LightLife Review & Giveaway

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LightLife has been creating quality vegetarian food since 1979 and is the source of America’s #1 meatless hotdog!  LightLife Smart Dogs are certified vegan and non-GMO Project Verified.  Smart Dogs are plant based and a great source of protein.  A regular Smart Dog has 7 grams of protein and only 50 calories and a jumbo Smart Dog has 13 grams of protein and 100 calories per link.

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LightLife’s LightLife Smart Dogs are refrigerated fresh and can easily be prepared in several ways.  Since many of our meals are rushed between extra curricular activities and school, I often feel like a short order cook for my kids.  The fact that I can toss a LightLife hotdog in a glass Pyrex dish with a little water and microwave it, makes these meatless hot dogs extremely convenient when we are in a rush.  We did try grilling the jumbo hotdogs on our George Foreman and the skin got very blistery looking by the time the center was cooked through.  Boiling these smart dogs on the stove or cooking on our gas grill leaves the texture of the LightLife jumbo Smart Dogs much more to our liking!

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Buy It!

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LightLife Smart Dogs as well as their other products are available in the refrigerated section of the produce, dairy, or natural section of local grocery stores.  I buy my LightLife Smart Dogs in the dairy section at our local grocery store, Pick n’ Save.

Win It!

One lucky reader at The Children’s Nook will receive a free product coupon for a LightLife product!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will end at 12:01 a.m. (eastern time) on August 10, 2016.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  The winner will be selected by random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

Posted in Giveaways, Reviews | 5 Comments

European Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavor Your Life’s Mission

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What exactly is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?  It is the freshly pressed juice of olives.  These juices are cold pressed without chemicals or heat.  All Olive Oils are not created equal and I must admit before being introduced to the Flavor Your Life’s Mission, I had very little knowledge about the Extra Virgin Olive Oils I would purchase.  Yet, it has always been clear that the flavor is different with each brand I have tried.  Thanks to the Flavor Your Life campaign I feel like a much better informed consumer.  The Flavor Your Life campaign is supported by the European Union, Unaprol, and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and is dedicated to providing the latest in industry news on European Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The Flavor Your Life campaign is the voice of Extra Virgin Olive Oil production quality control.  Its goal is to educate consumers so they can make informed decisions when purchasing Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  For this, I am so thankful!

DSC_0555Did you know the time of year an olive is harvested will result in different flavors as well as the region in which is was grown?  European farmers have been cultivating the olive tree for thousands of years.  This has resulted in the production of some of the finest Extra Virgin Olive Oils in Europe.

• Spanish oil is typically golden-yellow with a fruity, nutty flavor.

• Italian olive oil is often dark green and has an herbal aroma and a grassy flavor.

• Greek olive oil packs a strong flavor and aroma and tends to be green.

• French oil is typically pale in color and has a mild flavor.

Since Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a high smoking point at 400 degrees, it makes a great addition to hot dishes.  My kids even love my Extra Virgin Olive Oil cookies!  One of my favorite meals is Grilled Chicken Olive Oil Pasta with Broccoli.  I shared the recipe below if you want to give it a try!

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Grilled Chicken Olive Oil Pasta with Broccoli

1 large Chicken Breast

3 cloves of Garlic

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 oz whole wheat pasta

1/4 cup pasta water

16 oz steamed Broccoli

Garlic Pepper (sprinkle desired amount on chicken before grilling)

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Parmesan Cheese

This dish is fairly quick and easy.  When choosing your Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this dish, I find that both robust and delicate oils work well with the garlic.  Saute the extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes on the stove until the garlic turns lightly brown. Get a pot of water boiling on the stove and toss the pasta in to cook.  While that is boiling grill the chicken breast.  I usually pepper my chicken before grilling it.  Once pasta is fully cooked, scoop out a 1/4 cup of pasta water to use later.  Drain the remaining water from your pasta.  Leave pasta in strainer and add the Garlic Olive Oil mixture and pasta water to the pot and stir.  Then add the broccoli, diced up chicken, and pasta to the pot and stir.  Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese over the pasta and serve. 

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Delicate European Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) are simply amazing when paired with your favorite bread.  Simply dip your bread in the oil and enjoy!  This makes for a great appetizer before meals as well as at parties.

Buy It!

Connect with the Flavor Your Life campaign online as well as on social media via Facebook and Twitter to learn more about European Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 

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Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set Review & Giveaway

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Establishing a bedtime routine with my babies was a must.  My kids find comfort in the expected come bedtime and they love the quality time they score with mom and dad as well.  I have always tried to give my kids their baths right before bedtime.  There is nothing better than snuggling with my clean babies and enjoying story time together!

