August 27, 2010

Flavorful Low-Sodium Family Meals

I try my best as a mom to offer my family nutritious, low-fat food. Unfortunately , I often fail to pay attention to how much sodium is in my meals. I’m sure you perfect mamas out there never feed your family processed food or lay out a feast of fast food for your family. I’m guilty. Thankfully, I’m now doing my best to monitor the sodium content of the meals I put on the table.

The folks at Mrs. Dash offer salt-free options to help add flavor and taste to your favorite meals. Mrs. Dash has introduced a large selection of Seasoning Blends to accent your favorite dishes. Not familiar with Mrs. Dash? This salt-free blend of herbs and spices contains no MSG and can be added to a wide variety of foods. You can add the Original Blend in place of your regular table salt. Season meats and vegetables to give them that extra punch of flavor.

Do you like your food spicy? You can try Salt-Free Mrs. Dash Spicy on pizza, chicken, or even mixed into cream cheese for a tasty tortilla spread. My husband usually loves sprinkling chili flakes on pizza, I think we’ll definitely have to give Mrs. Dash Spicy blend a try on our next pizza night.

Would you like to add a little bit of zing to your vegetable dishes? You can try mixing a little bit of butter with Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper and drizzle over broccoli or spinach. Its lemony zest helps add flavor to chicken and fish.

In the mood for a little Latin flavor? Mrs. Dash also offers a Fiesta Lime seasoning. Sprinkle it in your ground beef as a salt-free alternative to taco seasoning. Sprinkle it on fajitas or even chips that have been warmed in the oven.

Do you like Italian? Give the Garlic and Herb Seasoning a try. Sprinkle it over warm buttered French bread, or mix it in to the ground beef you add to your favorite spaghetti sauce. I think this seasoning would also be excellent on pork tenderloin. Simply drizzle some olive oil over the top of the tenderloin, sprinkle on the Garlic and Herb seasoning, and then cook as usual.

We all know that a low-sodium diet is essential to a long, healthy life. The folks at Mrs. Dash seek to bring a world of flavor without the need for salt. While I’ve not had the opportunity to try every single one of their new Salt-Free Blends, I look forward to tasting them in the near future! You can add flavor to meals without adding salt. Mrs. Dash can help.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Mrs. Dash and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Five Simple Things to Keep Kids Smiles Healthy and Bright

I get a kick out of my son's little teeth. He has five of them now and that little toothy grin evokes a smile just about every time. My new concern - taking care of those pearly whites in the hopes of avoiding the dreaded cavities and keeping his smile healthy and white. Here are five tips for protecting your child's chompers.
  1. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Opt instead for natural sugars found in fresh fruits, or better still, choose fresh, cut veggies for a nutritious between meals pick-me-up.
  2. To help make sure they brush their teeth for the right amount of time buy an electric toothbrush like the Philips Sonicare with a built-in two minute timer. When the brush stops, you're done.
  3. Make an "I did it" chart and encourage your child to keep up with their teeth-brushing duties. Offer a fun family reward for a job well done.
  4. Pre-strung, floss picks make flossing easier for kids.
  5. Set a good example and take care of your own teeth. I'm no where near as good about this as I should be. I always forget to floss . . . it's bad, I know. I'm trying to be better.
What do you do to help your kids' teeth stay shiny and bright? Join in the discussion with the rest of us at TwitterMoms!


I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Trident blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

August 25, 2010

Nacho Mamma Tees and Crazy Dog T-Shirt Review

I love quirky t-shirts. In fact, I pretty much live in a mom uniform of t-shirts and bluejeans. I recently received some fantastic shirts from the folks at Crazy Dog T shirts and Nacho Mamma Tees.  It was so incredibly difficult to pick just one. Here are some of my favorites:

 I'm a sucker for math jokes - embarrassing, I know. I can't tell you how many times I was tempted to answer math questions that way.

 As a resident of New Mexico, I got a kick out of this shirt. 

I finally picked this one from Crazy Dog Tshirts - I love Mr. Rogers

I picked the "Pugs not Drugs" for my little brother from Nacho Mamma Tees. 

