Bright and colorful styles for Spring from The Children’s Place (Giveaway)




I have to say, while I don’t necessarily miss the fashions from the late 1980’s, the bright, bold and vibrant colors that are making  a splash for spring fashions at The Children’s Place are childrens place tween spring fashions

She is not wearing the belted denim neon patch shorts yet, or at least, not without leggings underneath.  She’s determined to wear grey leggings under the shorts.  The striped ruffle tank is grey with the neon green stripes so I suppose it works.  She LOVES this look.  I have to steal the sequin icon sweatshirt to wash it because she wants to wear it so much! The shorts have adjustable waist- very key since kids grow and change so much from month to month- day to day, week to week?  (My kids sometimes have to after a big meal!)  I love the details on these pieces- the fun bow on one shoulder of the tank, the ruffle at the bottom- fun touches that the kids adore!

My favorite piece from the spring line is the tutu mesh skirt which I’m sad to report is not on the site right now but I hope it comes back, the kids want to get it for a friend for her birthday.  It’s just darling.  It’s “cool” enough that they feel hip, but “cute” enough that mom is satisfied.  You can pair this skirt with a casual tee to dress it down or jazz it up with some sparkles or a fun jewel cardigan sweater  like my older daughter is doing. Just a guess but the look my 3 year old is sporting is probably *not* what the designers had in mind…although the colors totally work together.  Don’t you agree?  Another favorite thing about The Children’s Place- almost all of their pieces can be mix and match.  That means we parents get more for our money, and kids can express their personal styles!

childrens place spring fashions girls



The flower print jeggings are over the top cute. My daughter dances around when she wears these calling them her fashion show pants.  They are a bi big on her but she’ll fit them at least for a year- with the adjustable waist, they’ll actually stay up!  She loves to wear the skirt over them, but my favorite is with a solid colored tee and a cute little shrug sweater or a sequin zip-up fleece hoodie. I also like knowing they’ll stand up to whatever she does in them- dancing, playing, singing, rolling down hills!

The boys have some fabulous items for spring too.  I am in love with plaid shorts for my son right now and will be grabbing him a few pairs. (The Children’s Place did send us an outfit for him but it was a size 8 and he’s nowhere near that big so we donated the outfit).  I love the preppy look and I think it’s adorable and cool on little guys.

spring 2013 childrens place boy


One reader will win a $25 gift card to The Children’s Place !

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Samples were received for review.  Opinions are my own.

Husky Liners Review and Giveaway

Husky Liner Cargo MatOur new Husky Liners cargo liner and floor mats arrived the day before a huge blizzard hit Connecticut.  I was so excited to see the boxes on the front porch when I arrived home from work.  We love Husky Liners because they are custom-fit for each make and model.  They also have raised containment walls and tread pattern the mess stays away from your shoes. With a lifetime warranty against cracking and breaking, it is hard to beat the value of this great product.  The are available for Front Seat, 2nd Seat, 3rd Seat, Center Hump and Cargo in Black, Grey or Tan.  Husky Liners are also Made in the USA.

Husky Liner mats delivered hours before the blizzard hit.

Husky Liner mats delivered hours before the blizzard hit.

Features of the Husky Liners

  • Features the original “classic tread plate” design (My husband loves the diamond plate design)
  • Designed to contour the complex surfaces of your specific vehicle’s floorboard, using the latest in laser scanning technology. Laser Scanning Technology provides a precision fit contour design for your specific vehicle’s floorboard.
  • Raised containment walls to help keep mud, mess and spills on the liner and off your vehicles expensive, hard to clean carpet.
  • Most late model vehicles feature the Patented Form-fit Edge™ design.
  • Front & Back Seat Floor Liners are sold separately.

These mats hold the messes and are easily removed to be rinsed out. Also, look how it covers the hump between the seats.


This is after one week of use. I love the high sides that protect the carpet from all that water, salt and sand.

One reader will a set of front floor liners (subject to availability for specific make and model)

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I was provided with product to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.




Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga! Natural Organic Sweetener

Are you looking for a natural organic sweetener?? I had the opportunity to try Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga! and I think you are really going to enjoy these products! Hey Shuga! is all natural and made from cane sugar, while Lil’ Shuga is made from a blend

of Stevia Leaft Extract and Cane Sugar. heyshuga-1 What is Hey Shuga! “Hey Shuga! is an all organic, sugar cane syrup. The convenience of a liquid makes it perfect for hot & cold beverages, as topping for fresh fruit, an addition to your morning cereal, an ingredient for baking, an enhancer to your Friday night cocktail, and much more… Soon to be available in natural Vanilla, Hazelnut, Maple and Irish Cream flavors.” F What is Lil’ Shuga! “Lil’ Shuga! is a natural blend of Stevia leaf extract and

Cane sugar. The result is a delicious blend that is two times as sweet as sugar, allowing you to use less for the same amount of sweetness. Maintain the health benefits of Stevia, but with the familiar taste of cane sugar! Soon to be available in natural Vanilla, Hazelnut, Maple and Irish Cream flavors.”

Hey Shuga! was generous enough to send me samples of both of their products. After trying out both Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga! for a week, I am in love!! This time of year I drink a lot of hot tea and find that this liquid sweetener is absolutely perfect for hot drinks! It immediately dissolves into my beverage and lends a perfectly sweet undertone. I also tried it out on my oatmeal in

the mornings. It was a perfect substitute for brown sugar, honey or agave syrup. You cheyshuga-3an even use it for baking (substitue 3/4 cup Hey Shuga! for every cup of sugar). Why do I love Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga!? My favorite thing about this sweetener is it’s delicate sweet flavor, somewhat like a mild honey and more delicate than a granulated sugar. It has a decadent consistency: somewhere between maple syrup and honey. It can be used anywhere that sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup or agave syrup is used, even baking! heyshuga-2 Lil’ Shuga is a more concentrated version of Hey Shuga!. Therefore, I can sweeten my items with half the amount of product AND half the calories! It tastes just as a delcious as the original product and is all natural. There is absolutely no “artifical sweetener” taste because Stevia is used (an natural extract from the Stevia plant). Both Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga are made with no artificial flavors or colors and no preservatives. They are GMO free, Gluten-free, 100% organic and Vegan friendly. If you are looking for an all natural sweetener that tastes delicious and is instantly soluble, try Hey Shuga! or Lil’ Shuga! They can be purchase here or on Amazon.   “A Sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are my own.”

Print the photos on your phone with Groovebook- for FREE!

print photos from your phone with groovebook

I have a few photos shy of 1000 on my iPhone camera roll right now.  That’s a LOT of images.  Some photos are silly, but many are meaningful.  I actually did NOT bring my “big” camera to Disney World with us last month, opting for the convenience of a phone sized camera and not having to stress about smashing my beloved camera or changing lenses, charging those batteries, having enough memory cards, etc.  This is my YEAR TO PRINT PHOTOS, if you didn’t already know.  I take so many photos and never actually do anything with them.  So I asked myself, what’s the point in preserving memories if I’m not going to do anything with them? So I decided this is the year I will start to at least get prints.  Thanks to apps like Groovebook, I can get 100 prints a month from my phone, in a cool little book with perforated edges so I can remove the photos easily, for FREE.  Now, I don’t know about you, but free is a nice price that makes me happy.


