@MezzettaFoods Recipes To Remember This December #SharingJoy #MezzettaMemories #sp

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Mezzetta Foods.

December marks that special time of year when joyous memories are made together with friends and family. As a parent, the holidays have become even more special for me. My kids are at the ages where everything is just astonishing to them, from light displays to the arrival of Santa, and I want to make the most out of every single moment. The holidays are a time of love, warmth, happiness, and family. Even though we are busy throughout the year, we always make time for friends and family during the holidays, visiting people we don't usually see during other times of the year. Most importantly, we load up the car and make the trek to NC around December 23rd to visit my parents. The ride is long, but knowing what awaits us each time makes every minute worthwhile.

Come the afternoon of December 25th, the door to my parents' home is full of friends, family, and, of course, food! It never fails that we try a new recipe each and every year, so this time was no different. I had a chance to try out Mezzetta products and couldn't wait to incorporate them into a recipe to remember.

Each year we have the usual holiday food items: ham, turkey, dressing, and assorted vegetables. However, this year my son, Liam, requested something a little different: pasta salad! So, I set out to make a delicious, memorable side dish that everyone would enjoy. There are several Mezzetta products I use often, but my two favorites are the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and huge Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives. I use the EVOO often when cooking as an alternative to vegetable oil and it has a great taste to it. The Mezzetta Kalamata Olives are absolutely amazing and really are HUGE! My oldest son was completely shocked when I purchased them a few years ago for the first time. Our entire family loves olives, so I knew combining these two products would make for a great side dish that everyone would enjoy. Here's my new recipe creation, Mezzetta Holiday Pasta Salad:

Speaking of things to remember, Mezzetta is holding an awesome giveaway with 31 days of winners! Yes, winners will be picked daily throughout December, so enter now for your chance to win a Mezzetta Favorites Holiday Gift Basket.
The basket includes:
• 100% Italian Estate Grown Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Golden Greek Peperoncini
• Garlic Stuffed Olives
• Castelvetrano Olives
• Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives
• Roasted Marinated Red & Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers
• Cocktail Onions
• 1 Apron (from House Party contents)
• 1 Metal Olive Spoon (from House Party contents)
• 1 Tote Bag (from House Party contents)
• 1 Ceramic Bowl
Mezzetta is the perfect way to spice up the holiday season and give your recipes a zesty new flavor. Be sure to enter the giveaway today by clicking here!
Are you a huge Mezzetta Foods fan like we are? Could you eat olives or peppers every day and want to try a new brand? Be sure to get your $.50 coupon for Mezzetta products before going shopping to save some money!

What are your plans for this December? We will be traveling to my parents' house, but also celebrating again at my mother-in-law's house! That makes two incredible dinners for our family and I look forward to every minute each year.


Dr Pepper Snapple Group Gives Back To Communities & Has Many Innovative Ideas for 2015 #DPSBalance

Disclosure: This post was written for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in conjunction with The Motherhood. All opinions provided are my own. Compensation was provided in exchange for my participation in the group meeting and post.

Just last week I was fortunate enough to be part of a panel of moms who participated in a virtual briefing with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS)  As a huge fan of Dr Pepper, I cannot express how excited I was to be presented with this opportunity and I was bubbling with questions for the DPS team! Apparently, I wasn't the only one because all of the other participants were actively participating and asking questions throughout the meeting as well, which made for a very interesting and informative experience for all.
I learned so much about DPS and am going to share a bit of that knowledge with all of my readers. Before last week, I had appreciation for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group products, but I had no idea just how involved they are in the process of creating new and innovative products as well as participating in communities. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that they are the leader in flavored carbonated beverages. I have been a Dr Pepper fan for as long as I can remember and, if there is a soft drink to be purchased when at the grocery store, that's the one in my cart. It is also a favorite of my son, Liam, who would drink it all day if I let him. As you may already know, Dr Pepper is a culmination of 23 flavors. Of course, I had to ask the group what the flavors are because I sometimes feel like I taste caramel and cherry, but I was surprised when told that only 2 people know the secret ingredients contained in Dr Pepper, so it is just a mysterious as it is delicious!
Dr Pepper Snapple Group sells more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers, and other premium beverages, which include YooHoo, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's, and IBC Root Beer. They consistently stay at the top of the charts, with 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drink brands in the business. How are they so successful? They take the creation of new drinks very seriously. In fact, a product they put on the shelf may have existed in over 40 different variations before the final product was approved! DPS actively listens to their consumers, wanting to give them exactly what they are looking for in a product. I find the entire process, from scientists to store shelves, so interesting.
Outdoor play is very important for a balanced lifestyle!
As someone who really strives for a healthy balanced lifestyle, it's always encouraging to find out a company has similar goals for their products and consumers. DPS also believes that healthy lives depend on balance. You should balance the calories consumed with the amount of calories burned through physical activity to stay keep healthy and fit. This is why DPS has set a goal for the upcoming year to focus at least half of all innovation projects on providing healthier options for consumers. This includes adding low- and no-calorie beverages, adding smaller portion options, and improving overall nutrition. They even took full-calorie beverages out of schools and hope to reduce the amount of calories consumed in beverages by 20% over the next 10 years!

