Celebrate July 4th with Staples!

Posted by Jenna | Monday, June 30, 2014

**The product for this review was provided by Staples. All opinions are my own.

When the 4th of July comes around each year, one of my first thoughts is to plan a family get-together. Last summer we invited my whole family over and had an amazing time enjoying each other's company, playing in the pool and of course...enjoying a delicious BBQ meal! 

This year Staples wants to help make your July 4th BBQ eco-friendly with their Staples Sustainable Earth line! 

I was sent several products to review, and let me tell you...they have everything you will need and more!! I really hadn't thought of Staples when planning a 4th of July BBQ...but that has all changed now! They have everything from sustainable cups, plates, bowls, and napkins to cutlery for entertaining and disinfecting wipes and all-purpose cleaner for cleaning up afterwards!!

These eco-preferable products are made with renewable resources, recycled materials and/or are third-party certified to validate their environmental attributes. I love this about these products and couldn't wait to share about all of them with all of you!

The Breakroom products like cups, plates, cutlery, and napkins are made from renewable resources, and/or compostable materials. As with anything I've purchased at Staples in the past, I was very happy to find the quality was top-notch of these products! 

The cleaning supplies are also high quality! I was impressed with how well they work and love the fact that they are a great way to lessen impact on the environment. 

As you plan for your fun July 4th get-togethers, I would encourage you to check out Staples and their great Sustainable Earth Line! 

Pirate's Booty Mac & Cheese Cheesiest Joke Contest & Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Monday, June 30, 2014

** I participated in this event on behalf of Wendy's Bloggers for Pirate's Booty. I received Pirate's Booty products to facilitate my review.

I don't know about you, but if my kids could choose one thing to eat every day for the rest of the summer (or year!)...it would be mac & cheese! It doesn't matter if we're home or at a restaurant, it's their meal of choice. I don't mind them eating mac & cheese every once in a while, especially if it's organic. That's why I was excited when introduced to Pirate's Booty Mac & Cheese Dinners! 

Pirates Booty Mac & Cheese dinners are all made with organic pasta, have no artificial colorings or preservatives, are a good source of calcium and protein, and have zero grams of trans fats. I was thrilled to learn this and couldn't have been happier when sent a few to review. 

We were sent a super fun Pirate's Booty Treasure Chest which included: 

  • all four varieties of Pirate's Booty Mac & Cheese Dinners
  • one 4 oz bag of Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar
  • two aprons (one adult/one child)
  • two foam swords
  • two eye patches
  • four temporary tattoos
Of course my kids were excited about all of the fun goodies, but being huge mac & cheese lovers...they couldn't wait to try out one of the dinners! They chose the Anchors & Cheese first, as the noodles are fun pirate shapes! 

The mac & cheese was very easy to make. In no time at all it was ready to enjoy! Most importantly though, just because it's healthier does not mean that we had to sacrifice taste. This mac & cheese is delicious, and was devoured by my three kids in one sitting! YUM!

I love that this is something my kids can enjoy and caters to their interests as well! After all, Pirate's Booty Mac & Cheese is all about bringing pirate-y, cheesy fun to the table! That's why, since almost everyone loves a corny joke, the folks at Pirate's Booty have created a National Cheesy Joke Contest for participants to win prizes and to generate lots of laughs! 

My kids love to tell jokes so I thought it would be fun to video them and enter the contest myself! 

This contest is a lot of fun! I would encourage you to enter your own cheesy jokes as well! You can do so on the official Pirate's Booty Cheesy Joke Website to compete for all the prizes! No purchase is necessary to enter the Pirate's Booty Mac & Cheese Cheesiest Joke contest. First prize is a family vacation for four to Wisconsin Dells (includes round-trip coach flights, ground transport, hotel (4 days, 3 nights) and four amusement park tickets!! 

You can learn more about Pirate's Booty and the contest by visiting the Pirate's Booty Facebook Page.

WIN IT: One lucky reader is going to win $50 worth of Pirate's Booty Coupons! (One winner per household, email address or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. Winners must have a U.S.-based address to receive their prize.)

PADDINGTON MOVIE ~ Official Trailer

Posted by Jenna | Friday, June 27, 2014

This Christmas, a small bear will make a big splash. From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says "Please look after this bear. Thank you," and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

When I learned of this movie, I was super excited to be able to share about it with all of you!

