Sunday, September 28, 2014

Frozen: The Songs ~ Review & Giveaway (2 Winners!)

I received free product from Walt Disney Records through Entertainment New Media Network to facilitate this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Anyone who thought the Frozen craze was melting away was sadly mistaken because Walt Disney Records is releasing 4 NEW Frozen albums this week and I have a sneak peek (plus a giveaway) for you right here!

Coming Tuesday, September 30…
Frozen: The Songs
Frozen: The Songs Vinyl Soundtrack
Frozen Canciones de Una Aventura Congelada
Frozen Score Digital Soundtrack

We are huge fans of the Frozen songs in our home and were so excited to have the opportunity to preview Frozen: The Songs!

Did you know that the Frozen soundtrack is the top-selling album of 2014? It spent 33 consecutive weeks in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart, including 13 consecutive weeks at Number 1! And really, are we surprised? I think not. It's beautiful music! It's emotional, catchy, and clearly it's reach has crossed multiple generations. I think I play the music in the car more often when my daughter is not in there with me (since she won't let me sing along when she's there)!

The specially priced Frozen: The Songs CD includes the all singable songs from the movie, minus the instrumental music that is also included in the original soundtrack CD. It also includes lyrics, a fold-out poster, and stickers!

It's no surprise that we love this CD and it's also no surprise that we have been singing along to the music since it arrived!

We are so excited that Walt Disney Records is offering a giveaway of the new Frozen: The Songs CD to not one but TWO of our readers! Just follow along below! This giveaway is open to residents in the USA and Canada, ends Friday, October 3 at midnight and you'll have 24 hours to respond if you get an email from me that you're chosen as the winner. Walt Disney Records will be mailing out the prizes. If it comes to this blogger's attention that the winner of this giveaway has won the same prize on an additional blog, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.

Good luck!

For more information on Walt Disney Records' releases, follow them on Facebook or Twitter! You can also visit to purchase Disney music online.

OH! And one more secret!
Frozen: The Songs CD and Frozen: The Songs Vinyl are both available for preorder on Amazon NOW!


I received free product from Walt Disney Records through Entertainment New Media Network to facilitate this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Apple Breakfast Cake

Not many things excite me more than fall recipes. Apples, pumpkins, cinnamon… you know what I'm talking about. There is something very special about the season change between summer and fall... the first cool morning, the first fire in the fireplace, the first leaves changing on the trees, the spicy scented candles, and the family trip to the apple orchard. My appreciation for fall has increased throughout my adult years and I just can't get enough of it!

We came home with a 20 pound bag of apples from our favorite orchard a couple of weekends ago. Sticking my head into the bag and taking a big sniff of apple-y heaven has been one of my favorite activities since then! The scent of the fresh apples, that indescribable combination of sweet and tart… it's therapeutic to say the least. Of course the scent of apple recipes baking is just as powerful.

So far I've made apple crisp, apple pie, and this delicious apple cake that I've been eating for breakfast all week. I love from-scratch recipes that feel just as easy as box mixes. You will love this cake. And for some reason, it passes for a breakfast food… at least in our house it does! A mug of hot coffee and a big piece of Apple Cake. Trust me.

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups peeled, chopped tart apples (probably 3 apples, depending on size)

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease and lightly flour bottom and sides of 13 x 9 cake pan
  • Beat sugar, oil, and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until blended, about 30 seconds
  • Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, and salt and beat on low speed for one minute
  • Stir in apples
  • Pour into pan
  • Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

Once cool, I drizzle the top with a simple powdered sugar glaze… just some powdered sugar, a tiny bit of milk and a tiny drop of vanilla. If only I measured these things! The more sugar you use, the more glaze you'll get. I probably use about a half cup to a cup. If it's too runny, add more sugar, if it's too thick, add another tiny drop of milk. Whisk and drizzle!

I store our cake in the fridge and heat a piece for about 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Hooray for fall!

Adapted from Betty Crocker's recipe for Carrot Cake.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Clever Costumes ~ Review & Giveaway

I was provided with free product to facilitate this review and giveaway. 
All opinions expressed are my own.

Now that fall is here, I periodically hear a voice in my head (and in real life) telling me that it's time to start working on the Halloween costume! My four year old daughter told me just last night that she doesn't want me to forget to make her costume. I wouldn't say that I'm a procrastinator but I would say that I learned an important lesson last Halloween. Let me explain...

