Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Week in Photos-9/30

            Hey folks! Since I enjoy sharing photos so much, I thought it would be fun to start a weekly segment where I share what we did throughout the week in pictures. Kind of like a Wordless Wednesday...except even more pictures. ;)


We've been meaning to have a bonfire for awhile as we had a huge pile of wood from cleaning up the yard, never ending stick picking up, cutting trees down, etc. We decided to kick off the first official day of autumn by finally getting around to it! Not gonna lie: The fire was scary big at first and yes, I was getting nervous. John got it tamed eventually and we made smores. Myka still doesn't like marshmallows, as it turns out. Weird kid, right?





Myka pretty much wants to go outside first thing every morning. We usually spend at least a little time in the yard each day, but I finally stopped being a weeny and took her for a walk on one of our trails Thursday. (Have I mentioned I really don't like snakes?) We were "supposed" to make a leaf man for part of our "school stuff"...but I decided to make a stick lady instead and Myka helped me gather stuff for her on our walk. She turned out kinda creepy, huh? Reminds me of a primitive, female enderman from Minecraft. lol Oh well. Myka liked it. ;)


We finally got to pick some spinach from our garden! Contrary to the look on her face, Myka really likes salad. I only wish we had more!
On the right is our little butternut squash witch, Esmerelda. ha ha I came across this on one of the Facebook groups I'm in and had to make one for myself!

Healthy Family Giveaway

            We are excited to partner with Mommy Scene and celebrate Fall and the launch of a new product — Sudsy Dough moldable soap on Kickstarter! What better way to celebrate than with a Healthy Family Giveaway featuring some great family-focused products! Be sure to check out the Sudsy Dough Kickstarter Campaign and all the other prizes below and enter to win!

Heathy Family Giveaway Prizes - Mommy Scene

Sudsy Dough

Prize: 2 tubs of Sudsy Dough moldable bath soap, 12 ounces each
Heathy Family Giveaway - Sudsy Dough - Mommy Scene
Now on Kickstarter! Sudsy Dough is a interactive bath toy that doubles as a moldable scented dough and a cleansing sensory soap! Sudsy Dough was created by a mom to make bath time fun for her own daughter. Kids can squeeze and squish Sudsy Dough in the bath, rub it on as a cleansing body wash, or take it outside the tub and make custom shapes that will dry into soaps. Each ball also has a surprise bath toy hidden inside! Sudsy Dough is offering some great rewards to thank their campaign supporters — all deliverable before Christmas for a great gift!

See the Sudsy Dough Kickstarter »

Piggy Paint Hug Life Gift Set

Prize: Hug Life Gift Set with 3 shades of non-toxic nail polish including Let's Flamingle, Wild Child, and Periwinkle Little Star
Piggy Paint is a natural, eco-friendly nail polish for kids. It's non-toxic, hypoallergenic formula makes it safe to use on all piggies. Piggy Paint dries to a hard, durable finish that can easily be removed with the eco-friendly, low odor Piggy Paint nail polish remover. Both are made in the USA! piggypaint.com
Heathy Family Giveaway - Piggy Paint - Mommy Scene

SOPHi Nai Polish

Prize: 2 shades of SOPHi natural nail polish for adults plus SOPHi's PRIME + SHINE + SEAL System for maximum durability
From the maker of Piggy Paint, the non-toxic nail polish for kids, SOPHi is a natural nail polish in SOPHisticated colors for adults. These polishes are virtually odorless, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and made in the USA. SOPHi is free of all harsh chemicals and does not cause nails to yellow or become brittle. sophinailpolish.com

Baby Comfy Care

Prize: Baby Comfy Deluxe Safety Nail Clipper
Heathy Family Giveaway - Baby Comfy Care - Mommy Scene
The patented single-blade design of Baby Comfy Nail won't cut baby's skin. Baby Comfy Nail Deluxe safety clippers have only one blade! The bottom flat plastic ledge pushes baby's skin back out of the way while the top blade cuts the nail... and only the nail. The unique ergonomic design and larger size makes it easier to hold and operate when you don't want to make a mistake. The design also protects from cutting too closely to the sensitive nail bed. babycomfycare.com

Leaf Therapeutic

Prize: Leaf Skin Therapy Lotion - 2 ounces

Heathy Family Giveaway - Leaf Therapy Lotion - Mommy Scene
Leaf Skin Therapy Lotion features a formula that is both hydrating and healing for damaged skin, without using toxic preservatives. Leaf Skin Therapy Lotion uses natural and safe (and expensive!) fermented radish root and goldenseal extract. It is safe enough to use on babies and, although this lotion was specially designed for people with eczema and other dry skin conditions, it works great on normal skin, too. Best of all, it has an extremely low toxicity rating on the Environmental Working Group website. If you are looking for an ultra-hydrating, hypoallergenic, unscented lotion, this is the lotion for you! leaftherapeutic.com

Little Standout

Prize: 100% Silicone Diamond Teething Toy
Heathy Family Giveaway - Little Standout - Mommy Scene
Add a little bling to your day with Little Standout's 100% silicone Diamond Teether! Made for tiny hands and achy gums, our silicone teethers are non-toxic and free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium and all that other yucky stuff you don't want to see your baby putting into their mouth. They are dishwasher safe, making them super easy to clean and totally awesome! littlestandout.com