You can learn more by following Paddington on Facebook and Twitter.

UV Protection & #National Sunglasses Day

Posted by Jenna | Friday, June 27, 2014

**I was gifted the items referenced in my post from The Vision Council. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Summer is one of my favorite times of year! I love being able to spend time outdoors with the kids, enjoying the few short months of warmth we experience here in the Midwest. Of course, with more time outside also means more exposure to the sun. I do my best to regularly apply sunblock on all of us to protect our skin, but sometimes forget I should be doing more to protect our eyes from the harmful UV rays as well!

That's why I was thrilled when asked to participate in a program with The Vision Council to learn more, and share about vision health when it comes to sun-safety. I have always known it was important to wear sunglasses, but tend to forget just how important!

Having recently surveyed 10,000 people across the country, The Vision Council found that less than half of adults wear sunglasses regularly (just 46%!) because they don't understand or believe their eyes are at risk for UV damage. I will admit I've been this way in the past...not taking the risk seriously! But it is serious...UV radiation doesn't discriminate! We can all be victims of UV exposure, no matter our age or location. 

In fact, children are at risk too...and even more susceptible! Unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child's lens cannot filter out UV rays as easily, allowing them to reach the retina! Scary thought for sure!

And, unfortunately when we as adults aren't educated on the issue, we as parents are then not providing our children with the knowledge and eyewear needed to prevent long-term vision impairment either! I will admit that I've been that parent in the past. I would push the sunblock, but not give much thought to sunglasses. Not anymore!

The sun's unfiltered ultraviolet rays not only can burn and damage skin cells, but they can also harm unprotected eyes. A full day outside without protection can cause immediate temporary issues such as swollen or red eyes and years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate cataracts!

Given the harm that the sun's rays can do to our eyes, it is essential that adults and children wear proper eye protection while outside...regardless of the season or time of day. Sunglasses are the most effective tool at preventing immediate and long-term damage to the eye. It is important to find a good pair of glasses as adults and for children that effectively block UVA and UVB light (usually indicated by a sticker or label on the glasses). 

And, while shopping for the right pair of sunglasses for you and your family...one of the biggest things I learned from The Vision Council, is that darker isn't necessarily better! The tint and color of the lenses has no bearing on the level of UV protection. This was eye-opening for me, as I thought just the opposite! This is one of the biggest myths that people believe, but truthfully, even clear glasses with UV treatments provide excellent coverage from the sun. So this is definitely something to be mindful of when buying your next pair!

Thankfully, we as consumers have more options when it comes to sunglasses than ever before. The eyewear industry is constantly evolving and expanding to provide more durable, flexible products for children and adults. 

We were sent a couple of pairs of sunglasses that shows this perfectly (along with other skin care and sun care products). First the BabyBanz, which are not only adorable, but perfect for the infant in your life! They provide the eye protection he/she needs with a band that ensures it will stay on so these little eyes stay covered!

I was also sent a pair of stylish Nicole Miller sunglasses that I just love! They are cute and trendy, not too big, and best of all offer the protection my eyes need as well! I love knowing that I'm helping sustain healthy vision by wearing protective eyewear and encouraging my kids to do the same!

Both pairs of sunglasses came with a protective case/pouch which is perfect for storing them when not in use. This protects the lenses so we can be sure that they are not getting scratched and protecting our eyes as best they can each time we wear them.

With today being National Sunglasses Day, let's remember and spread the word just how important wearing UV protective eyewear really is! We can prevent eye damage and sustain healthy vision for the future by being informed and proactive! Please remember how important it is to have good UV-protective eye habits and to wear sunglasses!

You can share your #SunglassesSelfie on Facebook (http://facebook.com/TheVisionCouncil) or Twitter (@opticalindustry) and don't forget to use the #NationalSunglassesDay hashtag in your tweets today (June 27th).

**The product for this review was provided by The Manhattan Toy Company to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Both of my boys LOVE playing with cars. There's something about pushing them around the house and racing them down the hallway that can provide hours of entertainment. I am always looking for toys that spark creativity and imaginative play, which is why I love MOTORWORKS from The Manhattan Toy Company. 

The Manhattan Toy Company is dedicated to the art of creative play, quality craftsmanship and the success of the national and specialty retailer. The company distributes through thousands of stores nationwide. Toys are designed, developed and manufactured with every child's safety in mind. 