I never knew for sure that I would be a DIY Halloween costumer but last summer my daughter informed me that she was going to be a bluebird for Halloween. A bluebird? A bluebird. I have no idea where it came from, but she set it in stone. She was going to be a bluebird for Halloween. She continued this request throughout the summer and fall, and given that I didn't find any bluebirds in the stores and I wasn't going to pay an arm and a leg online, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. So to Pinterest I ventured, and then off to the craft store, and I ended up with what I thought was a beautiful homemade bluebird costume. It was perfect!

Until… just a few short days before Halloween… literally… when my then three year old daughter looked at me like I had three heads and said, "I didn't want to be a bluebird, I wanted to be a snow princess." A snow princess. Not a Frozen inspired snow princess. A I-have-no-idea-what-inspired-it snow princess. There was no talking her out of it. The only option was for me to figure out how to make a snow princess costume… fast! Back to Pinterest I went. There were some options that intrigued her but none were just what she was picturing in her mind. So back to the craft store I went, and after a couple of long days, we had a snow princess… and a very happy preschooler!

Since bedtime on October 31, 2013, my daughter has been saying that she wants to be Little Red Riding Hood this year. I'm sure you can understand why I have not started the costume yet!

I was very excited when Downtown Bookworks Publishing asked me if they could send me a copy of Shannon Whitt's book Clever Costumes to review on the blog. I feel like this book (which is actually more of a kit than a book) was written for me!

Clever Costumes is a fantastic book of the cutest costumes, all made from things you definitely have around your house… like trash bags. Say what?! It's true. It includes illustrated instructions for creating more than 50 fabulous, unique costumes… as well as some supplies... and the whole kit costs less than the cost of a SINGLE store-bought costume. Included in the kit is the book, of course, as well as a yard of red satin (perfect for my Little Red Riding Hood!), duct tape, velcro fasters, and elastic cord. Using the contents of the kit plus household recyclables like plastic bags, bottle caps, and curling ribbon and/or old clothing, author Shannon Whitt explains how to make tons of amazing costumes!

Check out this Queen of Hearts… using Target bags!

And this Princess with beautiful, long, curly, curling-ribbon hair!

The illustrations are beautiful, the instructions are clear and detailed, and the ideas are so creative!

Whether you're looking to save some cash this Halloween, are looking for a creative way to reuse some household items, want some extra dress-up clothes around the house, or need some quick ideas for last minute costumes when you're child changes their mind and there is no time to get back to the craft store, Clever Costumes is for you!

Downtown Bookworks has graciously offered to give one of my readers a Clever Costumes kit! Simply follow the instructions below! This giveaway is open to residents in the USA only, ends Thursday, October 2 at midnight and you'll have 24 hours to respond if you get an email from me that you're chosen as the winner. Downtown Bookworks will be mailing out the prize.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to see Shannon Whitt in action? Take a look at this video where she makes a skirt out of plastic bags, double stick tape, and elastic cord (that comes with the kit):

What's on your Halloween costume-making agenda this year? I need to collect ideas just in case we have a last minute change of heart again this year!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Little Gems by Sunsella - Set of 12 Silicone Baking Cups

I received free product to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are my own.

We do a lot of baking and a lot of "making-food-look-fun" around here so I was very excited to be asked to review a set of 12 silicone baking cups - Little Gems by Sunsella. I've actually been wanting to get my hands on some silicone baking cups for quite some time. I do a good deal of baking and know that baking cakes in silicone pans is amazing so I can only assume the same is true for baking cups. But to be honest, the part of me that obsesses over lunch-packing is what really had me wanting some of these beauties!

I am all about appealing looking foods. I think they are more fun to both eat and prepare! When it comes to packing my preschooler's lunch, especially, we are all about visual appeal. It probably sounds nuts, but my daughter has said to me that when she opens her lunchbox every day, she smiles, and thinks, "Wow! It's all my favorite foods!" I pack her a lunchbox full of all of her favorite healthy foods and she eats and eats until her belly is full. She likes things to be just-so, both in her life and with her food - organized, neat, and predictable - so that's how we roll.

Today we brightened up her lunchbox with Little Gems by Sunsella, and she was ecstatic! Here's the finished product.

Who wouldn't want to eat that?!

