others- my kids have loved to play “box” for years, and I think that was what really drew my kids into it – even my 6 year old.  The same games and stories they’ve had in their boxes, which have been boats and houses and ships and castles and anything and everything else…those same things are showing up on their screen, and Julius, Worry Bear, Sheree, Clancy and Ping are meeting new friends, solving problems together, and having fun all along the way!

juliusjr-nick-jr-preschool-logoJulius Jr. is a funky monkey with a penchant for invention. Together with his best pals, Worry Bear, Sheree, Clancy and Ping, they build a playhouse out of a simple cardboard box, but when they step inside, to their surprise and delight, they discover a magical playroom where ordinary objects come to life and fantastic adventures are just a door away!   Julius Jr. and his best pals are coming to Nick Jr. Saturdays at 11am/10c starting September 28th.

 Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by Saban Julius via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Saban Julius.

Giving comfort during cancer treatments

This year, more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. 1.6 million.  Just this year.  Chances are, you know someone who’s living with cancer. Or giving care to someone with cancer.  I know I do.  My neighbors do.  My friends do.  My Facebook friends do.  As if the cancer wasn’t enough to deal with, many of those who are diagnosed aren’t able to pay for much besides the cancer treatments- the costs of treatment alone even with insurance is staggering… which means the little luxuries we may take for granted that might make life a bit easier, or seem more normal?  Not there.  Or at least, there’s just not money left for those luxuries. I’m writing this post today on behalf of Giving Comfort, a nonprofit program that provides patients in need with their Comfort Kits.  These kits are packages specifically for cancer care- filled with items to help give comfort during cancer treatments.

There are 12 different kinds of Comfort Kits available for purchase or donation.  The McKesson Foundation’s nonprofit program, Giving Comfort, provides these Comfort Kits to patients in cancer treatment centers, hospitality houses and support communities.  Consumers can also purchase kits for gifts, with the proceeds going towards making kits for others in need.  Living with cancer is bad enough.  Having to exhaust so many financial resources to get through cancer treatments is just so unfair, and it really does take a financial (and emotional) toll on most families.  I think Giving Comfort is a pretty amazing program that gifts to gift and takes proceeds to continue to give more.


There are kits for younger boys and girls, teen boys and girls, men and women (with a few options for each), one called simply “Thinking of You,” and also, one for caregivers.  I really like that caregivers are included in the Giving Comfort program- I know that often the caregivers sacrifice so much and don’t often have the time nor take the time to do something nice for themselves. I was asked to choose a Comfort Kit for someone and while I’m not able to disclose her name, there’s a young girl in a neighboring community who’s been through so much with cancer and as soon as the Teen Girl Kit arrives at my house, I’ll be bringing it along to a friend who can deliver directly to Miss A.  I’d reached out to my friend because her mom’s been going through treatments and I thought it might be a nice thing to brighten her day, and Kim told me about Miss A– we both agreed she’d be the perfect person to gift this kit to.


Teen Girl Comfort Kit Description:
Kit includes: Sage Plush Rolled Blanket, Pink foldaway shopper, Military style khaki cap, Dream Journal, $10 iTunes Card, ear buds, Queasy Pops, Hand Sanitizer, Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Simplicity Water Bottle (purple accent), Pink Grapefruit Bissinger’s Gummies. Kit packed in custom Giving Comfort Gift Box.

There are so many stories in so many of our lives of how cancer has touched us.  There’s a woman in church, Nancy,  who’s been undergoing treatment for brain cancer- she’s at church whenever she’s feeling up to it.  She’s missed a bit, but there’s so many members who check in on her and update the rest of our congregation.   Today a few of the kids on the varsity soccer team were helping out at the K-1 soccer program, and I noticed they all had shirts on with the same message printed on the back ” In honor of Nancy.”   It never just touches the person who’s fighting that cancer.  The ribbons, the shirts, fundraisers, prayers, events…you can see just how far those tentacles reach when you see those who come together to fight alongside their family, their friends, their neighbors.