Here’s a question for you- how many pictures are on your phone right now?  My next question- what are you going to DO with those photos?  Leave them on your phone? Share them on Facebook?  I do a mix of both.  Why not check out Groovebook and get  100 4.5×6.5 glossy prints from your phone each month- for FREE- shipped right to your house and ordered right from your phone in just a few minutes time.  You can choose which photos are printed, which was reassuring for me since some of the images I get with my phone aren’t really ones I need prints of, but was taking to show something to someone or me being funny or amused.  Groovebook is available for iTunes and Google Play right now, although I think they are working on the Android marketplace as well.

groovebook screenshot

You will pay $2.99 processing and shipping for each book you get from Groovebook- not a bad deal at all in my book.  (Hee, get it?  in my book?  They send a book? No?) The app does charge you each month so that’s something to be cognizant of.  It comes to $35.88 for the year, for 1200 prints.  Not bad at all.  Of course, I have a code that gets
your first Groovebook shipped and processed FREE, just enter MAMALOVESHERGROOVE...that means you’ll get 1200 photos for $32.89 total.  The photos do come bound in a book with a thick, durable cardstock-style cover to protect your images- each photo is perforated so you can remove it with ease.

So, what are YOU going to do with all of those pictures on your smart phone?  Are you going to get your Groove(book) on like me?  Speaking of…it’s time to order my 2nd month of photos!


I can fill my fridge with groceries again thanks to our new Amana Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know – we have had a fridge for a long time (too long) that worked fine unless you tried to put a fair amount of food in it.  When I say a fair amount, I’m talking like maybe 2 grocery bags full of items that may go into the refrigerator.I’m not talking about cramming every single inch of the fridge full of food for a party.  For a little over a year, when our fridge was ‘filled’ with a full load of groceries– milk, juices, fruit, veggies, yogurts, lunch meat, cheese, bagels, breads, etc. within a few hours, the fridge would be “warmish” and the temp rising.  The freezer would be frosting over.  The time I heard my husband actually say to me “You can’t put so much food in the fridge, it can’t handle it” I knew we had a problem.  I mean, the basic idea of a refrigerator is to actually keep food cold, right?  So having one that I can’t put food into…well, I had a lot of thoughts to share about that. It got to the point of us having to thaw the freezing unit -thingy almost every time I went shopping with the freezer disassembled and me blowdrying the frost away….we’d lived like this for months. Frustrating, annoying, and expensive (I err on the side of caution in case foods spoil).

amana 21.9 cubic foot bottom-freezer refrigerator stainless steel filled

Fast forward to now, and we have a brand new Amana 21.9 -cubic foot bottom-freezer refrigerator, and guess what?  I can fill the fridge!  It’s like the most beautiful thing in the world!  It’s also stainless- brushed, so the kids can still cover every single bit of the front with magnets….but it’s sleek and modern looking.  And it works.

amana bottom freezer

Did I mention it works?  The guys came to install the fridge, they plugged it in, turned the settings to 3 and voila. It turned on, and that’s it.  We haven’t had to adjust things or thaw things. I have gone to BJ’s and stocked up on all kinds of things and no matter how much food there is, the fridge keeps working! It’s quite amazing. I am in love with my Amana bottom-freezer refrigerator. I won’t lie.

amana bottom freezer inside lookOn a more serious note, I’m really happywith this refrigerator.  It’s energy-star efficient, which is super important to us.  It’s estimated to cost about $43/year to run.  That’s HUGE to us. We pride ourselves in not having high utility bills.  We are diligent about turning lights off, unplugging  appliances and electronics when not in use- but the refrigerator has always been a tough one- it’s not like you can unplug it half the day!

The 21.9 cubic foot refrigerator is the perfect size for our kitchen.  Do I dream of a larger fridge? Yes. I won’t lie. But it won’t happen. Our house is too small.  The 21.9 cubic feet really is enough to comfortably keep groceries for a family of 5 who go through a lot of produce and beverages well stocked. Nicely sized drawers mean I can put the makings of our salads in the vegetable crisper, and a good amount of fruit in the fruit drawer.  The drawers are spill-catchers- which to me is a must-have with small children or clumsy adults (me) in the house.   The drawers are also half-width so you can move them to whatever heights work best for your refrigeration needs. 

amana bottom freezer full

I love my fridge. It’s really attractive, functions well, and fits my kitchen.  It’s got what I need and does the job it needs to do. It’s fairly priced at $1449.00.