Young Living

Prize: One Bottle of OrthoEase massage oil, one Oola Book + samples from Young Living
Heathy Family Giveaway - Young Living - Mommy Scene
OrthoEase massage oil soothes and warms tired and stressed bodies, helping to combat the damaging effects of everyday activities. With a calming blend of oils, it will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. OrthoEase contains: coconut oil, wintergreen, peppermint, juniper, eucalyptus, lemongrass, marjoram, thyme, vetiver, sweet almond oil, and olive oil
The international bestselling book "Oola, Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. The 7 areas you need to balance and grow to live the life of your dreams" is written by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl. This book inspired Young Living's Infused 7 Line.
"As a Mom and wife, I strive to provide my family with a lifestyle of wellness and abundance. My life has changed since November 2014, using Young Living Essential Oils. I have less anxiety, more peace, more energy and an overall sense of well being. Not only do I apply and diffuse them every day, I cook and clean with them and save tons of money. Our body is our greatest asset. The healthier we are and better we feel, the more we can enjoy life, our families, friends and go after our dreams. Each day we get older and each day we are given a fresh new opportunity to age better, to have more joy, energy and focus and to truly experience "young living". Follow me for upcoming class updates and daily Oily Living."
Erika Miller
Independent Distributor
Young Living Essential Oils
#2108472
ylwebsite.com/ErikaMiller

Baby Buddy

Prize: Baby Buddy 360 Toothbrush (Step 1 & Step 2)
Heathy Family Giveaway - Baby Buddy - Mommy Scene
The Baby Buddy 360 degree toothbrush is truly innovative - it is the world's first 360 degree designed toothbrush. Developed in the Osaka University Dental Hospital of Japan, the 360 Toothbrush has unparalleled cleaning power thanks to over 10,000 micro fine bristles - 10 times more than the average toothbrush. Circular rings firmly hold bristles in place, while spacing washers between bristle layers make it more effective for removing plaque and keeping the brush clean. Works great for cleaning the tongue and for massaging gums. Take a 360 Toothbrush to work, out camping, or on the road, as it may be used effectively with water alone when you are on the go. Available as Step 1 for ages 4-24 month olds and as Step 2 for 2-12 year olds. Smile4BabyBuddy.com

Genesis 950

Prize: Gallon of Genesis 950 & spray bottle
Heathy Family Giveaway - Genesis 950 - Mommy Scene
Genesis 950 is a green, all purpose cleaner that makes cleaning your home safe. Genesis 950 is free of harsh chemicals and works as a concentrate with water to break the bonds of stains by making them water soluble. When a stain becomes water soluble, it can then be broken down and flushed from the surface. In doing so it removes the toughest stains and biggest messes. genesis950.com

Babycook Pro

Prize: Babycook Pro Original Baby Food Maker, prize color may vary - winner may be able to select preferred color if in stock
Heathy Family Giveaway - Babycook Pro - Mommy Scene
babycook pro is the original baby food maker on the market. It makes up to 4.7 cups of food in a sleek, patented countertop appliance that steam cooks, blends and reheats all-in-one, in 15 minutes or less. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers, then simply defrost and reheat right in babycook. Steam cooking locks in vitamins and nutrients, a multi-purpose mixing blade provides just the right texture, the timer has an audible alert to tell you when meals are ready, and all of this with total one-handed operation. This appliance is loaded with features that make any parent a "pro" in baby food preparation. beabausa.com

Sip & Spin

Prize: Sip & Spin Straw Cup
Heathy Family Giveaway - Sip & Spin - Mommy Scene
The Sip & Spin straw cup has a unique fun-factor - a pinwheel in the lid that spins as you sip. Playful artwork on the pinwheel disc coordinates with the cup art, creating an engaging drinking experience for your child. The racing trucks and soaring butterflies can encourage playing kids to take a water break, cheer up and rehydrate a sick child, or motivate a toddler to transition from a bottle or spouted sippy to a straw cup. As parents, we know what a pain it can be to clean kids' cups, so we made sure all the components come apart easily for cleaning and are dishwasher safe. The Sip & Spin straw cup is a cute gift and a fun way to keep kids hydrated... Hydration Motivation! nuspinkids.com

kidSTAT

Prize: kidSTAT First Aid Kit
Heathy Family Giveaway - kidSTAT - Mommy Scene
kidSTAT is targeted for active toddlers and kids. This kit is equipped with hospital-grade products to treat the most common childhood emergencies: aches+sprains, bites+burns, and cuts+scrapes. kidSTAT has easy-to-follow, first-aid instructions to reassure you when your child is in distress. Together with "red flags" warnings on when to seek medical attention, this comprehensive kit was designed by moms, who happen to be ER doctors, too.
kidSTAT contains:

91 items
Doctor-written, step-by-step instructions
Full-sized items, latex & BPA free
Hospital-grade products
Red flags to go to the ER
Emergency contact/Pediatric CPR card
threemommydoctors.com

Pacific Baby

Prize: Natural Feeding Starter Set - Green
Heathy Family Giveaway - Pacific Baby - Mommy Scene
Made from Natural Bamboo. Safe & Healthy. Machine Washable and Biodegradable. pacificbabyworld.com

Yummi Pouch

Prize: Yummi Pouch Brights Reusable Food Pouches
Heathy Family Giveaway - Yummi Pouch - Mommy Scene
Yummi Pouch Brights (Set of 4) combine style and convenience in an eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and enjoyed by drinking from the side spout, Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are great for kids taking healthy snacks on the go. Includes set of 4 assorted patterns. revelae.com

Enter to win these great prizes!