My friend Christie was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer about 5 minutes before a press trip we were both SO EXCITED to go on last year.  We were talking about sneaking in a quick trip to the parks the day the event started because she was local and I was flying in early, and then all of the sudden she was like “can I call you” and my heart broke into eleventy billion pieces for her ten times over.  She did come on the trip and we made it super fun and then she went and kicked cancer to the curb but you can read her story on her site. She’s lucky.  I”m lucky I can call her my friend. (I also need to call her, so Christie, clear a few min next week please!)

We all know someone.  We do.  If you are one of the very few who don’t, you are lucky.


Photo Credit: Jamie’s Run

I’ve talked with you all before of baby Jamie.  My friend and fellow MOMS Club member Kelly’s little girl, she was 2 weeks older than my littlest one, and was diagnosed with a really rare liver cancer at just 11 weeks old.  Jamie lost her fight at 5 1/2 months.  Jamie’s parents started Jamie’s Run (The JK5K)  just a few months after her death, to raise funds for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  In year one, they raised funds to help support the cancer treatment center.  In years since, including 2013, they’ve raised funds to support both the financial and emotional burdens placed on families during treatments.  I can honestly tell you that until Jamie came into our lives, I hadn’t fully experienced nor had a clue just what cancer can do — it’s tentacles just reach into every part of a family’s life.

That’s the thing about cancer. It really does have tentacles that just reach and reach into so many parts of your life.  Missing work or school because of feeling ill- or because your loved one is feeling ill and you need to care for them.  The added expenses of copay after copay, medications, additional medications to ward off side effects from treatment, gas to get to those treatments, parking costs, the list gets very long, very fast. All of these added costs just seem so unfair when a family is already dealing with such a huge thing like cancer, you know?

I’m thankful for programs like Giving Comfort that are able to offer some kind of relief and give a little comfort to those who are undergoing cancer treatments.  I hope you’ll visit them and support them by liking their page, perhaps purchasing a kit or donating for a kit to go to someone else in need.


New Wave Enviro Litter Free Lunch

New Wave Enviro sent me a Litter Free Lunch kit and some Seriously Save Stainless Steel Food containers to try out.  We are always trying to find ways to make less waste and be kind to the environment.  These products are BPA-free, litter free and stylish too.  I received the bag in swirls with green piping, it also is available in a blue pattern and a solid light brown.

Litter Free Lunch Kit and Seriously Safe Stainless Steel

About Litter Free Lunch Kit

This kit has an insulated shell, four BpA-free airtight food containers (2 small, 1 medium and 1 large) and a 15oz BpA-free bottle – everything you need to pack a fresh, healthy lunch.

Bottles are dishwasher safe. Bag can be washed in a washing machine.

2 small containers: 3.75” x 2.25” x 1-3/8” deep

Medium container: 5.25” x 3.75” x 1-3/8” deep

Large container: 5.25” x 3.75” x 2.75” deep

Bottle: 2.25” x 2.25” x 6.5”Litter Free Lunch Kit

There is enough room for a salad, a sandwich and a couple of sides.  The containers are air tight but easy to open and close, even for the little guys.  I love that the box in insulated because I often forget to pop my lunch in the fridge when I get to work.  Seriously Safe Stainless Steel food containers

About Seriously Safe Stainless Steel Food Containers

100% 304 Food Grade Stainless Steel. A non-leaching product – no chemical, no toxins, no taste. Resistant to stains and corrosion. Durable and rugged – designed for everyday use. Go ahead and throw them in your bag – they won’t open until you open them! 6” x 4.5” x 2-3/8” deep

You can find all of the New Wave Enviro products online or try their Store Locator.

All of these products make weekdays lunch prep so much easier and I feel great not using dozens of plastic bags each month.

These products were provided to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

What great uses would you have for there products?


Max Steel brings us Superhero 2.0

I participated in this sponsored campaign viewing party and toy review of Max Steel for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.