The t-shirts were soft and very comfortable. The colors were vibrant and attractive. All in all, I was impressed by the quality of the shirt. The fit was good and the sizing seemed to be as expected. Check out Crazy Dog T-shirts and Nacho Mamma Tees for a great selection of novelty shirts. 

**Fair Warning: Although there are tons of funny shirts on these sites, not all of the shirts are family-friendly. You can definitely find some great shirts for family members of all ages including kids and your four-legged pals, but be aware that some shirts include references to drinking or are of a sexual nature.

Next time you're on the hunt for a funny t-shirt for yourself or for a buddy, check out our friends at Crazy Dog T-shirts and Nacho Mamma Tees.


I received a complimentary shirt to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own honest thoughts of the product.

August 19, 2010

Giveaway Ending Soon - LOW ENTRIES!!

The $25 Gift Card to Sasha's Kiddie Products ends on Friday (8/20). As of this moment there are only 21 entries!! I seriously love my stroller shade and I know you will love their stuff too! Who doesn't want free stuff? It only takes a second to enter. Don't have young kids - win and give it to a friend or family member!!


August 18, 2010

Swagbucks Reward

About three weeks ago, I mentioned that I signed up for Swagbucks. I'm excited that I got my first $5 Amazon gift card today. It didn't take very much work at all. I think I'm might get some fun new songs for my iPod. If you're interested in signing up you can click on the "Sign Up" button on the bottom of the page! Let me know if you have questions about how it works! It's a fun, free, way to get some extra goodies.


"Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad" by Shari Braendel *Book Review

Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad: A Style Guide for Every Woman
I have never been especially fashionable. Let me rephrase that. I have never been in the least bit fashionable. To be honest, it's never been a priority. I, as a general rule, would rather spend my time and money on other things. But in recent years I've begun to re-evaluate my stance on the whole outward appearance thing. I think aging has a lot to do with it. I can no longer successfully pull off the no make-up, hair in a ponytail, t-shirt and jeans look. This calls for an intervention - enter Shari Braendel and her book Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad: A Style Guide for Every Woman.

In her book Shari offers tips on how to dress in flattering colors in styles, the proper way to accessorize, and even how to pick haircuts and glasses to flatter your face. I found it to be a tremendously helpful resource for a busy mom like myself. She shows how to create a "look" that is custom tailored to your personal coloring, shape, and style.

Braendel states that our outward appearance should reflect our inner self. When I failed to care for my outward appearance, I was effectively communicating that perhaps I didn't value myself. Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, people make judgments about us based on the way we look. So, why wouldn't we want to put our best foot forward?

I found the book to be very helpful.The most beneficial section for me was on how to properly accessorize by using the 16 point checklist. Shari also offers a free e-color analysis on her website, I ordered a set of fabric swatches specially suited to my coloring, so that the next time I go shopping I can select colors that will help me look my best. I learned that black is a no-no for me . . . big problem, half of my wardrobe is black. Guess that means it's time to hit the mall!

I had the opportunity to e-mail Shari and she was tremendously helpful and friendly. I'm appreciative for her ministry to Christian ladies and the encouragement she offers.


I received a complimentary copy of the book from Zondervan to facilitate my review. These are my honest thoughts of the product, I was not obligated to give a positive endorsement.

August 17, 2010

Five Lessons Every Kid Should Learn

There are hundreds of thousands of lessons we teach children during the course of their lifetimes. It was hard to narrow it down to the top five, but these are at the top of my list.
  1. You are loved, but you are not the center of the universe. Learn the value of putting others before yourself. 
  2. Home is a safe place. You are always free to share your fears, concerns, and frustrations with mom and dad. 
  3. Always do your best. You don't have to BE the best, but you do need to DO your best. 
  4. Your value does not come from your appearance or your possessions, but from the fact that God loves you and created you just the way you are - you don't have to be like everyone else.
  5. Show respect to those around you.
What are the top lessons in your family? How do you teach them to your kids?