Of course, consumers are very important to any business, but DPS really takes a hands-on approach to reaching their consumers and helping them also complete their own goals. I had no idea that DPS was so heavily involved in philanthropic organizations, causes, and projects for local and national communities. To date, more than 2,300 employees have spent time volunteering!
Playing Frisbee with family on Thanksgiving!

When doing their research, DPS found some very interesting facts, including that only 20% of children live near parks and 2/3 of children get less than an hour of play each day. It's no surprise that obesity rates have tripled when children aren't as active and also have poor eating/drinking habits. With all of this in mind, DPS began its $15 million 3-year Let's Play program in 2011 with KaBOOM!, an awesome non-profit organization dedicated to promoting active play. I've mentioned KaBOOM in prior posts on my blog and fully support their work encouraging children to get off the couch and play! Thanks to the partnership between DPS and KaBOOM!, 2,000 playgrounds were built or improved. The Let's Play program was so successful that they extended their partnership this year through 2016 with an additional $10 million from DPS with hopes of continuing the dream to provide children with safe and fun playgrounds for children and encouraging the entire family to stay active and lead a balanced lifestyle.

This year DPS also made a $1 million contribution to Good Sports as part of the Let's Play program. Good Sports is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting active play among older children by providing athletic equipment to disadvantaged youth. As we all know, participating in sports can be very expensive. Many children are not able to be a part of organized sports in their communities due to lack of funding, the cost of equipment, uniforms, and entry fees, so Let's Play has also expanded to also include individual children who "lack the opportunity to participate in organized sports due to the cost of equipment, uniforms, and entry fees. By the end of 2016, DPS will have donated more than $26 million to Let's Play.

Participating in this meeting gave me the opportunity to see how the Dr Pepper Snapple Group works from the inside out and I'm not an even bigger fan of their company. I'm utterly amazed at the dedication all the employees have for not only their products, but also for their consumers. DPS takes it a step further by focusing on consumers, what they want, and what they need, before moving forward each year. I have no doubt that DPS will succeed in their goals for 2015 and cannot wait to see what is in store for the future.

I hope this post gave you a but more insight into what DPS is all about. What was the most important fact you learned about DPS? How do you work to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle?

For more information on fun ideas for active play as a family and grants, be sure to check out the Let's Play website. While there, take the Let's Play Pledge to add more playtime to your schedule and spend time as a family outdoors! My boys would spend each and every hour outdoors if they could, so when it isn't too cold, that's where you will find us.

Disclosure: This post was written for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in conjunction with The Motherhood. All opinions provided are my own. Compensation was provided in exchange for my participation in the group meeting and post.


Beautiful Personalized Holiday Cards With Snapfish & $50 Gift Code Giveaway #SnapfishBlogger

I look forward to the holidays for many reasons and having children just makes everything more exciting. Many of our family members live far away and this is why it is so important for us to make holiday cards each year and send them out. I used to buy cheap cards in the store before I had kids, but they are so impersonal! Snapfish is a service we have used for many years to purchase prints and I've always been very pleased with their fast shipping and quality items. This is why I was so excited to try out their holiday cards this year.

I'm the type of person who takes many, many photos each year. If we go somewhere special or have a special event, I am going to snap hundreds of photos. I love showing off my boys and how much they've gown each year. Personalized photo cards are the perfect way to show what we've done over the year and share our progress with family members and friends we don't see often. Snapfish has a huge variety of holiday cards from which to choose. The great thing is you can also choose the style and how many photos you want included.

This year has been very busy, so I just wanted a nice looking card with one family photo. My favorite was the Christmas Swirly 2014.

I just selected that as my option, uploaded our photo and was finished in no time. Not to mention, 20 cards is less than $20! I love the prices and all the different cards. Plus, if you are in a big time crunch, you can actually have Snapfish send out your cards for an additional cost. I'm all about making the holidays simple and this is the perfect way to do so.

Here is our family holiday cards for 2014:

Have you made your holiday cards yet? If not, don't despair. You still have a bit of time if you hurry. We want to help you with those holiday costs and, thanks to Social Chorus, two lucky from Children Teaching Mama and from This Mama's Life will win a $50 gift code to Snapfish! Just use the form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was created in partnership with Snapfish and Social Chorus. All opinions are my own.


