Friday, July 25, 2014

Shape Up With Balance Bars This Summer

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I received a Walmart gift card and additional product as part of a sponsored collaboration with Balance Bar. Opinions expressed are my own.

Over the last year I have made a slow switch to a healthier lifestyle. For me that meant just being more aware of the food I was eating and going to the gym a few times a week. Some weeks are better than others but this is a lifestyle change for the long haul and not a "quick fix." One of my weaknesses is snacking while on the go. I am either taking my oldest daughter to gymnastics or diving or taking my youngest to play dates and I pack snacks for the kids but I always forget a snack for myself. This will no longer do! Instead I was off to Walmart to check out Balance Bars for some healthier on the go snacking.

They were easy to spot in the health and beauty area. Since I am home all summer with my two girls my 5 year old more times than not wants to work out with me. Whenever I do yoga at home she will get down on the floor next to me and copy my positions. She will be extremely excited because I also picked her up her very own yoga mat and yoga block. A healthy lifestyle works best when the whole family does it together.

Balance Bars use the 40-30-30 nutritional principle. That means that 40% calories from carbs, 30% calories from protein and 30% calories from dietary fat. It promotes slow glycemic response, supports muscle recovery, and helps satisfy your hunger with steady, sustained energy.

I always get really hungry after working out at the gym and especially so after I have been swimming laps in the pool. These bars are the perfect blend of nutrition to fill me up without dragging me down with a lot of sugar. They are incredibly moist and the flavors peanut butter and cookie dough taste more like candy bars than nutritional bars. I always keep these in my gym bag because I never know when my hunger will hit me.

Balance Bar is currently running a Summer Shape Up Challenge - which is a 40 Day Challenge filled with 30-minute workouts, healthy eating tips, and lots of giveaways on their social media networks. Check it out! I am always looking for tips to help me out! I love their tip on drinking more "fun" water since plain water can get pretty boring for me when I am drinking it all day long.

They also have a Twitter party coming up on 7/31 at 3pm ET to chat about healthy eating and working out this summer. I will definitely be there so come join me as we learn a thing or two about eating healthy. You will also see that there are so many other moms out there just like us! We are not alone! There is still plenty of time to shape up for the rest of the summer.

Connect: You can connect with Balance Bars on Facebook and/or @BalanceBar on Twitter.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School with Pediped + Giveaway

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I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.

My Nugget starts school in a few weeks and I am so excited to take him shopping for supplies, clothes, and shoes. Good shoes for school are really important to me because he is very rough and tumble and plays hard. I want to make sure his feet are protected both in and out of the classroom and that he is comfortable too. Thankfully with pediped shoes, I know he'll not only be comfortable, but stylish too.

My Nugget was so excited to see his new Flex Orion shoes from pediped. He told me they were "so cool" and he wanted to show them to his best friend. The first thing I noticed about them is how well made they are. I know these will hold up to him running and playing. Since pediped sizing can run a little large (each size is large enough for the the half size, for example size 26 is for size 9 & 9.5 feet), they include inserts to put into the shoes to help alleviate the space if the shoe is still a little large. I really like all of the features of the Flex system within this shoe.
pediped Flex® is the big step in the pediped footwear system and the ultimate shoe for confident walkers who have developed a solid, natural stride. Flex® combine everything you could want in a rubber soled shoe: high quality materials, soft and flexible soles, and adorable styles. 
Each pair uses advanced technology to maximize the flexibility and absorb shock in the heel. The uniquely engineered density of the rubber soles ensures they flex to their maximum capacity. 
Most Flex® styles include the Flex Fit System, which provides a customizable fit with the use of additional insoles. These can be inserted for a snugger fit at the beginning and then removed as the foot grows. The Flex Fit System can extend the life of a pair of shoes up to two months! 
pediped Flex® are the perfect, stylish choice for all-day wear and non-stop comfort.

pediped not only makes amazing shoes, but they give back to the community as well. The pediped schools initiative gives 10% of attributed pediped purchases to over 200 schools across the country - totaling $13,000 back this year. To check if your school is a member, simply search on their site, find your school, and proceed as usual to shop.
pediped® ♥ schools is a one-of-a-kind giving campaign where participating education partners receive a check for 10% of their total combined purchases of pediped® each year. Individual schools can earn up to $10,000 per year. pediped® is thrilled with the success of the program to date which receives positive feedback as it also brings awareness to the importance of helping schools get the things they need.  
pediped® ♥ schools is currently accepting enrollment for the upcoming year. School officials and leaders of the PTO or PTA are encouraged to enroll their community’s school along with parents and teachers. Upon enrollment, each school receives a unique code and those who purchase pediped® footwear should enter the code at checkout when shopping online at or in any pediped owned boutique located in Las Vegas. pediped® tracks the purchases registered to each school’s code to determine the amount of dollars earned. Purchases will be tracked now until May 15, 2015 and schools will receive checks for 10% back in June 2015.  
Giving back has and always will be a core value of pediped®. Since its founding in 2005, pediped® has been dedicated to bettering communities and enriching the lives of children. In 2010, the pediped® Foundation was established and since its inception has donated $2.75 million in product and monetary support to charities around the world that are devoted to the health, education, and basic needs of children. pediped® schools is yet another commitment of the company’s continuing philanthropic efforts.
pediped is a one of a kind company with amazing footwear. Whether you have an infant or child just learning to walk in the pediped Originals, an active toddler transitioning from walking to a confident stride in the pediped Grip n Go, or a confident walker in the pediped Flex, there are shoes to meet every need of your child. 

pediped footwear is sold in over 2,500 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 140 designs for boys and girls between their three lines. Their award winning footwear is available in EU sizes 17 to 36 (US newborn to 4.5 Youth). With stylish options and up-to-date technology within each shoe to ensure healthy food development, you can find no better shoe than a pediped.