I am so pleased with Little Gems by Sunsella. You get 12 in a set. The quality is fantastic. They are thick, sturdy, and durable. They come in 6 fun and vibrant colors. They are BPA free and meet all FDA standards. They are non-stick, oven, microwave, freezer, and even dishwasher safe!

You can find Little Gems by Sunsella on Amazon and they offer a 100% money back guarantee if you're not satisfied... but I know you will be... so give them a try!

I received free product to facilitate this review through No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Parents! Vote Now to Help Kids Have More Fun - One Playspace at a Time

As parents, we spend a lot of time discovering creative ways to nurture our children's curiosity. Luckily, being outdoors provides the perfect landscape, fueling young imaginations and creating endless possibilities for exploration, discovery and creativity. Children's Claritin hopes to inspire parents to create innovate play spaces in their backyards, and communities.

Children's Claritin also believes in the benefits of outdoor activity for children, and wants to help children get the most out of every day! They're teaming up with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit, to help bring innovative playspaces to communities in need and you can help! By voting, you can help them pick the four community organizations that will receive Imagination Playground™. What's Imagination Playground™? See imagination at play - watch last year's winner enjoying Imagination Playground™.

Be sure to visit where you can place your vote and gather playspace inspirations for creating your own backyard playspace.

While visiting the Children's Claritin & KaBOOM! Facebook page, you can also:
  • Learn more about the twelve organizations you can vote for receiving Imagination Playground™
  • Download coupon offers
  • Locate a playspace near you

Vote now and help us pick the four community organizations that will receive Imagination Playground. You can vote one time per day through 9/26/14. Click here for voting rules.

As a member of the Children's Claritin Mom Crew, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit. No monetary compensation has taken place and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fit Made Fun Day with LeapFrog LeapBands!

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyPartyThe opinions expressed here are my own.

LeapFrog, a leader in electronic educational toys, recognizes the importance of kids being healthy and active. This is why they declared September 6, 2014 to be Fit Made Fun Day! They encouraged children and families everywhere to jump into motion to experience the fun of an active, healthy lifestyle. They, along with soccer star, Mia Hamm, invited families to Santa Monica, California, to work together to to break a few active play Guinness World Records and invited families across the country to participate from home.

We were so excited to have received an invitation from MomSelect to host a Fit Made Fun Party, sponsored by LeapFrog and CLIF Kid, right here at home! Our party kit included everything we needed for a really fun celebration with our friends, all centered on getting active and healthy.

LeapFrog recently launched the LeapBand, an activity tracker made for kids that encourages active play and healthy habits. With it's customizable and interactive pets, fun and creative activities and challenges, and lots of positive reinforcement along the way, the LeapBand makes physical activity fun for kids. Despite the fact that it's an electronic toy, it promotes an active lifestyle and healthy habits in a way that is so incredibly innovative and fun!

LeapFrog provided us with some LeapBands to use with our party guests and we had such a fun time! LeapBands are available in green, pink, and blue, and each comes with the band itself, a USB cable for online set-up, and a parents guide. It has a rechargeable battery, water-resistant design, and a high resolution screen. The LeapBand sort of looks and functions like a watch (you can even see what time it is!) but it's so much more. Children are able to pick a "pet" and choose it's color and name.  They can play with their pet, take care of their pet, and earn rewards for their pet by completing physical activities and challenges.

That's our purple unicorn named Lucky Sparkles, on the right!

We had a lot of fun using our LeapBands to structure some creative and active play at our Fit Made Fun Party!

My four year-old's favorite part? "I really loved to run like a superhero!"

We also played some games that promote an active and healthy lifestyle... and you don't even need a LeapBand for these!  If you head over to the Fit Made Fun Party website, you'll find lots of different printable activities that you can enjoy with kids in your own home.  We enjoyed Bingo and the Fit Made Fun Game!  We also spent a time coloring and learning about the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and healthy living, while getting to know some fun animal friends!

Besides the activities mentioned above, on the Fit Made Fun Party website, you'll also see CLIF Kid 60 Minutes of Motion, an active and fun way for busy families to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.  It's a downloadable deck of 25 motion, activity, adventure, and game cards.  It makes it easy for families to mix and match ideas for outdoor and indoor movement, play and adventure.

After active play, healthy refueling is so important! Staying hydrated and eating healthy snacks is just as important as staying active. This is why CLIF Kid joined forces with LeapFrog on Fit Made Fun Day.  What a treat to have been provided some of their delicious and nutritious bars for us to try out with our friends! CLIF Kid Zbar Protein is a nutritious and delicious whole grain, protein snack made for kids' growing bodies. In addition to 5 grams of complete protein, CLIF Kid Zbar Protein is made with 70 percent organ ingredients, offers an excellent source of calcium, and is a good source of Vitamin D, iron, and zinc.  Zbar Protein contains no partially-hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, no synthetic preservatives, no artificial flavors, and no trans fat.  The bars come in three delicious flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, and Peanut Butter Chocolate.

Kids love these protein bars and grown-ups can feel good about serving them as a healthy snack option.  They were a huge hit at our Fit Made Fun Party and after trying them for the first time, have quickly become a staple in our own pantry!

We tried several other healthy snacks on Fit Made Fun Day so stay tuned for some new recipes on the blog soon. We rehydrated with cold water and Strawberry Lime Water, and refueled with Zucchini Tots, CLIF Kid ZBar DIY Yogurt Parfaits, Cheese Sticks, Fruit, Couscous Fruit Salad, and of course CLIF Kid ZBar Protein!

We loved celebrating Fit Made Fun Day and I think we'll make a regular habit of it!  There are lots of ways to get kids active at home.  The LeapBand is amazing but if you don't yet have one, you can still head over and check out the resources on the Fit Made Fun Party website for some inspiration and ideas for getting your family active. You should also check out your favorite social media channel and do a search for #FitMadeFun for more ideas.  I have no doubt that you'll find some fun pictures from Fit Made Fun Day that will inspire some ideas of your own!

Special thanks to Fit Made Fun Day sponsors, LeapFrog, CLIF Kid, and MomSelect, and of course, an extra special thanks to our fantastic friends who joined us for a really fun day!

Do you have favorite ways of keeping your family healthy?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyPartyThe opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kidecals ~ Waterproof Labels for Kids and Adults!

We received free product to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

If you have a child who is in school I'm sure you spend a decent amount of time labeling every belonging that leaves your house. We have a preschooler and get notes home at least monthly reminding us to label everything. So, out come the permanent markers and while I inhale the fumes, I'm trying to fit first names, or last names, or initials, anywhere I can on every piece of clothing, lunch box item, cuddly toy, show and tell item, etc, etc, etc.

Well, my friends, I recently learned that there is any easier way!

Say goodbye to the permanent marker and trying to fit a long name on a teeny tiny tag and say hello to Kidecals!

Kidecals are personalized labels that are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe! They stick to any surface and they are super, super cute! Kidecals has hundreds of different designs that you can customize to your liking. They always ship free and within 48 hours. They even have options for grownups - like organizing your pantry or craft room... or even decorating your computer keyboard! And even though Kidecals are really great at staying put, they are also easily removable when you're ready.

Just visit the Kidecals website, pick your colors, shapes, sizes, styles, and add your text. You can add names, phone numbers, spots for expiration dates (labels for leftovers!) or even just leave them blank and fill in as needed. The possibilities are endless.

We have been very impressed Kidecals. The online ordering process was so easy. They shipped quickly and arrived in perfect condition. They are even cuter in person than they are on the website and the quality is fantastic. The size options are perfect for clothing and accessories. Our labels have truly survived through the dishwasher, the washing machine, the dryer, the pool, water bottle condensation, and preschool wear and tear. And they are seriously so, so cute!

My four year-old daughter was very proud to have Kidecals labeling everything she brought to her first day of Pre-K today.

Here's her review... in her own words:
  • I like that they spell my name M-A-G-G-I-E.
  • I like that they have my name.
  • I like when I see them when I put on every single stuff.
  • They look good because they have my name.

My interpretation:
  • She likes Kidecals! (and so do I!)

Head on over to the Kidecals website, start browsing, place your order today, and you'll have it within a few days! You can also sign up for their newsletter and receive 15% off your first order.

What a fun, and convenient way to keep track of belongings. I couldn't be more pleased and I'm pretty sure I won't revert back to the old school permanent marker. I'll definitely be ordering again when I run out of my current set!

Besides their website, you can also find Kidecals on social media. Visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

We received free product to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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