A Holiday Donation To CaringBridge Can Do So Much #MC #sponsored

 I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I've written about CaringBridge many times in the past because they are very important to our family and many others around the world. This amazing non-profit organization provides an online community allowing family and friends to connect and receive report when they need it most. For our family, that time was when Liam was diagnosed with brain tumors and Neurofibromatosis. CaringBridge allowed us to share his journey with others and connect with other families going through similar situations. It is so wonderful to know support is available at the touch of a keyboard. Seeing comments each day, prayers, and wishes for Liam's wellness has been a much needed blessing.

When the Steinback family found out their daughter, Julia, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which consisted of three years of treatment, CaringBridge provided the constant emotional and physical support they needed, allowing them to share Julia's story with others.

This holiday season, we are so happy that Liam has a few months without chemotherapy and Julia's family is also excited that she is in remission. These are such amazing gifts for our families and we are all looking forward to making the holiday season the best yet!

CaringBridge not only provides support, but they rely on the support from others as well. They also need donations to continue their service and their WonderFull year-end giving campaign hopes to raise $1.2 million. Nearly 95% of funding comes from people who use CaringBridge, so if we also spread the word and others donate, just imagine how much more CaringBridge can do for others.

Be sure to check out the WonderFull campaign and make a tax-deductible donation if you can. The campaign also features match contributions from three generous donors ranging from $10,000 to $25,000! We wish CaringBridge luck receiving just as much support as they offer so many families each and ever year. Families like the Steinbacks and our own family really need all the support they can get during tough times and you can help make that a possibility.
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Spread Awareness For RSV Prevention & World Prematurity Day #MC #RSVAwareness #PreemieProtection #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Today is World Prematurity Day and I'd like to share a story that is very near and dear to my heart. Sunday, September 27th, 2009 was a very scary, yet important, day for our family. My husband had a stomach virus all weekend and, as I was feeling miserable, I was certain he'd passed it on to me. By 4pm, my stomach was hard as a rock and I was afraid that maybe I was actually having contractions, so we headed to the hospital, praying everything would be okay. Liam Alexander DeBord was born a few short hours later due to a placental abruption, which meant an emergency C-section had to be performed immediately. When he was born, he cried with vigor and weighed over 7 pounds even though he was 5 weeks early. The doctor thought this was a very good sign, but within minutes, they noticed he was having issues breathing. Being premature, Liam's lungs had not fully developed and, for the next three days, he needed assistance via breathing tubes and intubation. This was such a scary, uncertain time for our family and one that will never be forgotten. Thankfully, our doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing and helped us with every little obstacle in our way.

While Liam was in the NICU, my husband and I were required to take a special preemie class before bringing him home with us. During this class, we met many other parents of preemies and got to also hear their stories. Listening to each of them talk about their little babies, some of which were only a pound or two at birth, was not only educational, but reinforced the importance of prenatal care. We were lucky that Liam was only in the NICU for two weeks. Many of the other babies had been there for months and months.
Liam only a few hours after he was born!
Part of the class was also dedicated to infant breathing, infections, and prevention of those possible infections and viruses. RSV Prevention was at the top of the list and something the teacher taught about in great detail. While RSV is a typical seasonal virus for full-term children that causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, it can be extremely dangerous for preemies. In fact, preemies are 2x more likely to get RSV! This is one of the reasons no other children are allowed in the NICU and there is a visitor limit set.

I have to admit that I knew little about RSV before I took this class. The truth is, one out of three mothers has never even heard of RSV. Liam was our second child and this class was the first time I'd heard about it! Even scarier, one of the smaller babies in the NICU had RSV and it was quite an ordeal of the preemie who already struggled with breathing before her symptoms began. RSV quickly became very close and personal for our NICU family and something we were vigilant to prevent.

What are the symptoms of severe RSV Disease? The most prevalent symptoms are coughing and wheezing, along with trouble breathing. If your child is having trouble breathing, such as rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths, please contact a medical professional immediately. Other symptoms include a temperature of 100.4 or more, extreme fatigue, difficulty feeding, and bluish coloring around the fingernails and mouth, which is caused from lack of oxygen.

Remember, there is NO treatment for RSV, so it's very important for parents, close friends, and family members to help protect children by taking preventative steps year-round. RSV is very, very contagious and can be spread through touching, sneezing, and coughing. During RSV season, these are some very important steps to preventing RSV disease:

  • Frequently wash hands, toys, and bedding.
  • Avoid crowded areas and other young children.
  • Never let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Stay away from others who are sick and/or contagious.
 I cannot stress enough just how important it is to stay vigilant and to prevent against RSV. I was shocked to read that RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life. There are approximately 125,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year and up to 200 infant deaths caused by RSV disease. This is why, as parents, we must educate ourselves and also continue to educate others about the dangers of RSV disease. Prevention is key and something we practice year-round. My kids wash their hands frequently while at school and I make them wash hands as soon as they get home, too.