We have had the opportunity to review a few products from MOTORWORKS in the past, and have always been impressed with the excellent quality and innovative design. That's why I was excited to learn that they have expanded their award-winning line for 2014 with new car models and accessories. 

We were sent a Slingshot Speed Launcher and Next Gen Stock Car to review!

When the products arrived, my boys were eager to check them out!They were especially interested in the Slingshot Speed Launcher. Before I even got the chance to tell them what it was, they figured it out and were begging to give it a try. Of course, I couldn't resist saying yes! I was just as excited as they were!
Out of the box this handsome wooden launch pad is impressive with it's high quality design. I can tell it's something that will hold up well to a lot of use, which is good because my boys haven't stopped playing with it since we got it!

There were some decals to put on and a band to attach, other than that it was all ready to go! Before we could use it though, we had to check out the Next Gen Stock Car that we wanted to use with it!
This arrived in a very nice package that you could see through. My first thought was what a nice way to display the car making it a great gift idea. Like the other MOTORWORKS cars we've reviewed, this was top-notch quality. I love the simple look and the wood design. It's not something that will break after a few days of use which I appreciate with two busy boys!

This car looks like a race car which made Kaden very excited! It's customized to move and features accessories that evoke sleek, aerodynamic lines and the ability to shatter the speed limit! 

We were about to find out just how fast it could go once we set it on the Slingshot Speed Launcher. At that point, Kaden took the first try and gently pulled back and let go. The car took off and both boys were all smiles! I can't tell you how many times they do this, over and over again! They LOVE it! 

It's been been fun seeing them play together and take turns letting the car go. Of course, they even have fun with the car aside from the slingshot as well. They push it around the house along with their other MOTORWORKS cars! 

Overall I've been very impressed with the design and quality of these toys. They are just the type of thing my boys love and something I know will get used for many years to come! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who has a car lover in their family. 

I would encourage you to head over to the Manhattan Toy website and check out their great selection of toys! I for one am especially drawn to the MOTORWORKS play table and would love this for my boys to use with their cars at some point! How neat is this?!
Buy It: you can purchase the Slingshot Speed Launcher for $12 and the Next Gen Stock Car for $17.

WIN IT: One very lucky reader is going to WIN a Slingshot Speed Launcher and Next Gen Stock Car like we received!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a child I went on several family vacations, all of them leaving lasting memories for my to share with my little ones. However, the one that sticks out to me most is my first ever trip to Disney! It was a magical vacation that will stick with me for years and years to come. It was so special, that my hubby and I have decided to take our kids next year. They'll be at an age where they will enjoy and remember it always! I can't wait! That's why I'm so excited to tell you about the exciting giveaway below!!

Disneyland provides the ultimate Family Vacation destination. So we have teamed up with some awesome sponsors and bloggers to give you the chance to WIN A DISNEYLAND VACATION!

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 This giveaway is brought to you by our amazing sponsors:
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And all these fabulous bloggers: Real Moms Real Views, The Bragging Mommy, One Artsy Mama, A Moms Balancing Act, Maybe I Will, Money Saving Madness, Fabulous Fun Finds, Living with the Magic, Modern Mommy Files, Preschoolears, Bargain Briana, Simply Sherryl, Fabulessly Frugal, Sweet C's Designs, Busy Mom's Helper, Bombshell Bling, Embracing Beauty, Brought to You by Mom, A Little Tipsy, The Mommy Nest, Capital B, the SIMPLE moms, Having Fun Saving, Love Our Disney, and Dandelion Moms.

  One Grand Prize winner will receive a Disneyland Vacation! This includes a 3 night Hotel Stay at a Moderate Anaheim Hotel through Get Away Today (Subject to Availability), $650 in Disneyland Tickets (or winner's choice of Disney or Visa Gift Card*), $100 Gift Certificate to MarriedwithMickey.com, and a $50 Gift Certificate to Zazzle.com.

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First Runner Up will receive a Tamron16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO Zoom Lens ($629 value), and a $50 Gift Certificate to MarriedwithMickey.com


Second Runner Up will receive a Combi Cosmo Twin Double Stroller ($259.99 value) and a $50 Gift Certificate to MarriedWithMickey.com


Third Runner Up will receive a $200 Gift Certificate to Canvas HQ.