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The Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set has a variety of bed time essentials my kids use daily.  The Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set contains Johnson’s baby Bedtime bath soap and lotion as well as Johnson’s calming lavender baby shampoo.  The gift set also includes the Hallmark Good-Night Kisses book and Plush Owl.  The entire gift set comes inside a plastic bath caddy that is great for storage.  Obviously the bath caddy would make an excellent storage solution for bathroom items but it can also be used to store other baby items in the nursery such as diapers, books, or toys.

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The Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set has everything you would need to develop a relaxing bedtime routine for your baby.   Step 1 prepare your little ones bath with Johnson’s bedtime bath soap. Step 2: Get out that bath caddy filled with toys and enjoy your little ones splashes and giggles. Step 3 Wash your little one’s hair with Johnson’s calming lavender baby shampoo.  Step 4: Massage your little one’s clean dry skin with Johnson’s Bedtime lotion. Step 5: Cuddle up with your little cutie and his or her plush owl and read Hallmark’s Good-Night Kisses book.  These 5 steps are a great way to spend some quality time with your little one as you unwind from a long day.

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The Johnson’s calming lavender baby shampoo contains natural lavender and chamomile and smells amazing.  The no more tears formula is gentle on eyes and never irritates my daughter’s eyes or skin.  This shampoo paired with the Johnson’s baby bedtime bath soap and lotion make for a very relaxing bath time.

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Buy It!

Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set is available at Target and Babies R Us as well as online at Buy Buy Baby.  My daughter just pointed this cute gift set out on the shelf at Target yesterday by squealing in delight, “Look Mom they have the same bedtime stuff we do!”  We found the gift set on the same shelf as other Johnson’s baby bath products.

Win It!

One lucky reader at The Children’s Nook is going to win a Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will end at 12:01 a.m. (eastern time) on August 3, 2016.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  The winner will be selected by random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

I received a Hallmark Good-Night Kisses Baby Gift Set for review purposes.  All opinions are mine alone.

Posted in Giveaways, Reviews | 40 Comments

Monkey Mat

Monkey Mat, AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK, allows you to make your space, any place! Originally inspired by an unexpected six-hour layover at the airport (constant cringing while two babies crawled all over dirty floors!), and also by overall active lifestyles, this go-everywhere large mat in attached ultra-compact pouch gives you a clean space on the go – no more bulky blankets! The Monkey Mat is perfect for all ages, all places – park, beach, concerts, dirty airport/hotel floors, camping, hiking, sports events & more!

Connect with Monkey Mat online via Facebook at Monkey Mat and Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at MonkeyMatMama.

Buy It!

The Monkey Mat is available in Blue, Red, Orange, or Gray.  My readers get to save! Use coupon code “USFAM” for $5 off + Free Shipping! http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=12778&dealid=2716 .@usfg

 

I will receive a monkey mat for a future review.  All product information was provided by Monkey Mat.

Posted in Coupons | 2 Comments

Oriental Trading Summer Party Ideas

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Oriental Trading is the go-to shop for summer fun.  They offer a great selection of party supplies at affordable prices!  I enjoy shopping for party supplies at Oriental Trading because they always have fun items for both adults and children.  Party games are a great way to get guests interacting with one another.  I didn’t even know giant backyard dominoes and game dice existed until I discovered them at Oriental Trading. I have a feeling “Yardzee” will be even more fun to play than Yahtzee and Oriental Trading garden game dice are the perfect way to find out!  With a great selection of Oriental Trading party games and activities all of your guests will be busy having fun!

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Oriental Trading has fun tropical and nautical party supplies that are perfect for a Luau or any other beach themed party.  The fun selection of drinking cups is impressive alone!  The ceramic tiki cups are perfect for adults and the plastic coconut drinking cups would be fun for all.  I think the Oriental Trading pineapple sunglasses may be the most fun summer party supply yet.  They would be fun to wear and make for some great photo opportunities!  They also offer a fun variety of glow products that party guests of all ages will enjoy after sunset.  Oriental Trading even offers a glow in the dark ring toss game.  Their selection of red, white, and blue themed glow products is pretty great as well and perfect for patriotic celebrations.  Pair their fun party supplies with a few fun party themed recipe ideas available on their website and your party planning will be complete!

Buy It!

Visit Oriental Trading for all of your party needs including both party ideas as well as  supplies!

 

I will receive promotional items in exchange for this post.  All opinions are mine alone.

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Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca

santacruzLooking for a tasty way to stay cool and refreshed this summer?  Santa Cruz Santa is an excellent source of organic foods and beverages that are Non-GMO Project Verified and Gluten-Free.  Santa Cruz is a brand we have been enjoying for quite some time now so I was excited to try the new Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca.  It is inspired by traditional agua fresca and made with ingredients such as organic fruit juice, sugar, and a hint of lemon juice.  This combination is simple and refreshing in more ways than one.  Santa Cruz Agua Fresca is available in the following flavors; Pomegranate, Mango Passionfruit, and Grapefruit. Each of these lightly sweetened beverages consist of only a handful of USDA Certified Organic ingredients, including organic juice/fruit puree as the first ingredient after water.