What do you do to prevent RSV disease in your home? Do you know anyone who has had RSV? Please share this post with any parents, caregivers, or parents-to-be! Do your part to help prevent and spread the word about RSV disease!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

CaringBridge Connects People With The Healing Power of Words #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I've shared information with you in the past about my son, Liam, and his experiences with Neurofibromatosis and his diagnoses of brain tumors, something he will fight the rest of his life. When he began chemotherapy about two years ago, we met with a social worker for the very first time who suggested checking out CaringBridge to not only connect with others going through similar health issues, but to share our story with others.

As a blogger, I've learned just how powerful words can be. I simple comment of support can really turn a bad day into something better. Other days, I just feel overwhelmed and, though I fail to express my emotions aloud, writing them out would be so therapeutic and CaringBridge was the perfect way for me to really get out my feelings and share our story with others.
CaringBridge was created in 1997 as a place for people to remain in contact with friends and family members to receive support when they need it most. Just as we learned, CaringBridge is an amazing way for people to navigate a very emotional journey, to share support and to receive support.

If you know someone who could benefit from what CaringBridge has to offer, please share this post with them and also let them know you care. A quick note, visit, email, or hug can really make a difference and brighten someone's day. Let them know that not only are friends and family there, but CaringBridge offers an entire online community that is supportive, caring, and understanding.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Build Your Phone Plan With Virgin Mobile Custom #CustomMom #MC ##SprintMom #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review. 

Last month I was so excited to attend an event with several other Atlanta bloggers to learn about Virgin Mobile's new Custom plan, which allows users to build their own phone plan exactly the way they want it to be. Of course, I love meeting up with other bloggers and, since my cell phone is with me at all times, I was very interested in learning more about Virgin Mobile. I, personally, had never used Virgin Mobile before, but have always heard great things about their service and plans. Meeting with Sprint/Virgin Mobile executives gave me the opportunity to learn more about them and to also ask questions!
With a room full of bloggers, I wasn't the only one who had questions. Luckily, the executives had everything perfectly planned with a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a variety of phones they offer.

In addition to the presentation and questions, we took a moment to eat some of the most delicious food! While we ate, the executives continued with their presentation. I was happily surprised when our lunch plates were replaced by dessert! Believe me, I was stuffed by the time I walked out of the building.
After the event, each blogger received a goody bag containing more information about the Virgin Mobile Custom plan, some other fun gifts like ear phones and a cup, and the big gift was our own cell phone! I couldn't wait to get home and play with my new toy. In addition, we received a $35 credit so we could try out the Custom plan ourselves.

About Virgin Mobile Custom
Plans start at only $6.98 per line, so you can also add on other family member. From there, you have complete control with Virgin Mobile's Custom technology. Do you use your phone more for text messages than talking? You can choose a plan with lower talk minutes and a higher text limit. Do you stay online and need more data? Custom allows you to pick and choose and set limits to your personal likings. As if this wasn't already enough, Virgin Mobile Custom stands out even more because, unlike other plans, you can adjust your plan any time you want. Yes, I said ANY TIME you want! If, in the middle of the month, you realize you didn't use as many talk minutes as you thought you would, simply go in and decrease your talk minute limit. So many other plans only allow you to only adjust up, but not with Custom. You can adjust up or down and you will be reimbursed via credit to your account when adjusting down!

Why This is A Great Option For Kids
My kids are much too young for phones, but not my niece and nephew. My parents made the mistake of giving them phones without any types of limits are controls, which backfired and cost them a ridiculous amount for data overages. With Virgin Mobile Custom, limits are already set, so they cannot go over. In addition, you can control which features they are allowed to use, from apps to texts. Another feature that is quite important is a curfew setting, allowing parents do decide when kids can and cannot use the phone. If you want children to study from 4pm until 6pm, all you have to do is set their phone and usage is blocked during those hours. I absolutely love this feature and, unlike my niece and nephew, I can rest assured at night that my kids aren't sneaking online when they should be sleeping, too! It's a great way to keep connected to your children and also keep them safe.

Staying Social With Custom
As someone who is online a great deal of each day, I am all about social media. Who doesn't check Facebook 500 times a day or go on Twitter to see what is trending? Virgin Mobile goes a step further with Custom's Special Offers by allowing users to choose add-ons to the plan. If you use Facebook as much as I do, you can pay $5 extra for unlimited monthly access to it! This means the time spent on Facebook will not count against your monthly data usage. They also have the option for unlimited Twitter, Instagram, and music, each for an additional $5! Looking at my phone, I noticed over 50% of my monthly data is spent on Facebook, so paying $5 would be a great way to save data for other use. 
Do you make International Calls often? Virgin Mobile Custom has several special minute offers for a variety of countries, including Mexico, Canada, India, and the Dominican Republic. You can also choose a World 100 International plan, which includes several different countries.