The only “thing” is that with stainless (and I mean ALL stainless), everything shows. I have 3 little kids who like to help themselves to things in the fridge and/or freezer.  That means I have a constant display of a variety of sizes of hand and fingerprints all over my refrigerator.  It’s not something that bothers me.  If it bothers you, I’d still recommend this fridge- but I’d maybe get it in black or white and not stainless. If the fingerprints bug you before you buy it, think how much they’ll bug you when they are in your sight all day long!

I received a refrigerator for review.  Opinions are my own.

Aquaphor’s Tender Loving Care For Your Skin- Not just for babies (Prize Pack Giveaway) #WorksWonders

aquaphor tlc prize pack

Aquaphor was one of the first brand names I remember other moms recommending on a message board when we were trying to conceive our first child.  It’s so great, they said.  So versatile.  Great quality.  So obviously, as time progressed and I got pregnant, and started preparing for baby, I purchased some of Aquaphor’s Baby Healing Ointment.  At first, I bought the tube.  Then I got some of the gentle baby wash and shampoo.  It wasn’t very long into my pregnancy that I discovered one of the many, many “surprises” that come along with the pregnancy hormones- skin changes.

Almost overnight my hands went from normal hands to dried up hands that felt like they were going to crack.  I was hooked.  I used the Aquaphor ointment on my hands, my feet, dry ankles, lips…everywhere.  By the time the baby came, I was on my second tube.  I got that tube, and a big tub.  Then I actually had a baby (and then two babies, and then the third baby) and we found we used Aquaphor Baby products very regularly.  When my mom started declining and started to need oxygen, I brought her a tub of Aquaphor.  She used it to soothe the irritated skin under her nose.

There are many uses for Aquaphor besides for baby care -caregivers for older children, adults and seniors who have incontinence issues can also use Aquaphor as a treatment for protection and for relief.

little girl aquaphorbig girl aquaphor

I think my personal favorite application for Aquaphor’s Baby healing ointment (now that my littlest is 3) is to keep the kids lips, cheeks, nose and chin from getting chapped when playing outdoors.  We woke up to well over 3 feet of snow this morning, with drifts 6-8 feet high in places in our yard- there was nothing that would keep my kids inside.  They were ready to head outside before 7am .  Of course, they had absolutely nowhere to go since they couldn’t actually walk…but they all had Aquaphor on their little faces to protect their skin from the cold harsh wind (blizzard conditions lingering) and cold, wet snow.  I have been known to put some on my husband’s cheeks too before he heads out to snowblow the driveway.  I think I’ve done it so many times he does it on his own now!




Aquaphor DEFINITELY helps us to enjoy our favorite winter activity- playing outside in the snow !!!

little man winter fun

He was yelling into the the tunnel he dug to see if anyone in China could hear him. He’s 5. It was funny.

After a long day of playing outside, coming in to dry off and warm up, going back out…we were all pretty beat.  The kids were all in agreement that Aquaphor ROCKS! because they sent us Ice Age Continental Drift with some other goodies and we all snuggled in with blankets, hot cocoa, and enjoyed a relaxing family movie night.  I think we made a lot of memories this weekend- with the blizzard, not seeing out the bathroom window upstairs because there was a huge drift on the roof below it, playing hide and seek in the snowbanks…movie to end the day…that’s what this life is all about.

One reader will win a Bundle of Joy Package from Aquaphor including:

$50 Visa gift card, Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment, Aquaphor Baby Wash & Shampoo, Pottery Barn picture frame, Godiva hot chocolate, a “Warmy Buddy” Penguin, and Ice Age Continental Drift (2012) DVD!
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I received a prize package from Aquaphor to thank me for taking the time to share this post. Opinions are my own.

Have you broken any resolutions yet? Set new goals?