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Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca beverages are so light and refreshing.  I absolutely love the flavors of the drinks are not overpowering.  Its almost like the flavor is second to the refreshing quality of the drink.  I can truly tell that the Agua Fresca beverages are not over sweetened like so many other juices I have tried.  I am also a big fan of non Agua Fresca Santa Cruz beverages such as their organic lemonade!  These are all beverages I love to keep on hand for when I want to enjoy a cool refreshing drink with my kids.  I even try to enjoy these beverages without the kids…..but my daughter seems to have Santa Cruz radar and always seems to end up sharing with me or scoring her own glass!

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Santa Cruz squeezable Apple Sauce pouches make the perfect snack for active kids!  The packaging is convenient so you can easily take the applesauce with you wherever you go and it also allows my kids to enjoy a yummy treat without ruining the food with their dirty hands.  When my kids are busy having fun outside, the last thing they want to do is stop playing and wash up.  Santa Cruz squeezable organic apple sauce pouches allow their little dirty fingers to easily wrap around the packaging safely away from the food itself since they only need their mouths to access the applesauce.  These awesome apple sauce pouches allow me to easily bring a snack outside to the kids and we don’t have to argue over clean up until play time is over!

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Dirty hands got nothing on these delicious apple sauce pouches!

Buy It!

Santa Cruz not only makes some of my favorite juices but they also make an excellent peanut butter and applesauce!  Depending on your location and the store, a  32 oz. bottle of Santa Cruz Organic Agua Fresca retails for about $3.20 – $3.49.  Connect with Santa Cruz Organic on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to see their latest products and get exclusive access to discounts and special offers!

 

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

 

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Hail Merry Merry Bites #MomsMeet

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Hail Merry is a food company that specializes in the unique techniques of food dehydration rather than typical baking.  Thanks to these techniques Hail Merry offers consumers conveniently packaged treats that are actually made from organic ingredients.  Hail Merry Merry Bites are award-winning snacks made with Certified C.L.E.A.N. ingredients and healthy fats, including energizing organic virgin coconut oil, and sweet almond flour. Hail Merry uses a unique process of dehydrating Merry Bites at low temperatures to protect the delicate raw fats in the organic virgin coconut oil and almond flour.  This helps maintain freshness and leaves the dough super moist.

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When Hail Merry states that their Merry Bites are FRESH unlike the average shelf-stable packaged cookies, they mean it. Hail Merry is not trying to sell you on a low -fat snack experience.  They simply use healthy plant-based fats that balance the total carb load in the Merry Bites.  This is the miracle behind Hail Merry guilt-free snacks and desserts.   They use pure ingredients that result in great flavor and texture.  I was amazed at how moist these yummy treats feel and how fresh they taste.  Since they are made with coconut oil, I do taste a hint of coconut in the Merry Bites.  I am not a huge coconut fan myself, but I truly enjoyed these Merry Bites.  Each bite is soft and full of flavor.

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Merry Bites are available in six decadent flavors, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Caramel Sea Salt, Salted Brownie, Pure Vanilla Macaroon, Lemon Macaroon, and Dark Chocolate Macaroon. • The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Brownie and my personal favorite….Dark Chocolate Macaroon.  These delicious flavors are made using Fair Trade Certified™ dark cocoa.  All flavors of Merry Bites™ are Certified C.L.E.A.N. which means they are Certified GlutenFree, Certified Vegan, Certified Kosher, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Peanut-Free, Paleo-Friendly and Non-GMO Verified.  They are also free of highly-refined sugars and flours.  Each yummy flavor is conveniently packaged so you can easily enjoy a fresh treat wherever you go.  A 3.5 ounce bag of Merry Bites typically contains 8 Merry Bites.  These bags fit nicely into lunch boxes, diaper bags, purses, picnic baskets, and much more!  Which flavor do you want to try first?

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ALLERGY WARNING: All Hail Merry® products contain nuts. Make sure ALL children are asked for nut allergies before they eat these products. The Dark Chocolate Merry Bites are almond free.

Buy It!

Hail Merry Bites are available for purchase in the grocer’s refrigerator section.  Visit Hail Merry to find a retailer near you that carries Merry Bites. Connect with Hail Merry online on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see their latest products and get exclusive access to discounts and special offers!

I received Hail Merry Merry Bites via Moms Meet for review purposes.  All opinions are mine alone and based off of my experience with the product.