Our Thoughts
I received the LG Pulse ($79.99 retail), one of three phones especially made for the Virgin Mobile Custom plan. At such a low price, I was expecting a pretty basic phone, but I was completely wrong. The phone takes great photos, has room for apps, and has a wider screen with a crystal clear picture, making it perfect for watching videos, too. My children have pretty much taken over this phone because it is far superior to my other $600+ phone. I'm quite a fan of the bigger screen, too, making it easier to type text and read captions while watching movies. Since it can also connect to our wireless network at home, I've taken to watching movies on it at night before falling asleep because the battery lasts quite a while.

Setting up the phone was so simple, making the hardest part choosing how to build my plan. I simply set my phone and then it was ready for me to create a Custom account. Just as I explained above, I could choose which options I wanted included in my plan and with $35 to spend, I was able to create the exact plan I wanted with some to spare.

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review. 


A Day To Remember Thanks To Cascade #CascadeShiningReviews #DDDivas #sponsored @MyCascade

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Cascade. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Back in September I hosted a fun party over at my sister-in-law's house to share the cleaning power of Cascade Platinum. We had such a great time that I couldn't wait to throw our next party! Luckily, Liam's birthday came at just the perfect time, so we threw a bash that will go down in history. From the decorations and activities, to the food and cake, we had everything planned perfectly and, thanks to Cascade Platinum, everything was shiny, clean, and beautiful. Plus, our adult guests also received gift bags along with the kiddos!

So, let me back up a bit and tell  you about this awesome party. Myself, my mom-in-law and my sister-in-law went Pinterest crazy before the party and, with a Halloween theme we couldn't wait to prepare many snacks and goodies for everyone to enjoy.

Plates for our guests were paper, but, as you can see from just the snack table, we had many dishes to wash before and after the event.

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Cascade. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.


Our Playskool In-Home Birthday Party with The New Let's Imagine Elmo #MC #sponsored #ImagineWithElmo

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign forMom Central Consulting on behalf of Playskool. I received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Liam just turned 5 years old and we wanted to throw him the biggest, best birthday party ever, especially after all of the medical issues he's gone through. Well, he decided on a Nightmare Before Christmas birthday party and that's what we set out to create. In addition, Playskool sent an amazing package of party gear to make the day even more amazing for not only Liam, but all of the guests as well. Liam invited his preschool class for the event and we ended up with about 10 kids in all, along with family members and parents, attending the party. We set up two huge tables right at the front door, so kids could take a look at all of the goodies as soon as they walked in. The first table had assorted Halloween snacks and treats. The other table was dedicated to Playskool, with all of the toys and the new Let's Imagine Elmo!
Now, this party was a bit different than most birthdays because each guest got to pick a toy from the Playskool table. The Let's Imagine Elmo was the centerpiece and something the kids could play with throughout the party. They could choose between:

Stack N' Spin Monkey Gears

Transformers Mixable, Mashable Heroes

But the real star of the party was the new Let's Imagine Elmo!

As a Nightmare Before Christmas party, of course we had to decorate the house from head to toe! Here are some of the treats and crafts we made to make Liam's party extra spooky!

Now for the fun! We also set up a bounce house for the kids and had someone come in to paint faces! In addition, we had a witch hat game and some delicious pizza (Liam's favorite food).

After playing and eating outdoors, we came inside for cake and presents.

As I mentioned earlier, the best part about the party was that everyone got a gift, not just Liam. Thanks to Playskool, all the boys and girls took turns picking out their favorite toy to take home with them. This way, they also had something to play with after gifts were opened.

The Transformer Mixable, Mashable Mr. Potato Head Heroes were such a huge hit with the kids and the smaller children loved the Stack N' Spin Monkey Gears. However, everyone loved the new Elmo Musical Let's Imagine Elmo.
Liam has been a Sesame Street fan for as long as I can remember. In fact, for his 2nd birthday, he chose Cookie Monster for his cake and he wouldn't dare use a potty until we got him an Elmo training potty. When he saw the new Elmo toy, he couldn't wait to play with it. We have many Sesame Street and Elmo toys, but this one is awesome and packed full of fun features. Elmo Let's Imagine has 4 interactive modes that include games, songs, and much more. From the photos above you can see the different hats for Elmo to wear. Each hat magically unlocks different play modes for kids to enjoy. Place the crown on Elmo's head and he is transformed into Prince Elmo for a game of "Prince Elmo Says" (like Simon Says)! The cowboy hat begins a counting adventure, so your child can learn to count to 20! The sea captain's hat begins an ocean sound game, too. Even without the hat, Elmo is still interactive and continues to play with your child. Sesame Street and Elmo are both all about education and imagination. The new Let's Imagine Musical Elmo completely embodies the spirit of Sesame Street! It is an all around fun and educational toy for children that they will love.