Thanks for reading about our latest Summer pick for the season! We have all sorts of great things lined up to share and even some chances for you to enter to win some pretty fantastic prizes! You won't want to miss any of the exciting must have summer items we'll be sharing, so make sure to follow or subscribe to our updates and check back daily so you can see all of our latest finds.

Connect: You can connect with Pediped on their websiteFacebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and/or @PedipedFootwear on Twitter

Don't Miss this Fantastic Summer Giveaway! How would you like to win your own pair of Pediped shoes? I have one to give away to one lucky contestant! To enter the giveaway please follow all of the directions below! If you don't follow the rules, you can't win!

Nenuco's New Dolls are Perfect Nurturing Dolls for Little Girls

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I received a sample for this review/feature. Opinions expressed are my own.

When my oldest was a big sister to-be she definitely had no idea what was in store for her. To get one ready for the position of big sis it all starts with imaginative play by caring for a favorite doll. Nenuco, one of Europe's most prestigious doll makers, has crafted a line of soft-body baby dolls so that young children everywhere can practice feeding, bathing, dressing and all-around nurturing in preparation for when mommy brings home a new sibling. With a Nenuco doll they will be prepared to be the best big sibling they can be. 

The Nenuco comes from parent company Famosa, a Spanish toy company that has crafted high-quality dolls with engaging & unique features for the past 50 years. New this summer is My Little Nenuco which features that sweet new baby smell and My First Nenuco Kisses will give you a sweet peck when you bring this baby doll close to your face. Plus a new Nenuco & Her Little Sister set feature adorable matching jumper outfits. You can also get a wide array of accessories to continue the play all day long. They have everything from onesies and pacifiers to pajamas and footsies.

My Little Nenuco is for ages 1+ and at $12.99 it is super affordable yet still high quality. At 14" long it feels like a newborn to little girls and the wonderful baby smell is so incredibly sweet! My oldest has already claimed this doll as her own and named her Peaches. She goes with her everywhere and gets tucked in for nap time and fed in the play kitchen during meals. I really like that the pacifier is attached because this way it will never get lost!

My First Nenuco Kisses is for ages 2+ and is $19.99. She gives you sweet baby kisses when you bring her close to your face. She measures in at 16.5" long and comes dressed in a cute little outfit that can be taken off for all those multiple clothing changes that little girls need. In our house this one has been named Sweetie.

These dolls are exactly what I look for when picking out dolls for my girls. The soft bodies make them cuddly, the baby smell makes them more real and they are the perfect size for little kids. I only wish I had these back when my oldest was to become a big sister as I know it would have helped her understand a little better about what was to come. These two little sisters have happily joined our family and go with us everywhere. My little girls are obsessed with dolls and these ones are now some of their favorites. Their adorable doll faces and little fingers are just too cute!

Connect: You can connect with Nenuco on Facebook, YouTube and/or @nenucoUSA on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Perfectly Popped Popcorn Everytime with the Perfect Pop App

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Thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today's discussion on the Perfect Pop App. Opinions expressed are my own.

Burned popcorn is the worst and I can't tell you how many times I've had to deal with it - especially now that my kids are old enough to make the popcorn. But the thing is, they like to make the popcorn and I'm all for letting them help out. Luckily, Pop Secret Popcorn just launched the Perfect Pop app for iPhone, which is totally free through the app store!

Using the Perfect Pop App is easy. Just put a bag of Pop Secret Popcorn into the microwave and follow the timing directions on the bag. Turn the volume up on your iPhone and turn the speaker towards the microwave, making sure it's within 3 feet of your microwave. Start the microwave, then start the app. The app listens to the pops while the popcorn is cooking, waiting for the perfect moment when your popcorn is ready. With the help of the Perfect Pop app, you should never have to suffer through burned popcorn again.

It was miserably hot here yesterday, so we stayed inside keeping cool with the air conditioning. Of course, that meant the kids were bored, so I thought we'd do a movie day, just the 3 of us. We grabbed some Pop Secret Popcorn, the kids popped it (with the help of the Perfect Pop app) and we lounged around watching movies for a few hours.

I like to get creative, so I thought I'd make a fun popcorn recipe so that we had an assortment of flavors for our movie time snack. We served Homestyle, Movie Theater Butter and my homemade Chocolate Caramel Crunch Popcorn (recipe to come next week).

With the help of the Perfect Pop app, we were able to enjoy perfectly popped popcorn and a nice family movie day. The kids asked if we could do it again soon, so we decided to do a movie day once a week for the rest of the summer.

What's your favorite Pop Secret Popcorn variety?