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Educational Insights GeoSafari My First Telescope

DSC_0220Whether a child expresses an interest in outer space or simply wants to count the stars, a telescope is a great way to encourage exploration.  The GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope offers an easy to use and  fun way to introduce your little ones to astronomy.  A clear starry night lit by a full moon has always held a certain allure that most kids can’t resist.  My kids can spend hours postponing bedtime by looking out their windows at the night sky.  Unlike traditional telescopes that require you to look through one eyepiece, the GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope has two eyepieces for easy viewing.  This makes it much easier for young children to get comfortable with looking into the telescope.

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Outer space is a fascinating topic that many kids love to explore.  I will never forget the night I had just tucked in my oldest son, who was 4 at the time, and he called me back to his room to ask me a question.  I assumed he would request a drink of water, but was I ever wrong.  He simply wanted to know what the inside of the planet Venus looked like.  After a brief pause on my part as I tried to think of a way to answer his question, I promised him I would take him to the library in the morning to check out some books on the planet Venus.  Over the years, my and kids and I have read tons of books on the solar system but looking at pictures is never as exciting as viewing the real thing.

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The GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope is simple to assemble and easy to use yet I think it’s a great idea to have kids practice during the day time so they get comfortable using the telescope.  Kids get excited and tend to jump and move around a lot which is not ideal for keeping a precise location for viewing.  Therefore, it was helpful for my kids to practice during the day time at finding an object in the distance to focus on through the telescope lens.  My kids chose the silos located on a farm off in the distance to focus on viewing through the telescope.  They learned that they can’t move the telescope around or even bump it or their view will quickly change.  Once you find the object you wish to view, you can turn the small round knob to reduce the range of movement and avoid losing your location.   Since the goal was to view the moon and stars and night (when my kids are sleepy and less patient), so it was very helpful to get some of the how to lessons out-of-the-way during the day time hours.

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The two eyepieces truly make this the ideal first telescope.  The purple goggle style material helps the child comfortable lean into a good view.  The material has give to it so your child can comfortably press his or her face against it.  There is also a cutout for the nose.  The GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope offers 10x Magnification with wide field of vision and a built-in diagonal mirror.  The lens cap is also conveniently attached to the telescope by a string so it won’t get lost during exploration.  Since the lens is focus free, my kids can even search out objects such as the moon, silos, trees, and a couple rather bright stars without any assistance.  I love listening to their squeals of delight when they are able to find these objects all on their own.  They are so proud after each new discovery.

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Connect with Educational Insights online via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/educationalinsights?ref=br_tf and Twitter https://twitter.com/ed_insights to stay informed of new products and promotions!

Buy It!

GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope is available for purchase online at Educational Insights as well as Amazon.com.

I received a GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope for review purposes.  All opinions are mine alone and based off of my experience with the product I reviewed.

Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment

MAM Celebrates 40 Year Anniversary with Giveaway!

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We are big fans of MAM products here at The Children’s Nook, so it gives me great joy to share in the festivities of celebrating their 40th anniversary!  MAM combines technological innovation, medical function and contemporary design to develop superior baby care products that support a baby’s development from day one. Since MAM developed its first pacifier in Vienna in 1976, it has evolved to become a global authority on baby care product design and quality.

“We understand and love babies.  For the past 40 years our top priority has been the development of products for the well-being, safety and health of babies that make life easier for parents and allow them to focus on the joy of family,” said Jennifer Mitchell, CEO, MAM North America.  “We are proud of our heritage and will remain committed to developing products that unify design, technological innovation and medical know-how.  In commemorating this special 40 year milestone, we also celebrate our MAM parents and thank them for helping to make MAM the trusted and admired brand it is today.”

MAM is hosting a special anniversary giveaway all week-long where they will giveaway two ultimate MAM prize packages full of award-winning MAM products to two winners each day this week from 6/13-6/17 Entrants can head to MAM’s Facebook page to enter and for further details.

Win It!

Plus, one lucky reader at The Children’s Nook is going to win a $30 gift package of MAM pacifiers and pacifier wipes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will end at 12:01 a.m. (Est. time) on June 30, 2016.  This giveaway is open to residents in both the US and Canada.  The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

I received no compensation for this post. I simply wanted to share these awesome giveaways with my readers!  All product info and prizes are provided by MAM.

Posted in Giveaways | 22 Comments

Hallmark Father’s Day Giveaway

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We recently featured several awesome Hallmark gifts that would make great Father’s Day gifts and I am excited to share with you that we are hosting a giveaway for a prize pack consisting of all of the items featured in our review!   The giveaway went live yesterday, so be sure to enter for a chance to win this amazing Hallmark prize pack!  This prize pack includes two Ken Sheldon pieces as well as two Life is Good items! Go here to enter today!

Posted in Giveaways | 2 Comments