This contest is sponsored by Mommy Scene and is open to US entries. One winner will be chosen and displayed on the giveaway widget after the contest ends on Oct. 8th, 2015. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated for this post.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gardening Spotlight: Flower Garden Transformation! (In Pictures)

            Hey folks! I just love taking pictures, especially of projects. So, instead of rambling on with a bunch of details you can see for yourself, I thought I would share with you our flower garden transformation with pictures!
            Just a little background on this project, this space is next to one of our garages. While I loved that it was full of chickweed this spring, especially since it's pretty close to where our chicken coop is, the fact remains it was pretty overgrown. So, while I had planned on turning the entire area into a children's/fairy garden initially for our daughters to enjoy as they grow up, I let hubby "talk me into" turning part of it into a mini greenhouse.
            I started working on it on a Saturday recently and, lo and behold, especially with hubby's help digging the hostas up, it took me way less time to get it where I wanted it! So, for your viewing pleasure, here's my amazing *ahem* two day flower bed transformation.

For you gardeners out there who may be crying out, "You dug the hostas up?!", fear not. We have TONS more in various places around the yard...That's why I had no remorse saying "screw it" and digging these up. lol

 Unfortunately, the little bench had to go. It was super rotten. 


            Can't wait to see where this heads in the spring. I had originally planned on letting Myka help me pick lots of different types of flowers out and/or planting our herbs here too, but she enjoys playing in the dirt so much, I might not plant as much so she has room to dig. ;) I feel a garden chotchkie collection coming on as well, so here's hoping the kitties don't knock them over all the time and destroy the flowers too!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dearfoams Slippers Giveaway

dearfoams-slippers-for-the-family-giveaway
Sponsor: dearfoams
Prize: 3 pairs of dearfoams slippers (NOTE: Styles will be selected by Dearfoams based on availability).
Dates: 9/26-10/10
Open to: US Residents 18+
Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

If you have never tried dearfoams slippers, they are heavenly!-MBM

Entry-Form

Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated for this post or responsible for prize shipment. This giveaway is not affiliated with any social media platform, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Homeschool Life: Schedule & Attention Struggles


            Hey folks! Some of you may have read a few weeks ago that we started doing homeschool recently...kind of. If you missed that post and would like to catch up, you can do so HERE. As I mentioned at the end of it, this post is going to be all about our struggles to come up with a schedule that works for us and trying to figure out how to work around and deal with the “Hey look! A squirrel!”-ness that is almost 3 year olds.
             I probably mentioned it in my previous post, but a big part of why I'm getting more serious/involved/whatever-you-want-to-call-it about our “school” stuff this year is because I feel like Myka and I would both greatly benefit from some structure, especially now that we're out of “waiting to move purgatory”. Needless to say, we have been very spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of people. Don't get me wrong. I still think it's important to do unplanned things and go on unscheduled outings. (Yes, even for children, you schedule Nazis!) But I've gotten to the point in my life where I feel like we would both be less irritable, if nothing else, if there was some sort of consistent flow to our week.
             So far, I seem to have identified two main struggles when it comes to figuring out what schedule would work for us. 1) I still have selfishness issues. More than I care to admit considering I thought I would be better about it after having a kid. My biggest trouble area is mornings. I will admit that I really just want to be left alone in the mornings and get caught up on my stuff. Which leads me to number two...
             2) Since this is all new territory for us, I've been trying to figure out what time of day Myka seems to be most interested in and attentive enough to do “school” stuff. Which, as it turns out, seems to be mornings. Surprise!


             So, the past couple of weeks have been interesting. I'm pretty much useless if I don't get housework done before 1pm, so I've still been managing to squeeze dishes, laundry, etc. in the mornings somehow while still doing fun stuff with Myka. (And that whole “keeping her alive by feeding her” thing too.) Some days are easier than others, of course. Some days Myka might not be that into whatever I had planned for her, so I end up having plenty of time to do my chores. (If she's not into an activity, I don't force her to do it. That's just silly.) Other days I just don't have that much housework to do.
             We've had a couple of good days so far, which I'll get excited about in a minute, but it's still definitely a learning process. I did learn a valuable lesson over Labor Day: Do NOT try to do school stuff on the days John is home. My husband had Labor Day and the day after that off (and already has Wednesdays off each week), so Myka only wanted to do what he was doing or be his little shadow, which is fine. There was no “Come help mommy do this” or “Hey, do you want to get this out?” She wanted no part of it. Now I know!
             Then there are the days where she's just downright cantankerous and/or is easily distracted and not that into whatever I had planned. Those days I usually just say “screw it” and let her do whatever she wants, although I have to admit it's kind of discouraging sometimes. I've been trying to do a couple of activities from the AChild's World curriculum a few days a week, but I'm still trying to figure out if she's just not into the theme we're currently on or if I need to pack more activities into the days she does seem to be really attentive or what. It seems like the few days I've tried to do more it ends up biting me in the ass! Too many variables!
             Like I said, we have had a couple of good days. Today started off good. (Emphasis on “started”.) I laid out her crayons and do-a-dot markers on her learning/craft table along with her letter L hat from 123 Homeschool 4 Me and letter L do-a-dot page before she got up. She noticed it within a few minutes and did a really good job! As usual, I helped her color her hat, but she always wants me to help color anything. 