There is a reason the Let's Imagine Elmo is on the top of all the Christmas Toy Lists for stores. This is a toy all Sesame Street fans will enjoy! It retails for $39.99, so it is also affordable.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign forMom Central Consulting on behalf of Playskool. I received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


Jif To Go Dippers Makes The Perfect Snack #MC #Sponsored #GetGoing

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

I wrote about Jif in a previous post and their awesome #GetGoing photo challenge, which has since ended and we hope you had a chance to enter. Now that the contest is over, we want to share some additional Jif fun with our readers. Over the past month, we've had a chance to try out Jif To Go Dippers even more and I wanted to share all of our thoughts about these delicious snacks.
As huge Jif peanut butter fans, I couldn't wait to give Jif To Go Dippers a try. We only use Jif peanut butter and we use it on a daily basis because Josiah wants a PB&J sandwich for lunch every single day. So, when I found out about Jif To Go Dippers, I knew these would be perfect for him.

Since he is now in 2nd grade, they have a snack time each morning to help tide them over for lunch. Of course, teachers do not appreciate parents sending in candy and other sugary items that cause our kids to bounce off the walls. Instead, they prefer us to send a balanced snack that our kids will eat, but that are also nutritious. Jif To Go Dippers are already packaged and ready to place in your child's lunch box or backpack. How easy can it get? No messing with snack bags or other containers. Everything is all in one pack and no other prep is involved.

The great thing about Jif To Go Dippers is that they come in two different varieties:
Chocolate Silk Peanut Butter With Pretzels & Creamy Peanut Butter With Pretzels

This means I can alternate the dippers for on different days and change it up a bit for him. Plus, some days he may want one for a snack after school. I can pop them into my purse and have them handy whenever we are on the go, too. They are well packaged and, since toting them around in our bags, we've never had one open unintentionally or make a mess. The Jif To Go Dippers will be a constant snack staple at our house from now on and I definitely will not forget them when traveling, too. The holidays are coming up quickly, which means huge road trips for our family. Taking a snack with us means less stopping and I'm all for that, so Jif To Go Dippers will be making the trips with us! Don't forget summer vacations, too. I know that's in the distant future, but these will be perfect for the beach, too. Throw them in the cooler or beach bag and you are good to go.

Have you given Jif To Go Dippers a try yet? Josiah is quite taken with them and has asked for nothing else each night when we pack his snack. He loves both, but, when I asked him which is his favorite, he proudly answered the Chocolate Silk Peanut Butter With Pretzels. The sweetness goes perfectly with the salty pretzels!

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Baby Mantra Natural Products Are Perfect For Sensitive Skin #MC #Sponsored #BabyMantra

I participated in Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Baby Mantra. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
When my first son was born, my husband and I made the decision to become more eco-conscious and to also try more natural products. Cloth diapering, essential oils and homemade detergents became a part of our lives and we felt great about reducing our carbon footprint. Two years later, my second son Liam was born and this began a time of even bigger change for our family. Liam was a preemie, born 5 weeks early, and while in the NICU we began to see just how sensitive he was (and still is) to his entire environment. The diaper creams, soaps, vitamin supplements added to breast milk, and disposable diapers all caused reactions both inside and outside of his body. From the moment we brought him home, experiments began with baby products to find the ones that were perfect for his sensitive skin.

Liam has very dry skin, which cannot be moisturized with just any baby lotion. The wrong ingredients not only dry out the skin even more, but cause him to break out, become uncomfortable, fussy, and itchy. He also has eczema, another easily irritated skin condition that still flares up often and caused him to itch even more. We realized immediately that our safest bet was natural baby products, so I was very excited to learn more about Baby Mantra!

Baby Mantra is a wonderful certified natural, cruelty-free, gluten-free baby skincare line created by two sisters. Their mission is to provide baby products with safe, environmentally conscious ingredients and packaging! All products are made here in the U.S. and are inspired by all-natural remedies with essential oils.

We received a package of Baby Mantra products to try, including these:
Detangling Conditioner, Calming Lotion, 3-in-1 Bubble Bath, Shampoo +Wash, and Newborn Shampoo + Body Wash. 

All of the products contain soothing and moisturizing natural ingredients along with essential oils, so they not only smell amazing, but also keep the skin baby soft! The boys were so excited to see bubble bath and made sure we tried it that night. As soon as I opened up the bottle, I could smell the lavender, one of my favorite scents that is also known for its calming properties and perfect for babies/children before bedtime. Just putting a bit in the water produced plenty of bath time fun for the kiddos and they also loved the scent.
I love that the 3-in-1 bubble bath, shampoo + wash has multiple purposes! I can wash my babies from head to toe, get them squeaky clean, and smelling yummy. Both of my boys also have dry scalp issues and Josiah's red hair is prone to tangles, so I was happy to see the detangling conditioner. It contains coconut and lavender oil, instantly making Josiah's hair feel silky smooth while not drying the scalp as other products can and have.