Here’s the thing about resolutions.  I break them.  I mean, not in the “oh screw it, it’s been 4 days, gimme chocolate” kind of way, but more of a “oh, right. I fully intended to create time in my schedule do to things just for me and kept pushing that further and further back” so here we are in early February and I’ve stuck to…well, none of my resolutions.  Instead of being all upset with myself, because HEY! GUESS WHAT? I’m human!  I’ve decided I’m going to just work towards the goals. 

I’m also going to share my goals with you.  Maybe if I do that I’ll feel accountable.  So my goals, so that I can “Build a Better Year” for myself and my family in 2013:

Do more as a family- travel, play, hike, explore, movies, whatever.  But all 5 of us.  (Notice I’m not specifying frequency)

Move.  (I am not talking about moving my home.  I’m talking about my body.  I’m not going to entertain the idea of 6 days a week at the gym.  Although laughing at the suggestion would last as long as a workout, I’m sure, and probably burn some calories in the meantime!?)

Run a 5k.  Twice. Please note, when I say “run” I mean on my terms…which for most of the human race would be more of a “perky walk” but it’s motion and it’s how I roll (or how my rolls move?) and it gets me towards that healthier goal. I’m signed up for the Color Me Rad race April 27th in Hartford (My team name: Perky Walkers”) and if you are local, come join me!  I can’t promise speed but I can almost guarantee you’ll have a blast.  My second race (or maybe more, but let’s not be hasty. I like attainable goals) will be in November, for Jamie’s Run.

Be healthier. There’s never going to be a time in my life I don’t want chocolate. I’m accepting it.  I’m embracing it.  But I want to choose a healthier option sometimes.  So that’s my goal.  Being healthier is kind of a generalized goal so lots can fall under this goal.  More chances to be successful, you know?

Do more crafty stuff.  I love crafty stuff, and I need to do more.  With and without the kids.  It’s a great outlet.

build your best year

In an effort to help moms make 2013 their best year yet, Visa Prepaid has created the Build Your Best Year instant win game. Build Your Best Year wants to help US keep our resolutions- simply by setting goals on Visa Prepaid’s Facebook page on the Build Your Best Year tab, you can be entered for a chance to win headphones and Visa Gift Cards, plus each time you play counts as an entry into the grand prize of a Tablet PC with kickstand and keyboard.  There are prizes to be won daily- 35 gift cards and 1 set of headphones every day from now until 11:59pm PST on 3/5/13.  Sharing with the simple Facebook share button or tweet button means that if your friends sign up from your link, you get more entries toward the Tablet PC with kickstand and keyboard.  I hope someone I know wins some prizes!!

I am blogging on behalf of Visa Prepaid and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Discover more at or join the Visa Prepaid community at

NuGo Bars Review and Giveaway

nugo nutrition barsToday the mail carrier brought me this incredible selection of NuGo Dark Chocolate nutrition bars.  I am already quite familiar with the Chocolate Pretzel variety.  That is my breakfast most work days.  It is easy to throw in my work bag and it is so good, it makes me happy. The combination of the sweet and crunchy filling, the dark decadent chocolate and the amazing sea salt is something I will never get sick of.

NuGo bars are  Gluten FreeNon-Dairy, OU PareveVegan and have 10 Grams of Protein.   My husband has one of the Peanut Butter Cup bars everyday.  Before switching to a plant-based diet, my husband was a huge peanut butter cup fan.  This bar fills that craving without making him compromise his dietary plan.  They are truly delicious and pack a load of flavor into 200 calories.  The NuGo Dark bars are filling and almost make me feel like I am cheating and eating something unhealthy.

You can buy NuGo Bars online or use their Store Locator to find one of many stores in the US and Canada that carry them.  I get mine by the case at my local Whole Foods Market.  NuGo Bars are clearly labeled and NuGo Nutrition, the company that makes REAL dark chocolate coated protein bars for many lifestyles, urges the FDA to create a standard of identity for dark chocolate. Consumers deserve to know what is in their food!  They have an online petition that can be signed to support this issue.

NuGo Nutrtion Bars giveaway  vegan gluten free dairy free

NuGo also likes to give back to the community.  They donate a portion of their sales to The Children’s Alopecia Project which is the only non-profit devoted specifically to all forms of the incurable autoimmune hair loss disease, Alopecia. Their mission is to help any child in need who is living with this life altering disease. Their goal is to build the self-esteem in children so they become stronger teens and more productive adults and become the advocates of tomorrow.


NuGo has offered to giveaway a mixed box of all five certified gluten-free NuGo Dark flavors (a total of 12 bars) to a winner who lives in the continental US.

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Samples of these bars were provided to facilitate the review.  All opinions are my own.


Valentine’s Day at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Valentines day Chocolate and GiftsI already love Whole Foods Market and I love chocolate.  So, you put those two together and I am a happy mama.    Last week I went to Whole Foods Market in Glastonbury for a blogger event.  They put out a spread of desserts and some savories for us to sample as we chatted about blog stats and posts.  They were showcasing their chocolates and Valentine’s Day offerings.

Dark Chocolate Covered Straberies and Valentine Heart cookies Whole Foods Market The main thing I love about Whole Foods is that they always have options for people with different diets.  I do not eat meat, dairy or eggs and they had gorgeous dark chocolate covered strawberries and samples of vegan candies and chocolates.  They also had a gluten-free chocolate cake.  For the omnivores, as my son calls himself, they had a mashed sweet potato topped with panko crusted shrimp and a maple/chocolate coated bacon.

Whole Foods is more than a grocery store.  They always have a great selection of books, fitness videos, clothes, candles and gifts for all ages.  For Valentine’s Day they have stuffed animals, candles, bath salts, cards, chocolates and more!  They even have great Valentine themed napkins.  As I write this post I realize I should have taken pictures of their amazing floral department.  The staff there are so knowledgeable and helpful.  You can run in last minute, pick up some flowers, chocolates and a prepared meal to make the perfect Valentine’s date.  Or better yet, send your loved one in with a list and let them bring it all home!

wholefoodsgiftswholefoodsswagI took a picture of just one of the end caps filled with gifts ideas.  They also sent me home with a fun swag bag that had some chocolates and an awesome soy candle in it.

Do you have a Whole Foods Market near you?  What is your favorite department?

Check out the new Dove Body Washes

dove mom ambassador

I’m excited to announce I’m a Dove Mom Ambassador!  My family has used Dove products for years and years and I’m thrilled to be part of this program.
Now that we have a bathtub worth soaking in, I’ve been taking more and more baths…and what fun is a bath with no kind of bubbles?  But I find almost immediately that most bubble bath products dry out my skin  very quickly, which makes me itchy and uncomfortable. We’ve always used Dove soaps for our bar soap, and I was eager to try the Dove Body Washes.  The washes have a new formula that contains 100% natural moisturizers which means when I’m soaking in the tub, my skin is able to absorb those moisturizers and get some relief from my dry skin.

While I love scented products, I find they often dry my skin out, and I need something more gentle, especially in the winter months when heat and cold weather dry me out more than normal. I turn to Dove over and over because the products are gentle enough for my skin but also feel a bit luxurious

dove body wash

I am not just using these body washes in the tub, though.  They are my new way to wash in the shower, too. I love lather (probably stemming from my love of bubbles) and these Dove washes have a really nice, full lather.  I love it.  I feel like I’m having spa time in my own house.  (Never mind the cat pawing to get in, the kids howling at the door because of some injustice another committed, the phone ringing, or the dog barking downstairs).  The key to the great lather combined with the mildness of the body washes makes me a happy, happy girl.  It makes my skin happy as well. The Glycinate ingredient, typically found in high-end body washes, not only reduces damage to proteins during cleansing, but also creates a soap-comparable lather that rinses cleanly. 

Visit Dove’s Facebook page to stay up to date and be the first to learn about deals, products and coupons!

What do you like to use for body wash?

I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Dove and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.