 
             Since she was so into that, I decided to push my luck. She kept saying she wanted to paint because 1) she's obsessed with painting and 2) I told her we would last night and we ended up not having time too. :/ So, silly me, I thought she would enjoy painting outside for one of the activities from the curriculum, but “playing” with the cats proved to be too big a temptation. I think she painted for 5 minutes, if that, before smacking the cats, I mean “playing” with them with a stick. -_- *sigh*
             I wish we could have more days like last Thursday, but I know that's asking a lot of a 3 year old. She was in a really good mood, listened, actually paid attention, etc. etc. I was just going to have her help me paint some paper plates for some letter “L” crafts, but we ended up making all three of the crafts. O.o That lasted about an hour and then we went outside for another hour and forty minutes doing projects from A Child's World! Myka even finger painted some more after we ate and I attempted to fix my homemade finger paints.
             Slowly but surely we'll find a rhythm that works for us...By which time little sister will probably be here and completely throw everything off. Lol

             Sorry for such a long post! I love talking about this stuff. (obviously) How long did it take you to come up with a schedule when you had kids? Was it totally thrown off each time you had a new addition to the family?

VTech Go Go Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway Giveaway

rcspeedway

Ultimate RC Speedway by VTech Giveaway

Hosted by Tales From A Southern Mom

Co-hosted by Michigan Saving and More, Brooke Blogs, David's DIY, and Sweepstakes Fanatic

Sponsored by VTech

We have a train track that is similar to this, so I bet this RC track is super fun! With the holidays nearing, this would make the perfect gift for the hard to buy for toddler!-MBM

Anything that goes vroom vroom has kids attention right away! This is a great play set from Go Go Smart Wheels Collection collection. You can add this to an existing set you have or use this as your starter set! Lots of fun for kids! VTech is sponsoring a giveaway for one lucky reader to win this great RC Speedway. Enter Below and Good Luck!  

  Participating bloggers were not compensated and are not responsible for this giveaway.No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. All entries are optional. A new winner will be chosen if the original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. Tales From A Southern Mom is not responsible for shipment of the prize(s). Sponsor is responsible for all shipping this prize. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. This is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Any questions, email julie.talesfromasouthernmom@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dawn Pub Fall 2015 Release Previews

             Hey folks! If you've been following my blog for awhile, you probably know that twice a year I get the privilege of sharing with you sneak peeks of upcoming Dawn Publications releases. Well, their new releases come out in spring and fall, so needless to say, I'm super behind (and ashamed that I let this slip for so long!) as their two new fall titles, Mighty Mole and Super Soil and If You Love Honey, are already available for purchase! (And, so I don't forget, I'll mention now that they are both currently 25% off!) However, if you're like me and still like to preview things or read reviews before buying certain products, read on!

             MightyMole and Super Soil, written by Mary Quattlebaum and illustrated by Chad Wallace, follows a mole along on her daily life and is full of facts about moles as well as what they do in and for the soil. Geared for ages 4-10, it's sure to appeal to younger readers with it's realistic illustrations and satisfy older children's desire for as much information as possible on subject matter that is new to them.
             I have to admit that I did not know much about moles myself before reading this book, so I actually learned some things too! Moles are interesting little creatures that a lot of us probably don't know much about, even as adults, since they spend most of their time underground. However, it was interesting reading this a second time after we moved into our new house as moles have very much taken up residence ALL OVER our yard. I'm not sure I have quite as much appreciation for them now. Ha ha

             I was excited to preview If You Love Honey because I thought it was going to be all about bees and how important they are AND, as I've stated in sneak peeks past, I love, love, love, Cathy Morrison's illustrations! As usual, her illustrations do not disappoint, but the story did take a turn I wasn't expecting. Although it starts off with bees, Sullivan, the author, goes on to explain how they are connected with other parts of their ecosystem.
             This book is a great, informative way to show kids how everything in an ecosystem relates to one another in some way or another. For older children, it would be great to expand upon what they learned from this story and ask them what might happen if part of an ecosystem was in trouble, such as a dwindling honey bee population or a widespread plant disease of some sort. As usual, there is also further information at the back of the book, such as how honey is made and “busy as a bee activities” to further learning.
             Be sure to check out all of Dawn Publications books, especially if this is your first time hearing about them! All of their books are about nature related topics and the vast majority are geared towards children of all ages. Any book from Dawn Pub would make a great gift for a parent, child, or even teacher! 

I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I receive advanced copies of books from Dawn Publications in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tater Tot Casserole

Totally didn't think to take a picture before we dug in. Sorry! I'll try to remember to update it the next time I make this!

             Hey folks! I don't know about you, but cooking is not my favorite thing in the world. Which is ironic in our house because whenever I do cook it's good, but my husband actually enjoys cooking, but it usually doesn't turn out how he wants. Figures, right? Anyways, I've been getting better about actually cooking since we've moved, but have to admit that casseroles are still a favorite. Probably since I like baking and it's kind of similar in the sense that you pretty much just have to mix a bunch of stuff together and throw it in the oven. That's my kind of cooking!
             I'm usually super anal about following recipes exactly. But, I was feeling lazy the particular day I came up with this casserole and just threw stuff together that sounded good instead of looking a recipe up. As luck would have it, it actually turned out really good! So, here's a new casserole to try when you're feeling lazy or just don't have the time for a more “involved” dinner.

What You'll Need:

-frozen tater tots
-1 pound of beef
-shredded cheddar cheese
-ketchup
-1/2 onion, chopped
-garlic powder
-salt
-pepper

*Note: I pretty much “eye-balled” everything when I made this, so bear with me not having exact measurements for, well, hardly anything.

  1. Cook your meat with your desired amount of garlic powder. I accidentally put more than I meant to in mine, but it actually turned out just right!
  2. Saute your onion in a little bit of butter, veggie oil, or whatever you prefer. To save yourself from dirtying up an extra skillet, you could probably cook your onions in with the meat or wait until you're done with the meat and use that skillet. (Have I ever mentioned how much I hate washing dishes?)
  3. While you're waiting for your meat and onion to cook, go ahead and layer enough tater tots in your casserole dish to cover the bottom. More is ok too.
  4. Once your meat and onion are done cooking, pour them over the top of your tater tots along with enough cheese to cover everything as well. I love cheese too, so the more the merrier. ;)
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and bake at 375F for 15-22 minutes, depending on your oven. Just long enough to make sure your tater tots get done and cheese is melty.
  6. Squirt desired amount of ketchup on top and serve.