After bath time is when the calming lotion comes in and is the perfect touch for keeping skin soft. The shea butter moisturizes along with the lavender oil, which also calms baby for bedtime. This also makes for a great massage lotion, further soothing baby fast asleep.
My silly boys love bubbles!
We have thoroughly enjoyed trying Baby Mantra products and they have been perfect for Liam's sensitive skin. We will definitely continue using them, especially when baby #3 comes along! Are you ready to try Baby Mantra? Their products are available at select Walgreens/Duane Reade stores, Walgreens.com, BabiesRUs.com, and Amazon.com.

I participated in Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Baby Mantra. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


Jif To Go Dippers & The #GetGoing Photo Challenge #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

There are two things I do each morning before my kids go to school. First, I make Josiah a Jif Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich. Second, I pack him a snack. I've failed to hold his interest with most snacks I pack and have tried to find healthy alternatives he will enjoy. When I heard about Jif To Go Dippers, I was so excited because we are huge Jif fans and, just like my mom, it is the only peanut butter I ever use. Of course, Josiah's teacher requires snacks to be nutritious and encourages parents to pack items that aren't packed in sugar. Jif To Go Dippers are absolutely perfect for snack time at home and at school.
As soon as the Jif To Go Dippers arrived at our home, Josiah couldn't wait to open and try them, so we had a special snack that night after dinner. There are two different choices: Chocolate Silk Peanut Butter with Pretzels or Creamy Peanut Butter with Pretzels. Josiah loves peanut butter and pretzels, so putting them together is just genius! He sat staring at the packages trying to decide which to try first, but finally decide on the Chocolate Silk with Pretzels.
Check out how creamy the chocolate dip is:

The Jif To Go Dippers #GetGoing Photo Challenge
I've learned over the years that peanut butter can be used for many creative recipes and Jif wants to inspire fans to have fun and be adventurous with their #GetGoing Photo Competition! There are many ways to enter. All you have to do is submit a photo depicting how you get going and tag it with #GetGoing for your entry to count. Your photo(s) can be submitted via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Iconosquare. For all of the info on how to enter, just click here. The contest ends on October 1st, so act fast to get those entries in. You can win $1,000 to put towards a dream vacation.
From our Easter vacation to Florida! The beach was beautiful!
As someone who loves to travel, this would be perfect for our family. I've been to many places around the world, but my husband and children have never been outside of the United States. They don't even have passports yet, but they will have them in the near future. Where will we go for our next adventure? My kids both want to visit England. Josiah wants to see real castles and Liam wants to go to Peppa Pig Land. Since we have friends there, that just makes the idea of a trip even more fun. Of course, it isn't cheap for an entire family to fly over to England, so $1,000 would really help with the expenses.

What is your dream vacation? Where would you love to visit? We want to know! 

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.


Cascade Makes A Shining Impression #CascadeShiningReviews #DDDivas #sponsored @MyCascade

Disclosure:This post was written for Cascade in conjunction with Double Duty Divas. The post was compensated in exchange for in-home parties and honest reviews of the products. All opinions written are my own and those of party guests.

When I was a child, my mom kept her house beautiful and clean from top to bottom. In fact, we had a cleaning day when we scrubbed everything perfectly each week.  Washing dishes was just as important to her and she wanted them to be spotless. She always, always used Cascade and still does, which is probably why, as soon as I moved out on my own, I bought my very first Cascade, too. At 34 years old, I am still a Cascade fan and there are many reasons why. It's a brand I trust and know will not only clean my dishes, but also keep them shiny and looking new. I guess you could say using Cascade is a family tradition because it's something we all continue to use and I'm sure my kids will, too, one of these days.

Because we love Cascade so much, I was beyond excited when asked to be a part of the Cascade campaign with Double Duty Divas and host my very own Cascade at-home parties. Just a few weeks ago, I threw my first party with friends and family members. We had so much fun getting together and I had a chance to show them first-hand just how well Cascade works!

I received a huge box full of Cascade Platinum Pacs and Cascade Rinse Aid to give out to our guests!
In addition, I also got a Pyrex container and brownie mix to make a delicious treats for our guests. Of course, my boys had to help bake brownies with me and boy did they want to eat some as soon as they were done, but I had to save them for the next afternoon. Talk about torture for the little ones and for mama, too! They looked absolutely delicious!
So, the next day we headed to my sister-in-law's house! She graciously allowed us to party at her house and show off the wonders of Cascade. We had a house full of people there for dinner, dessert, and Cascade fun! I had the table set up with all of the Cascade goodies to hand out to everyone, so they were already excited as soon as they came in the house.
After we stuffed ourselves silly with food and brownies, I stuck the Pyrex container into the dishwasher without pre-washing, scrubbing or soaking per my instructions. As someone who usually does all of these when cooking brownies, I couldn't wait to see the final result and was hoping for the best! I stuck the Cascade Platinum Pac inside with the Pyrex dish and also included the Rinse Aid before starting it up!

The result? A beautifully clean and shiny dish, free of any remaining baked on brownies or oil! In fact, it looked brand new and, after several uses, still looks just as shiny! As usual, Cascade really came to the rescue and made a powerful impact not only on the dishes, but on my guests. My mother-in-law remarked, "I was really shocked at just how clean the dish was after washing!" My friend Holly said, "Wow, I always pre-wash and sometimes soak, but I can save time with Cascade Platinum."
Many of our guests were parents, so they, just like myself, are always on the go. I usually leave dishes until last at night and now I don't have to worry about them having residue or not getting clean because Cascade Platinum really packs a punch. In fact, I wouldn't feel so bad about leaving them overnight if I'm too tired, which is something I normally wouldn't do. As I spoke with guests, they all seemed to feel the same way. They were all excited about taking home samples and putting Cascade Platinum Pacs to the test on their own dishes.

So, now that you've seen Cascade in action, give it a try and let us know what you think! We'll be throwing another party on October 4th, so check back for our next post. This party will be even bigger and we'll have about 30 guests, so I can't wait to show them the power of Cascade.
Disclosure:This post was written for Cascade in conjunction with Double Duty Divas. The post was compensated in exchange for in-home parties and honest reviews of the products. All opinions written are my own and those of party guests.


Suave Split End Rescue On Rollback At Walmart for $2.50 #sponsored

Disclosure: This sponsored post was written for Global Influence in conjunction with Suave Split End Rescue products available at Walmart. 
As the daughter of a cosmetologist, my hair has been every length and every color possible. In high school, my hair was either brown or blonde, but when I began college, my hairstyle pretty much changed every single season. As a student at UGA, I even went through a bright Georgia red. As you can imagine, my hair suffered from all the different hair coloring along with daily use of a hairdryer and curling iron. My biggest hair mistake was when I decided to go from the bright red to blonde. Oh boy! After that, my hair was in need of intense hydration. My hair was a brittle split end tragedy.

I don't dye my hair quite as often these days, but I do like styling and straightening it when going out. Split ends have always been a bit of an issue for me and, I've learned over the years that the types of shampoos and conditioners I use are very important to hair health. As a family, we've used Suave shampoos, conditioners, and body washes for many years now. I love all the different scents and the price is perfect for our budget. When I heard about Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner, I couldn't wait to give them a try!
Along with the knowledge of hair care I've accumulated over the years, I've also learned that the quality of a product is not determined my high price. The fact that Suave Split End Rescue is salon proven to strengthen just as well as Paul Mitchell products is not at all surprising to me considering the quality of all of their other great items. Knowing that you could experience up to a 70% reduction in split ends isn't the only reason to give it a try. Right now, you can purchase Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner on Rollback at Walmart for only $2.50! These products gently cleanse and repair normal to dry hair with its PEC Complex. Your hair will be happy and so will your wallet!


BabyShowersByMail.com 6 Months Diaper & Wipe Delivery Giveaway

How many new time parents think about all the diapers they need? I know I didn't have a CLUE how many we would use. With two boys, I couldn't tell you how many thousands of diapers we have used over the years. Even parents that have had more than one child remember the hundreds and hundreds of diapers they need while your little one is growing up. Do you have diapers on your list grocery list constantly or perhaps you are planning on a new edition to your family soon? Just imagine NOT having to pick up diapers every single time you visit the store. Thanks to BabyShowersByMail.com, this is now possible!

Home of the "Year Supply of Diapers", BabyShowersByMail.com offers an amazing service that actually delivers diapers and wipes to your house! You have the options to get the diapers for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months! BabyShowersByMail also has lists and lists of different baby gift ideas for any family! This company has thought of EVERYTHING!

Are you one of those people who have a hard time thinking about what gift you want. Or are do you hate going to the store to do your shopping? Well head on over to BabyShowersByMail! They have everything for little girls and little boys! Ordering is pain free, shipping is quick. Life made simple! BabyShowersByMail offers products that will keep Mother and baby happy forever. They have an amazingly simple diaper and wipe monthly delivery service that has every brand and size a mother could want. Mom's time is precious give her the gift of time and have those diapers delivered!

One winner will receive a 6 month diaper and wipe delivery package.

Giveaway ends September 12th at 11:59pm, open to US, ages 18+. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.