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Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget below.
Giveaway will begin on June 16, 2014 1:00 AM and will end on June 30, 2014 11:59 PM. *If winner chooses the Visa Gift Card this will forego the 3 night Hotel Stay. This option is offered in the event that the person who wins is unable to travel to Disneyland. These prizes are not transferable and can only be used by the winners themselves. Hotel stay is subject to availability and black out dates. Hotel stay must be used within 1 year of giveaway ending date. Winners will be chosen at random, verified and contacted via email. The winners will have 48 hours to email back and claim the prize, if prize is not claimed within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 ~ Prize Pack Giveaway

Posted by Jenna | Friday, June 13, 2014

*Prizing and samples courtesy of DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox

I am always looking for new movies my kids will enjoy. I was recently introduced to the second chapter of the epic How To Train Your Dragon trilogy and think it will be one the whole family can enjoy!

This movie brings us back to the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years after the two have successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island's new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.

It’s been five years, and all of your favorite Vikings and dragons are back! How much do you know about DreamWorks Dragons? Explore the Dragonpedia to learn more about your favorite fire-breathing friends. Start now!

Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller
Directed by Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Produced by Bonnie Arnold

I'm looking forward to checking out HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, in theaters now!

You can connect with How To Train Your Dragon 2 on the following social media networks:
Like How to Train your Dragon 2 on Facebook
Follow on Google+ and Tumblr
Follow @DWAnimation on Twitter and Pinterest

You can also Download free HTTYD2 coloring pagescolor by numbersword search, and connect the dots activity pages!

Win It: One lucky reader is going to win a prize pack which includes: $25 Visa gift card to see the film and HTTYD2 pencil topper set and drawstring bag. (open to US addresses only)

**The product for this review/giveaway was provided by Little Tikes. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

With winter lasting a good part of the year, our family enjoys getting outdoors as much as possible during the summer months. School is out and we are loving the warmer weather. The kids are able to run around and get lots of built up energy out after being cooped up in the house for several months! I am always looking for toys that make our outdoor time more fun for them, and what better place to look than Little Tikes?!

Since 1970 Little Tikes has been offering families an amazing selection of innovative children's products that encourage them to get up and be active while playing. Offering everything from baby toys and children's furniture to riding toys and workshops...they have created a line of products that parents can trust and turn to time and time again.

Over the years we've owned several Little Tikes products and have always been impressed with the quality, educational value and overall appeal. That's why I was happy to learn we were going to have the opportunity to review their new Cozy Coupe First Swing!


  • Steering wheel with horn
  • Adjustable seat belt
  • Wide seat and leg openings
  • Weather-resistant rope 
  • Attaches easily to an existing swing set 
  • Weight limit 50 lbs 
  • Designed for 9 mths - 3 year olds
My kids enjoy swinging, but there are times Caysen gets frustrated as he's not able to swing by himself yet like his big brother and sister. That's why I knew he would not only love having a swing all his own, but the fact that it was a Cozy Coupe (one of his favorite Little Tikes toys!)...I knew he'd be over the moon! And...he was!

When the swing arrived, he couldn't wait to get it set up and get in it. I have to admit, I was looking forward to check it out as well! Out of the box I could tell right away that the quality was top-notch and something that will hold up well to a lot of use.

I was happy to find that there was very little assembly also. In no time at all we had the swing ready to hang. All set up, this is an absolutely adorable swing! It also has a wider seat and leg openings than I have seen on other infant/toddler swings. Caysen sits in it very comfortably. 

There's an adjustable seat belt which is also greatly appreciated. I know that when he's in the swing he's safe and secure, all while having so much fun!

Caysen absolutely loves this Cozy Coupe First Swing! His favorite feature is definitely the steering wheel. As he sits in the swing, he enjoys pretending he's driving and best of all...there's even a horn!!

We've been thrilled withe the Cozy Coupe First Swing. It's been the perfect way to kick start our summer spent outdoors and something I know will get a lot of use in the days and months to come. 

Of course, this is just one of so many wonderful toys from Little Tikes that would be perfect for summer! With everything from playhouses and swingsets to bouncers and picnic tables...they have it all!

Buy It: You can purchase the Cozy Coupe First Swing for $39.99 at LittleTikes.com.

Win It: Little Tikes has offered one very lucky reader a Cozy Coupe First Swing of their own!

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