CraftyAllie

Saturday, September 19, 2015

ReMEDies Essential Oil Gift Set

Give the Gift of Essential Oils Giveaway Sponsored by ReMEDies

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Give the Gift of Essential Oils Giveaway

            This essential oil set from Remedies has over the top aromatherapy scented essential oils. It includes 6 oil fragments: Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Green Tea, Lavender, Lotus and Sweet Pea. This ultimate gift from nature is made from aromatic essence of the plants that affect your overall well being. Each of the 15 ml bottles has an anti-drip protective cap to avoid spills.
The Essential Oil Gift Set includes:
  • Beautiful Essential Oils Set with 6 bottles, each bottle has 15 Ml
  • 100% Pure Essential Oil – Therapeutic Grade
  • Included: Eucalyptus – Jasmine – Green Tea – Lotus – Sweet Pea - Lavender
  • 25 cotton pads included for body massage or to use in Remedies Humidifier
  • Anti-Drip Caps in Each Bottle

See what Emilee at Pea of Sweetness thought of the Essential Oil Gift Set
    
            This set is a wonderful gift! One winner will receive the Essential Oil Gift Set. This giveaway runs through 10/3/15 at 11:00pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

  Disclosure: Emilee at Pea of Sweetness received complimentary products to facilitate her review. No additional compensation was received. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is not associated with any social media platform, including, but not limited to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Gardening Spotlight: Edible Radish Greens?

             Yes! Believe it or not, not just the root is edible, but the leafy top part as well. Here's how we discovered this and a little more about how you can eat radish greens and what they taste like.


             This was what our little radishes looked like before we thinned them out. They took off so well and we had to pull so many up, it seemed wasteful to just toss all of them. John originally was getting radish greens mixed up with turnip greens since he already knew those were edible. But, after further investigation, it turns out radish greens are too!
             To be completely straight forward, I have not actually tried eating any yet. From what John read online, they are supposed to taste similar to spinach, which I love. In fact, that's pretty much the only way I'll eat salad. However, they are also supposed to have a peppery taste to them, which I do NOT love. So, I decided to forgo eating them in a salad and took John's suggestion of blanching and freezing them. Not familiar with blanching? It's super easy!

  1. Bring a pot of water to a slow boil. Toss whatever you're blanching (you can find out more about blanching HERE) in for 30-60 seconds.

  2. Transfer what you're blanching to a bowl of ice cold water. Only let it sit for the same amount of time you blanched it for.

  3. I set our finished radish greens in a strainer to help drain some of the excess water while I finished the rest. 

  4. Drain/squeeze as much excess water as you can before freezing. If you don't have a vacuum sealer or anything like that, you can always just use freezer baggies or even can your fruits or veggies as well. 


             What about you: Do you can or freeze any fruits or veggies in the fall? What's your favorite method for preserving?

VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent Giveaway


Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews
is so happy to be hosting the

VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent Giveaway
9/17 to 10/08
Open to US & Canada

One Lucky Winner will receive 1 VW Camper Van Kid Play Tent, 1 Lunch Bag, and 1 Pencil Case; valued at $95.98.

This is a great package for any kid in your life, perfect to start that stock pile for Christmas gift giving. You can see Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews complete review, CLICK HERE

A very special thank you to all of my awesome co-hosts.

Thank you so much to all of the bloggers participating in this giveaway. Without you, it wouldn't be quite as much fun.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US & Canada. There are daily bonus entries for sharing this giveaway on your social media channels. I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. We LOVE it when you LIKE our pages. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for taking the time out to enter into the giveaway. If you have any questions please feel free to email Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews at grovesamy81@gmail.com 

Winner will be mailed prize directly from The Monster Factory. No Bloggers Participating in this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prize. This giveaway is not affiliated with any social media platform, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated for this post.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Exposed Skincare Review

             Hey folks! How many of you have been dealing with breakouts longer than you care to think about or admit? Chances are good most of you reading this post are adults and are thinking the same thing I am: Shouldn't this acne crap have gone away by now? You know, like in my teenage years!? I feel ya. That's why you may be interested in today's post.
             I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who still has problems with acne that has resorted to the “I'll try anything” method of dealing with it. I go through phases too. If it gets bad enough, I'll actually give in and go to the doctor for some prescription topical cream. In between those times, when it's not so bad (or at least tolerable by my standards), I'm happy to try out whatever natural remedies I come across. So, because of this “switching between camps”, so to speak, I was even more intrigued when the representative from Exposed Skincare contacted me. Their skincare line strives to contain the best of both worlds: natural, plant-based extracts and advanced acne medicine. 

 
             I don't know about you, but this is the first time I've seen a facial regimen that contains both natural and medicinal ingredients, which I thought was interesting. The medicine works to unclog your pores, remove nasties, and kill acne causing bacteria. The natural extracts help to heal your skin by reducing redness and irritation, restoring radiance, and protecting your skin. Cool, huh? And the best part is the Exposed Skincare kit is guaranteed to give you clear skin in 30 days AND, if you use up all of your first kit, don't see a noticeable difference in your skin, and send it back within one year of purchasing it, you will receive a full refund! (Minus shipping costs.)
             So, did it magically clear up my skin? Short answer: no. BUT, I would like to believe there are several factors involved as to why it didn't, otherwise they wouldn't have such an awesome guarantee on their product, right? 