The idea of superheroes has long fascinated so many of us- in print, television, the big screen- everyday life- the superhero represents the ultimate Good vs. Evil battles we’d all love to win- the hero triumphs over the villains, and the world stays safe from evil again.  We watch the movies, read the comic books, the books, the magazines, we buy the shirts, the shoes, the sweatshirts, hats…and the toys.  I can remember going to see the original Superman movie – it was my first movie theater experience- and I was simply in awe at the big screen, and of course, of Superman himself.  Fast forward about 30 years later…and though he’s never lost his fan base, Superman’s been reincarnated once again, inspiring a whole new generation of kids to want to be just like him.  But it’s not just Superman, it’s all superheroes.  Given all that’s happening in the world around us, you can’t blame a kid for wanting superheroes to be real, to save the world, to protect us from evil plots hatched by sinister villains.

Of course, today’s kids have technology along with the love of Superheroes, so it’s only natural that we’d have some heroes coming along with extra technology.  One of Mattel’s “old school” heroes, MAX STEEL, has come back with a new series airing on Disney XD, a live-action film due out in 2014, and a whole line of fun, cool interactive action figures and toys released in September, 2013.

Max Steel is the newest and coolest superhero from Mattel. He’s Maxwell McGrath, a 16 year old kid with a superpower he hasn’t always known about, with a 21st century sidekick, Steel.  Steel isn’t your typical sidekick- Steel is an alien warrior who’s the equivalent of 16 human years- and when he’s not playing practical jokes, he’s paired up with Maxwell McGrath to form the ultimate superhero MAX STEEL (or as I think of him, modern day superhero, Superhero 2.0).  Most of the action figures light up and they have all got a “thing” they do- which is great for kids.

Our favorites? The Max Steel Rip Launch Toxzon Action Figure (there’s a rip cord, and the discs fly through the air.  Also amusing with kittens).  Our other fave? The Max Steel Blade Attack Dredd Action Figure – because his hand spins and spins and it’s fun to do. It’s almost like a helicopter blade- just cool and fun!



Kids can bring their favorite Max Steel adventures to life with the brand new Turbo Sword (MSRP $29.99) for action-packed play. With built-in motion sensors, the sword makes battle sounds, lights up and repeats key phrases from the hit animated series with a few simple moves.  You can find it on Amazon, Target, Walmart and
The Turbo sword is full of sounds and lights- 19 sounds in all when Steel is attached.  Lots of fun for kids, but I prefer this one goes outside for play (and stored indoors) because the volume is a bit high for my liking (I will fully admit I’m hypersensitive to toy sounds so it may not be so loud to you!)

The Max Steel toy line also includes action figures (MSRP $5.99) and a Max Steel costume (MSRP $21.99-27.00), perfect for boys this Halloween.  It’s VERY refreshing to find action figures priced at this point.  My son is at the age where action figures and imaginative play take up most of his free time (besides building blocks) and he’s usually found in one costume or another, saving the world and “getting” the bad guys by whatever means necessary.  He loves to get together with his buddies and run around inside, outside, up and downstairs, getting totally engrossed in their play and losing track of time and really BEING in the moment.  They love superheroes.  I can’t blame them- who doesn’t want to save the world?

Teamwork: Max is like any other high school student. But when he teams up with Steel, their combined forces unlock superhero powers that help them conquer their world.  It’s nice to see team work encouraged and NEEDED modeled for kids!

Humor: Just like every bond between best buds, quick-witted Max and trusty sidekick Steel’s banter back and forth is just plain funny.  Steel’s even funnier to us because he’s an alien, and that brings a new level of humor!

Friendship: The bond forged between Max and sidekick Steel is undeniably unbreakable. Together they operate as one inseparable duo showing that the power of two is better than one.  It goes back to teamwork too, but it’s also really a great example of the power of friendship.

We will be having a little viewing party once everyone in my house is healthy and my son’s friends are as well- we’ve had to change the date a few times because of back to school sickies!!

Watch MAX STEEL on Saturday mornings at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD!

I never knew I needed a mobile hotspot.

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sprint. I received a mobile hotspot product sample to facilitate my review.

Sprint Ambassador Badge

I really never did know I needed a mobile hotspot…until I had one.  Holy moly, I’d like to know why I didn’t do this sooner!  Having wi-fi wherever I go means I can get work done on the fly…and I’m on MY network, not a public or borrowed one, so I can feel more secure in using it.  Just yesterday, I was at the airport waiting (and waiting…waiting some more) for a delayed flight update and I sat down to work on a few posts- I had time, I had no kids to be with…why not, right? I turned on my NETGEAR Zing Mobile Hotspot that Sprint sent and once again was thanking my lucky stars that I have my own hotspot now.


Within 10 seconds I had my own wi-fi, wasn’t on the airport wi-fi with I don’t know how many others (no one was leaving who was supposed to be travelling to Cleveland, Washington DC or Chicago anytime soon, so there were many people in my situation) and I didn’t have to share bandwidth or airtime…just little old me on the floor by the outlet I found.   I had no worries about my security because I know that this device is equipped with the latest wireless encryption technology.  (Yes, this is the airport floor.  I’ll be disinfecting the pants I wore before they are worn again, rest assured!)

Having a mobile hotspot has been helpful in other avenues of life besides being a blogger. We were able to use my laptop in a meeting with the kids to be able to do some quick research for a Girl Scout meeting, something I couldn’t do with just my phone- simply not feasible with 18 kids and 3 adults.  Having the ability to set up my laptop and let the girls or leaders be able to look things up or search on my laptop has been and will continue to be a huge help.  We’re going to be talking about internet safety later this year and I absolutely will be using a hotspot for this (our school doesn’t have wi-fi accessible for non staff and we meet in the school) so the kids can actually be ON the internet and see what we’re talking about during the meetings when we discuss.


Of course, I can also use the hotspot for fun things like shopping, checking Facebook or Pinterest, or (truth be told) checking Pinterest, getting ideas, and ordering supplies right then and there….. and I can set up evites, chat with friends, even Skype with family and friends who aren’t close by.  All with the security of having it be my own hotspot, no one else’s. We’ve been using the hotspot (me, and fellow dance/gymnastics parents) to look things up and plan things.  Fun stuff. Not just work-y stuff.  It’s been grand.

Do you have a mobile hotspot?  Have you considered one if you don’t? 



Need a math tutor? Check out Tabtor!

This post about when you need a math tutor is brought to you by our friends at Tabtor.  Opinions are my own.

If you have a child who struggles with math and you think they may need a math tutor, or maybe you want to give them a little boost in math- finding a solution that works with your family schedule and budget isn’t always easy.  We were recently asked to give the new ios app Tabtor a try and share our experience with you.

When you first sign up for Tabtor, you get a free 2 week trial.  For $49.99 a month your child can have access to a personalized tutoring service

Dear Brett,

This is a detailed view of the diagnostic test that (child) attempted.  This test corresponds to concepts covered in 2nd grade.
She scored 24 out of 30 on the test and was able to complete it within the suggested time.
She made a couple of silly errors because she is still getting used to the app.
I have assigned her assignments related to balancing equations and place value concepts.
Please remind her to watch the tutorial video when she is stuck on a problem.
I would recommend that you get her a stylus so that she can workout the problems on the iPad so we can see why she is making errors.
I will contact you to to learn more about (child) so I can personalize her study plan further.
Please email me or call me at 919- MATH4U-5 if you have any questions or ctaboncerns.
We look forward to having (child) as a Tabtor student.
My daughter really loves to be challenged, especially  with math.  That said, she’s still learning some of the content for her age/grade level on Tabtor and it’s great to not just have personalized feedback from the instructor  but also to see where her mistakes may lie when she makes them and ways to improve or fix them.  She’s enjoying being able to use mom’s iPad mini and doing lots of fun and challenging math sheets, but also learning and reinforcing skills that she’ll need to be successful in later grades.  It’s a definite win.
Tabtor is designed to give a personalized experience to each student enrolled regardless of their skill level or ability.  The feedback is based on the worksheets the kids complete and the personal phone calls to go over things are even better.  The feedback does include a video which really reinforces what the instructor says to the kids- and honestly, it’s helped me to get a better grasp of how to help or guide her when she’s unsure of what to do next.  We’ll be continuing our subscription to Tabtor long after our blogging promotion ends, I’m sure.
Now, she and I both “missed” the video the first week. So we didn’t benefit so much. I did remind her to watch for it the next time and she got a lot more from the feedback (so did I).  The personal feedback and interaction is amazing, and it’s great being able to do this on our schedule when it’s convenient for us.  She feels like she’s getting extra electronic time, but really, she’s learning and that’s a win for all of us.
tabtor feedback
tabtor feedback 2
tabtor next worksheets

tabtor math

Tabtor is a revolutionary tutoring service that provides more customization, instant feedback, and more personalization. This makes tutoring fun for the student and efficient, all at a cost and engagement-level parents love!

  • ·         Personalization – Tabtor offers an extremely-personalized learning experience that is often not available in standard K-6 education. The Tabtor solution allows for customized worksheets for each individual student’s needs, as well as a dedicated Tabtor instructor to maximize student engagement.  This includes specific instruction for those who struggle with math and problem solving skills – providing personalized attention in these areas.
  • ·         Convenience – Via an iPad, Tabtor worksheets can be completed in the convenience of the students own home, during downtime at school, in the car, or even at a sporting event among many others.  The Tabtor solution also eliminates the hassle of carrying around heavy practice workbooks, which are also environmentally wasteful.
  • ·         Proof of Learning Analytics – Tabtor allows instantaneous grading feedback and guarantees 24-hour feedback to issues or questions. Providing comprehensive analytics,Tabtor can track every student activity – keystroke, penstroke, eraser, etc., to help teachers and parents understand student performance and potential intervention points. The analytics are so in-depth that they can tell instructors how long it takes a student to complete a problem and can identify key areas of struggle for the students Tabtor currently has 500 active students enrolled and students have shown a 20 percent improvement in just two months.

Sign up for your FREE 2 week trial period HERE!  You’ll get access to the Tabtor experience including a call from a Tabtor instructor to get feedback and guidance during your trial.  Also, if you sign up through my link, you’ll save $10/month off your subscription rate!

tabtor giveaway

One of my readers will win a free 3-month trial of Tabtor, along with a $50 Visa gift card! 


The Tabtor service, information, and additional free trials have been provided by Tabtor.

Win $6,000 in #6SecondsFlat from Wendy’s #thismamaloves6

This post about Wendy’s #6Secondsflat Flatbread Sweepstakes  brought to you by Wendy’s.  Opinions are my own.

Flatbread sandwiches are all the rage right now.  I just love them because they are easy to hold onto with short stumpy fingers, but also…..


Many flatbreads I see have bacon.

Wendy’s Flatbread Chicken Sandwiches are back for a limited time. Try both flavors, Asiago Ranch (it has bacon on it) and Smoky Honey Mustard (only 370 calories).

See? Bacon.

It’s hard to not like bacon.


So how does bacon + flatbread = $6000?  Well, Wendy’s wants to know how you feel about their flatbreads so they want you to share WHY you love (or hate, I suppose?) them in 6 seconds (hence the 6 seconds Flat hashtag.  Get it? The best video? That video gets  $6,000.

Wendy’s is handpicking the best video entries to re-post from their official Wendy’s social media accounts to be featured on the contest website.

Be sure to check out the sample videos on the 6 Seconds Flat landing page by clicking on any of the video squares.
Tell Wendy’s what you think about their flatbreads in a Vine or Instagram video then send it @Wendys (through twitter, Instagram or Vine) with the #6SecondsFlat AND #thismamaloves6. Each week of September, one lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a $6000 prize.

$6,000 for eating bacon.

I mean, sure, that’s kind of a loose connection, but you really truly could win $6,o00 for eating bacon and professing your love for it.