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Nanny McPhee Returns blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

August 12, 2010

Ten tips for saving money during the back to school season

It's hard to believe that the school year is already upon us!! Many parents across the country are checking out supply (and demand) lists and looking for an easy way to save a few extra bucks. Here are my top ten money saving tips for the back to school season.

  1.  Does your state offer a tax-free weekend? Many states offer a special exemption from sales tax on clothing during a weekend close to the beginning of school. This can easily take an extra 7-8% off of your final cost. 
  2. Get together with a group of friends and host a swap. Everyone brings outgrown items in good condition to exchange with others. 
  3. Check the sale papers. This time of year, office supply stores offer crazy sales on paper, crayons, glue sticks and more. Go ahead and stock up for the school year. 
  4. If the store only allows you a limited number of the item (ex. only 5 folders at the special rate). Wait a couple hours or come back the next day to stock up on more. 
  5. Use coupons to save on everything from clothing to backpacks. Keep an eye out for coupons that offer a discount off of your entire purchase. 
  6. Bring circulars into the store of your choice and see if they will price match the competitors. Some places may even offer to beat the competitors price. 
  7. You don't always have to buy the name brand to get a good quality product.
  8. Select reusable lunch bags, thermoses, and water bottles over disposable items. It will save money and reduce waste.
  9. Pack a lunch instead of buying in the cafeteria. It may take a little extra planning, but a packed lunch has the potential to save a lot of money over the course of a year (especially if you're multiplying the cost by 3-4 kids)
  10. Be willing to splurge on one special item for your child (a special lunch box, outfit, or backpack). Make sure they know ahead of time that they are not going to get everything their heart desires, but that you are willing to help get one special thing to get the school year off to a good start.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

August 11, 2010

100 Prayers God Loves to Hear - Book Review

As a Christian parent, I want my child to grow up understanding the importance of prayer in his personal life.
100 Prayers God Loves to Hear is a collection of prayers and devotional thoughts that can be included at bedtime or family devotions. It includes many traditional prayers and scripture verses.

I liked that there is a short devotional thought to help explain the prayer and scripture verse. Each prayer also features a "My Little Prayer Reminder," which is a short quote emphasizing the importance of prayer. 

100 Prayers God Loves to Hear, 100 Praise SongsThe pages are bright and colorful and are appealing to young eyes. I like that each prayer also has a coordinating praise song. The songs are short reminders of the lessons learned in that day's devotion. I'm sure the songs will be stuck in my head for the next million years, but the message is positive and true.

I thought it was somewhat funny that they included the "Serenity Prayer" as one of the prayers. I'm not sure how many children understand the meaning of the word serenity (although that days lesson does provide a definition). I just don't generally envision a child asking God for "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," but I suppose it's a prayer that anyone can pray, especially for children who sometimes feel helpless to change things in their own lives. I also think it's funny that they have the inside scoop on the prayers that "God Loves to Hear." I think it's kinda hard to say that with any degree of certainty, but maybe that's just me.

All in all, it is a well-done collection of prayers and devotions. The songs are catchy and professionally done. It's a great resource for family devotions or bedtime.


I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. I was not obligated to give a positive endorsement.

August 6, 2010

Sasha's Kiddie Products Review and Giveaway

I live in a part of the country known for its high winds and warm sun. I have had an incredibly difficult time finding a stroller cover that not only offers my son shade, but also is not knocked off by a gust of wind. So, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to try the Standard Single Stroller Sun and Wind Cover from Sasha’s Kiddie Products.

I bought a stroller cover from another manufacturer a few months ago and had a horrible time getting it attached, and even once attached it did not offer full coverage for the stroller. With the Sasha’s cover I was able to fit it to my stroller in a matter of seconds. A Velcro strip held it securely in place, so I never once had to worry about the wind knocking it off. My son was shielded on all sides, and was still able to see out to enjoy the scenery.

Here's how they describe the unique features of this product: 
Our sun shades offer approximately  70% protection from the Sun's Cancer Causing UVA/UVB Rays, Heat, Glare, Wind, Dust and Debris and Flying Insects. We have been schooled to believe that higher percentages are better than lower ones. This is not the case when deciding to by a sun cover for a baby.  This is because the higher percentage of protection means the more the material is more opaque and therefore limits breathing (ventilation) and eliminates the see-through feature of the product. Parents, when going outdoors for a stroll with their babies,  do not want to have to stop every five minutes to look underneath a solid material to see if their babies are OK. And what good is taking a baby for a stroll if they can't see anything?
The image above is a picture taken from underneath the sun shade. It shows that visibility is not negatively affected by the shade. 

In fact, the creator was inspired to create these products after watching a mother use a blanket to shield a child from the sun on a very hot day. You can read about what inspired this product by checking out the About Us page on their website. They have been innovators in the field of sun shade accessories for over a decade, often working with companies to insure a quality fit custom tailored to their brand of stroller.

I was very impressed by the quality of the product. I always try a product out on myself before I try it with my son. I tested the material for breathability and visibility. I liked that I was able to see through the cover to check on my son. My little one was able to enjoy the view on our walk, and I didn’t have to stop every five minutes to check on him. I was very impressed with the fit of the cover. I use an Eddie Bauer travel system stroller and their standard single stroller cover fit perfectly.

Here’s what they say about their products:
Sasha's Sun and Wind Covers are products designed for parents to use to protect their baby's/child's delicate eyes, skin and body from the harmful effects of the sun's heat, glare, cancer causing ultraviolet UVA/UVB rays, wind, dust, debris, and flying insects. They are water resistant and flame retardant. They are unique in that they protect, yet still allow parents to see in and children to see out at all times.

Sasha’s Kiddie Products offers a huge line of accessories for strollers, car seats, bassinets, joggers and bike trailers. They also offer heavy duty winter covers, travel bags, organizer bags, gate check bags, stroller theft-proof locks, parasols, and car window shades. There really is something for everyone. One of my favorite features of Sasha’s is their ability to provide stroller covers custom designed to fit particular stroller brands.

I would definitely recommend this product to my mommy friends. Rating 5/5.

You can check out their website to hear what other parents have to say about their products.

They also offer gift certificates on their websites. This would make a wonderful gift for moms-to-be. They can select a stroller cover or accessory perfectly suited to their needs.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Sasha’s Kiddie Products one of my readers will have the opportunity to win a $25 gift certificate to their website. There are tons of fantastic things to choose from!

Mandatory Entry
Visit Sasha’s Kiddie Products and leave me a comment telling me which product you love!

Extra Entries
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Giveaway open to US and Canada, 18+. Giveaway ends 8/20 at 11:59 PM (Mountain time). Mandatory entry must be completed in order for any of the extra entries to be counted. Please have an e-mail address visible in your comment or in your public profile. Winner has 48 hours to respond to winning e-mail notification or an alternate winner will be selected.

August 4, 2010

Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum **Book Review

Latte Daze: A Maya Davis Novel (Maya Davis Series)Life is full of changes. Unfortunately for Maya Davis, most of those changes seem to be happening all at once. Her roommate becomes engaged to her ex-boyfriend, her brother and sister-in-law announce that they are pregnant, and to top it all off, her relationship with her new boyfriend Jack introduces a whole new realm of change into her life.

This book was really cute. Erynn Mangum writes the way I think. Some of the thoughts running through the character's mind mirrored my own thoughts, even down to the corny jokes and movie references. It was a delightful summer read. Nothing too serious or heavy. Great for teens and adults alike.

Published by the folks at NavPress - known for their discipleship material, you can definitely see the Christian perspective throughout the book. The main character, Maya, although not perfect in her faith, does spend daily time reading her Bible and attends church and Bible study. There is a good Christian message to it without it being overly preachy.

This is the second book centered around the character of Maya Davis. The first book, Cool Beans involves the beginning of the relationship between Maya's best friend Jen and Maya's ex-boyfriend, Travis. Even though I have not read Cool Beans, I was able to follow the story and stay engaged with the characters. You can definitely read Latte Daze first and not feel lost. I look forward to going back and reading the first book in this series to get more back story on this quirky character.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."