             Not going to lie: We were still in the throes of moving and unpacking when I first started trying this out, so I forgot to get a proper "before" picture. This is the only one I have of myself from that time.
             First of all, I'm pregnant. With my first daughter my skin did get magically clearer, which is especially a miracle considering I worked in a restaurant in a hot kitchen for the majority of that pregnancy. This little girl, however, has wreaked havoc upon my face. So, I'm pretty sure my crazy pregnancy hormones have a lot to do with Exposed Skincare not doing it for me.
Second, I have a bad habit of touching and picking at my face. To be honest, I don't even realize I'm doing it half the time and wouldn't if my husband hadn't told me. I'm especially prone to do so while sitting at the computer which, some days, is more than I care to admit. So, while I did make a conscious effort to avoid doing so while I was trying this product out, I'm sure there were times I was still doing it without even realizing.
             Also, I have to admit that while I did read it, I wasn't very good about obeying their “five rules” on the back of the quick start guide, which involves changing your pillowcase every 2 days, not touching your face * ahem *, drinking plenty of water, washing sweat off soon after, and avoiding sugars and dairy. I didn't have a problem drinking plenty of water because I already do that. Does that count? I don't normally eat a lot of sweets, but my parents visited one week and brought cookies, brownies, and a couple of cupcakes. O.o I also haven't tried out the Microderm Scrub or Clarifying Mask yet, so perhaps one of those would help jump start things too? 

After trying Exposed Skincare for 30 days. Yes, that's the same shirt as the first picture. I have other shirts, I promise. ;)
 
             With all of that being said, I do have intentions of trying Exposed Skincare out again after I have this baby and my hormones aren't quite so crazy. I would still recommend you give this product a try if you're NOT pregnant and have mild to moderate acne. You can find out more and order your own kit on their website. (Keep in mind their kits are meant to last several months so don't let the prices scare you. Plus, you have nothing to lose besides the price of shipping if it doesn't help. ;) )

I was not compensated monetarily for this review. I received a free product in order to facilitate my review. Regardless, all opinions are my own and may differ from your own. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Top 5 Reasons I'm Excited For Another Girl


             ...No matter how ridiculous the reasons. ;) Now, I know what you're thinking. If I read a title like this, I would get the impression the person writing the post was trying to convince him/herself more than anyone that they are happy about having another girl. I assure you, my enthusiasm is genuine. To be totally honest, I was actually kind of relieved our second baby is the same gender as the first once I really started thinking about it. Why?
  1. We already have all of the “girl stuff”. If you know me at all, you'll know that I am a big fan of gender neutrality. However, unless you're buying specialty clothing online, it would be damn near impossible to find enough clothing in stores to outfit a baby entirely in gender neutral colors, patterns, etc. Plus, and I've heard this from other people with girls, people tend to go especially ape shadoobie with the baby clothing if you're having a girl. So yah, we have enough girl clothes to cover twin or triplet babies. (Yes, I'll be getting rid of it as we go now that we know we are done with babies!)
  2. It takes care of our bedroom situation. Don't get me wrong. I love our new house, but it does kind of stink that there are only two bedrooms. It's extra interesting because one is huge and the other is tiny. But, now that we know we'll have two kids of the same gender, we can move them into the big bedroom once the baby starts sleeping through the night (which we had planned on anyways) and not have to worry about adding on to the house eventually.
  3. Girl names are way easier than boy names! For us, anyways. Like I said, I was convinced I was having a boy until our ultrasound. In all that time, we still hadn't really come up with a boy name either of us liked. Once we knew it was a girl, we had her name figured out by the end of the day. O.o Seriously. But, like I told my mom and my husband, maybe that's the reason we couldn't figure out a boys name: because she's not a boy! Lol
  4. I'm already used to girls. I always thought I would have more boys than girls, but honestly, now that we have Myka, I don't know what the hell I would do with a boy. Plus, unsurprisingly, she's turning out to be a bit of a tomboy. Besides Myka, we have two nieces who are a few years older than her, so I definitely have more experience with girls. And as much as I hate to admit it (again with the gender neutrality), I have found there are fundamental differences between boys and girls. Whether it's nature or nurture is another story. (Seriously though, why are most boys so hyper?!)
  5. *insert crickets chirping* What happened to number 5, you ask? Well, I was so worried that people would get their panties in a bunch over it that I decided to take it out completely. Have I mentioned that I don't like people arguing or confrontation? Sorry. I was just too lazy to change the picture and the title!

             If you have more than one kid of the same gender, were you happy or a little disappointed about it at first? How did you come to terms with it if you were disappointed?

Bambamboos Diaper Giveaway

bambamboos

Bambamboo Diapers Giveaway

Hosted by Tales From A Southern Mom

Co Hosted by Michigan Saving and More

Sponsored by Bambamboos Diapers

            Bambamboo diapers are hypoallergenic, dye free and biodegradable. Made from soft and absorbent bamboo they are perfect for the eco-conscious family! You can purchase them at their website here! Read all about the Bambamboo diapers here. Bambamboos is sponsoring a giveaway for 5 people to win one pack of diapers in their choice of size. Enter today and good luck!  