Who’s entering?
Visit the sweepstakes landing page for more information and view the “official rules” at the bottom of the page.

Easy energy solutions taste great with Energems #Energems #ad

This is a sponsored post about easy energy solutions written by me on behalf of Energems. I’ve been looking for coffee alternatives for a while- I drink coffee, but not because I’m necessarily in love with the taste. It’s more my need of the caffeine to wake me up. Given that I’m not always in love with the coffee we brew here at home, I’m always adding creamers or sugar- which adds calories.  Which I do NOT need.  So…I’m open to trying new things.  Especially when those things include the consumption of chocolate.Tracking Pixel


I recently discovered Energems, and I maybe have found a new love. Three varieties of little *gems* which are all CHOCOLATE and a serving of Energems has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Plus, a serving is just 45 calories.  So I can have a little sweet treat and a little energy pick me up whenever I want without the guilt.   AND…chocolate.  They are chocolate.  Did I mention the chocolate?


My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Charge, but the Peanut Butter Blast and Mint Fusion are both equally delicious.  I’m just a simple girl who likes plain chocolate.  There’s a little crunch in the outer shell and then it’s just creamy sweet chocolate delight in these little gems.  These little gems are infused with caffeine, B vitamins and an energy mix.


I’ve had more than my share of late nights and early mornings recently, trying to get everyone into the new school routines, helping my husband work on the breezeway (which may never be complete at the rate we’re going!) and trying to keep up with blog work, Girl Scout leader stuff, plus my part time job.  It’s a lot and my energy has for sure been waning because of it. I often feel like I need or want a boost- especially midday!  3 little Energems make me feel a little more pep in my step and give me a little extra energy to get through.  You can have more than one serving per day, but the folks at Energems caution you (as do I) to space out those servings and don’t ever have more than 2 boxes/packages per day.  You don’t want too much energy.

A note of caution (you knew this was coming, right? I mean, it’s me…)

These are made of CHOCOLATE.  Which means they can and will get melty if you leave them, say, in your car on a hot day, or maybe next to your laptop fan that’s blowing really hot air.  Learn from me and keep these away from heat sources.

When you are wanting a little easy energy solution – definitely check out Energems.  A great little boost of energy, not too expensive, and CHOCOLATE. Use the code, GETLUCKY, at to receive 30% off your order!

Please be sure to keep these away from children- these are intended for adult consumption only.

 FREE samples of Energemsare available on  Energems’ Facebook fanpage at



Energems are energy supplements that are bite-sized, hard-coated gems made with real milk chocolate. Designed for the modern, on-the-go consumer, they contain caffeine, B vitamins and a proprietary energy blend. Think of them as a great alternative to traditional energy drinks and energy shots!

You can try Energems absolutely for FREE! Just click over to their Facebook fanpage and sign up now:

Energems are a delicious and low-calorie way to boost your energy, focus and concentration! Please visit for more info.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Energems.

Who left the lights on (again)?

 I participated in a campaign about “who left the lights on”on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lutron. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

If you live with someone- anyone, chances are, like me, you’ve asked “Who left the lights on?” a time or two.  Or in my case, one hundred and eleventy billion times (each week).  If you have small children, you might ask it as much as me.  It’s pretty amazing just how often kids can leave lights on, given the number of hours they do not spend in the house when they are playing outside or at school. (It’s equally amazing how infrequently they flush toilets, but that’s a conversation we can have another day). To say this is frustrating, not to mention costly, is an understatement. 

I spend a lot of time asking “Who left the lights on” (and really, it’s always in a pleasant, even-toned manner. You know).  and following my littles around turning lights off after them.  Why?  If you know kids, you know that their immediate answer is “not me!”

Well, NOT ME doesn’t live here. I’m sure he (or she) is fun to play with, but all this little friend does is leave lights on, doors open, packaging open and never flush the toilet. So I’m not sure I’d want NOT ME to live here even if I did find a way to see the magical elfin being for myself.

Given that this little stinker “Not Me” doesn’t exist except to take the blame for things done all around the world, I’m taking matters into my own hands.

I guess you could say I already did, when I turned off lights left on.


But I’m going a step further. I’ve installed a motion sensor light switch.

Works with all  kinds of light bulbs (which is good since we have one of every kind ever produced, like ever, in the basement)

Senses daylight and only turns on when needed.

Now, I was going to put this into my son’s room because he’s the worst turning-the-light-off remember-er in the house.  But then I remembered, his light is also a ceiling fan and if the light shuts off, the fan shuts off, and he could be hot in his room.  Not fair.  So I went with the next light with the highest frequency of being left on.  The light in the dining room above the table.

The Maestro Occupancy Switch is also available with as the Maestro Occupancy Sensor CL Dimmer (which we don’t have, but maybe someday?)

This is a GREAT product concept. People forget to turn lights off, they go off automatically.  People walk into the room, light goes on automatically.  Imagine all of the dollars you can save if you have this in the rooms you find lights left on the most?  I’m thinking the bathrooms and living room in our house, and also the hallway light upstairs.  That’ll be a big help, especially if the kids get up in the middle of the night.  One of them isn’t too much a fan of the dark, so having that light go on as you step into the hallway will be really great (and safe) for everyone!

It’s just that I probably should wait a week or so before I ask my husband to HELP me re-install the Maestro where  it won’t be on a 3 way switch.  Thankfully he agrees with me that it’s a great idea and we’re both looking forward to seeing how it works.
A few notes about installation:
1.  Read the instructions.


Read the instructions again to make sure that you are not Brett Martin and you aren’t trying to install this on a 3-way-switch.  It won’t work.  I mean, the light will work, and YAY! but the whole 3 way thing won’t work and chances are, your spouse won’t be too happy at having to fix that 3 way light switch in your 75+ year old house…

2. After you’ve read the instructions and NOT done what I did, you can make sure you have all of the tools required to finish the job, a flashlight for just in case, and all of your parts for the switch laid out in front of you. You’re going to need a screwdriver, electrical tape, and some needle nose pliers.


3. Proceed to follow the instructions carefully.

I was pretty impressed both with how easy the instructions were to understand AND how easily I could follow along.  That says something because I am clearly not an electrical genius (if you missed why, see above) and also, our house is 75+ years old with the 75+ year old wiring still in place in some areas…including this switch. I could still successfully connect the wires all by myself.  It took less than half an hour from start to finish.  (I did them correctly, I just sort of didn’t  stop to think about  notice  the whole “3 way switch” detail). I was pretty proud of my handiwork. I still kind of am.

4. Watch your savings grow.

I think the Lutron line can also double a little bit as a security measure- if someone’s trying to sneak into  your house, a light going on when they walk into a room is definitely going to stop them in their tracks and make them think twice about staying!  Mostly, Lutron switches offer a great way to help you to ensure that your hard earned dollars aren’t being spent on lights left on when not in use!  Practical and ingenius- as soon as I’m out of the doghouse I plan to get a few more for some other lights in the house.

Lutron-survey-infographic FNL (2)

Want to check out a Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor Switch for your house?

25% off Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensor dimmers and switches on PLUS one free Claro single-gang wallplate ($4.90 suggested list price) with each qualifying item.

Promo Code: wholeftthelightson

          Code expiration date: Sunday, Oct. 31, 2013(subject to change)

You may be wondering why I decided to share what really happened during the installation process.  I don’t want nor intend to lie to anyone on this site. I’m real. This is me, for good and for bad.  I screwed up.  Had I not been sick over the weekend, we might have had time to re-install this switch, but no one felt superb in this house and I had a fever for almost the whole weekend. SO…it got delayed until today. Since my husband took the switch OUT for me to get the dining room light working properly (and safely, I might add) I wasn’t able to get a video review of the whole process. The few minutes I enjoyed it, it was fabulous.  But I’ll be updating again in a month or two and I’ll give you a much less OOPS report on how things are going and what we’ve noticed about leaving lights on.


Video of install!! It’s here!