Participating bloggers were not compensated and are not responsible for this giveaway.No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. All entries are optional. A new winner will be chosen if the original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. Tales From A Southern Mom is not responsible for shipment of the prize(s). Sponsor is responsible for all shipping this prize. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. This is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Any questions, email julie.talesfromasouthernmom@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ham Cheeks $25 Shop Credit Giveaway

      Work at Home Moms are small business machines. They do everything from hand-making their creations, running shops, shipping and even managing social media accounts like Facebook. Unlike a big company that has products made by factory workers, WAHMs personally make each and every item they sell. Purchasing from a WAHM helps small businesses thrive, supports families and provides you with something custom and amazing to add to your stash.
      Ham Cheeks is a Mom-run shop right here in the USA! A proud Mom to 3, this shop owner works hard for and is inspired by her customers. Check out the Ham Cheeks Hybrid Fitted Review to see some of her work and stop by to enter to win something of your own!



     Now for the Giveaway! Enter the Ham Cheeks Designs Giveaway Below!! One lucky USA or Canada winner will receive a $25 Credit to her shop. Void where prohibited.


Disclosure; This blog was not compensated for this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Gleam tool will randomly draw a winner who will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond. If no response is given, another winner will be drawn. Questions? Contact MamaBananasAdventures@gmail.com and thank you for stopping by!! 
This giveaway is not affiliated with any social media sites, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Making a Homestead Part 7: Cool Weather Crops

             Hey folks! Did you know that, depending on where you live and how much you enjoy gardening, your growing season doesn't have to end with your harvest in late summer/fall? There are actually quite a few veggies you can plant in the fall and today we're going to talk about cool weather crops some.
             First of all, I just want to say that I am no expert on this by any means. In fact, I am just learning about all of this myself, both from my husband and by first-hand experience. But, if you're a novice like me, I'm hoping you can get some useful info from this post. :)
             In a nutshell, most “cool weather crops” both grow better in the cooler weather and also have a short grow time. This makes these veggies ideal for areas that are mild year round or have all four seasons (aka a cool fall) so that they still have plenty of time to grow before winter. Many of these veggies, my husband tells me, will actually not do all that well if it gets too hot, hence being perfect spring and autumn crops. For example, beets will get woody and hard and radishes can rot in the ground during the summer!
             So, what did we decide to plant for our first fall garden? We have beets, two kinds of radishes, two or three types of lettuce, romaine, spinach, and garlic (which I'm told won't actually be ready until next spring, I believe). I feel like I'm forgetting some too. We just planted everything on August 25th and as of yesterday (the 30th) we already had romaine, both types of radishes, and beets sprouting!


             To be honest, I didn't even look to see when the ideal time was to plant any of that in our climate region, but John did make sure everything had a fast grow time (some of it only takes about a month from planting to harvest!) or was meant to be planted in the fall. What I'm trying to say is that everything should be “good to grow”. I worked really hard getting the garden ready, so by God I was going to plant stuff asap!


             Now, on to the bragging I promised in the last homesteading post. ;) As I've mentioned, we did all of this without a tiller or any machinery. We initially plotted out the garden with grass clippings. There was a ton of it at first, so the idea was that it would help kill off the grass underneath to help make digging it up easier eventually.
             When we were ready to dig, I raked all the grass aside and John dug everything with a shovel. O.o Believe it or not, it actually went a lot quicker than you would think! Still, better him than me. ;) After the digging was done, I put some of the grass clippings back over top, but not nearly as much as before. Then, long story short, over the next week or so, I kept messing with the grass and the dirt until I decided I didn't feel like fooling with the leftover clumps of sod. So, off came all the dead grass again and I beat as much dirt I could off of the grass clods and raked them out.
             After all that nonsense, I moved all of the “sod clods” and grass clippings over to the other half of the garden that we didn't dig up yet. I evidently didn't get it covered as well, so it could use some more of the grass killed off first anyways. Then I took the metal rake again and tried to even out the dug up half as best as I could. So, it may not look like much, but a lot of work went into getting this little plot ready! Especially from a pregnant woman! ;)
             Are any of you planting a fall garden? What do you look most forward to growing?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Toddler Discovery Time: Starting Homeschool...Kind Of

             Hey folks! Now that we are settled into our new place, Myka and I have started up our “school” stuff again. We are getting a little more...I don't want to say “serious”, but “involved”, perhaps, this year. I'm hoping this will help us get into the swing of things and get a routine somewhat established before baby sister gets here in January. I'm also using this “school year” as a trial run to get myself better organized and see what works and doesn't for Myka. When we start homeschooling for real, I think I'm more worried about me staying organized than anything. :/ Is that normal?
             This year we are continuing our alphabet learning with crafts, coloring, and do-a-dot pages. Since Myka was only two, we were pretty lax about the whole thing. It was more something fun for us to do than “learn this now!” We are on letter “K” this week, if that tells you anything. Lol But, she does recognize some letters, mostly the ones near the beginning of the alphabet, so it's nice to know some of our activities are sinking in.


             Right now this is our art/learning table, which is why there are paintings and crayons here too. Someone brought watercolor paints to a park playdate we went to recently, so that is Myka's new obsession. (Not that I'm complaining. I'd have to disown her if she didn't like arts and crafts.) Anyways, we're pretty much done with all of our letter “K” projects, other than finishing the coloring page, which probably won't happen. Sometimes she goes to town on coloring pages, other times she'll do a few quick scribbles and say she's done. Ah, toddlers.


             For letter “K” we had the usual coloring and do-a-dot pages. Myka loves masks, so I was excited when I also came across this (somewhat frightening) color-it-yourself kangaroo mask. As you can see in the first picture, I tried to incorporate colors and numbers in the key banner thing, but honestly, she's pretty good with her colors already and numbers...Well, we need to work on those. She knows 1-10 for the most part...just not in the right order. Lol It'll click eventually, so I'm told, so I'm not too worried about it. Last, but not least, she really enjoyed making the kite. Can you tell she's proud of it? Ha ha
             We are also incorporating the preschool curriculum we had a giveaway for on here a few months ago. It's all about nature and hands-on activities, so it's right up our alley! I can't give too much away about it because I don't want to get in trouble, but you can find out more about it and purchase it yourself if you like HERE. If you scroll down far enough, you can get a free sample theme to check out first too!
             Anyways, the curriculum inspired our little seed picture that's really a do-a-dot page above and got us motivated to plant our herbs indoors as well. (below) We just planted them a week ago and already have sage sprouting! I thought there would have been more since our outdoor garden is taking off like a rocket, buuuuttt....I'm hoping I just needed to move the pots to a sunnier area (which I did) and that the seeds didn't just get drowned out by a certain someone. :/


             Next week we should be wrapping up our garden theme and possibly starting a new one. I have no clue which one I want to do next. I'm really trying to hold off on the fall stuff until it's actually fall later this month and apples until it's closer to Myka's birthday in October as we are planning on going to an orchard to celebrate. What are your kids learning at school (whether it be outside of the home or in) right now?
             Stay tuned for my next homeschooling post about schedule/routine struggles!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall Fluff Giveaway

Fall Fluff Giveaway 

The Parenting Patch is excited to announce the fourth annual Fall Fluff Giveaway! 

            James and Heather, a husband and wife team, launched The Parenting Patch: Where Parents Grow on September 15, 2011. In honor and celebration of the fourth anniversary of the blog and website, The Parenting Patch is hosting a fabulous giveaway event in which one lucky winner will receive one fabulous fluffy prize pack.  
Smart Bottoms Available in bold colors and fun prints, the Smart Bottoms Smart One all-in-one one-size organic diaper fits most babies between 8 and 35 pounds. The diaper offers a trim fit with plenty of absorbency from ten layers of organic cotton. The attached insert folds to meet the absorbency needs of any baby, and the design allows for faster drying time. For more information, check out the Smart Bottoms Smart One 3.0 and 3.1 All-in-One Cloth Diaper Comparison Review from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive one (1) Smart Bottoms Smart One 3.1 all-in-one cloth diaper ($29), one (1) large Smart Bag wet bag ($18), and one (1) two-pack of hemp inserts ($12). (Retail value $59)  
Buttons Diapers Buttons Diapers is a quality, affordable, and adorable all-in-two diaper with two sizes of snap-in inserts. Recommended for babies between 9 and 35 pounds, the one-size diaper covers consist of two layers of soft wipeable PUL with double leg gussets. For more information, check out the Buttons Diapers Review from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive three (3) Buttons Diapers diaper covers ($33), three (3) Stay Dry daytime inserts ($10.50), and one (1) package of cloth wipes ($7). (Retail value $50.50)  
ecoAble Founded in 2013, ecoAble strives to help parents with the cloth diapering adventure, bringing back the joy, enjoyment, and emotion to cloth diapering experience. The company believes that childhood is a celebration, and the colorful cloth diaper prints and cute characters are inspired by the joy and love children bring into our lives. ecoAble celebrate childhood by supporting babies and families with thoughtful designs, quality materials and construction, and convenient shopping options. For more information, check out the ecoAble reviews from The Parenting Patch. One lucky winner will receive one (1) charcoal bamboo all-in-one cloth diaper ($15.99), one (1) bamboo all-in-one cloth diaper ($15.99), one (1) all-in-two cloth diaper ($16.50), two (2) charcoal bamboo inserts ($9.33), and one (1) snap-in charcoal bamboo insert ($3.95). (Retail value $61.76)  
Cloth Wipes Heather at The Parenting Patch recently started making her own cloth wipes using upcycled flannel baby blankets. One lucky winner will receive thirty (30) handmade cloth wipes in assorted prints and multicolored thread edging. (Retail value $30)

 One lucky reader of The Parenting Patch and the other participating blogs will win one (1) cloth diaper prize pack valued at $201.26 that includes the following amazing prizes:
  • One (1) Smart Bottoms Smart One 3.1 all-in-one cloth diaper ($29)
  • One (1) large Smart Bag wet bag ($18)
  • One (1) two-pack of hemp inserts from Smart Bottoms ($12)
  • Three (3) Buttons Diapers diaper covers ($33)
  • Three (3) Buttons Diapers Stay Dry daytime inserts ($10.50)
  • One (1) package of cloth wipes from Buttons Diapers ($7)
  • One (1) ecoAble charcoal bamboo all-in-one cloth diaper ($15.99)
  • One (1) ecoAble bamboo all-in-one cloth diaper ($15.99)
  • One (1) ecoAble all-in-two cloth diaper ($16.50)
Two (2) charcoal bamboo inserts from ecoAble ($9.33) One (1) snap-in charcoal bamboo insert from ecoAble ($3.95) Thirty (30) handmade upcycled cloth wipes in assorted from The Parenting Patch ($30) To enter for your chance to win the Fall Fluff Giveaway, simply use the following entry form. And please offer a huge thanks to the sponsors and participating blogs of the Fall Fluff Giveaway! Good luck!

  The Fall Fluff Giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States of America. Void where prohibited. Giveaway is not affiliated or associated with Facebook or any other social media platform. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on September 30, 2015. One winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be sent an email and will have forty-eight hours to respond. If no response is received within forty-eight hours, another winner will be chosen. Mixed Bag Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment.