Monday, February 24, 2014

Ditch the Disposables with GlassDharma Straws (Review with Giveaway, Ends 03/11/14, Worldwide)

Disclosure: We received four free glass straws and two free straw brushes in exchange for our honest opinion about them.

 
 
We have dramatically decreased the amount of disposable items used in our home over the last several years. We have used cloth diapers, currently use cloth wipes/family cloth, washcloths instead of napkins/paper towels, real dishes/silverware instead of disposable varieties, mama cloth/menstrual cup,  etc. The list goes on. We have been working towards not having any disposable items in our home - for two main reasons.
1. It's better for the environment.
2. It's better for our wallet. Yes, initially the upfront cost is more, but in the end, we save money.
 
 
Straws. They are not necessarily something that you think about when you think about disposable items. I have found that I drink so much more fluid if I have a straw in my glass. I am more likely to refill my glass and refill it sooner if I am drinking with a straw. Yes, you can get a large pack of plastic straws at the dollar store. You are also ingesting BPA and who knows what other chemicals with whatever you are drinking through the straw, too. Plus, there's a reason why places like Sea World don't allow the usage of disposable straws- they are dangerous to animals. Imagine how many animals choke on disposable straws after rummaging in trash! I am very glad to have added glass straws to my list of reusable items.
 
 
 
GlassDharma Straws come in several sizes and widths. There is a straw for every use!   

 
 
If you look closely, you can see in the picture above that the first two straws are wider/thicker, the third straw is not as thick/wide as those, but yet not as narrow as the fourth straw. You can purchase the glass straws separately or in sets. GlassDharma also sells carrying cases to use your glass straws on the go.
 
 
 
 
GlassDharma also sells straw brushes to clean the glass straws. Notice that there is a thicker brush and a narrow brush.While the brushes are sold separately from the straws, in an effort to be even more environmentally friendly, GlassDharma will usually ship their brushes in the same packaging as their straws to save on packaging usage.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I especially liked that small narrow straw. It has decorative dots on it and is perfect for drinking sweet tea.

 
The angled straw works better in taller glasses.

 
I found out the hard way that kefir is slightly too thick for the narrow straw! :)

 
The thickest/widest straw is best for smoothies or iced drinks.
 

 
 
Accidents happen, right? Brandon was unloading the dishwasher and accidentally dropped a straw into our hardwood floor. Luckily, GlassDharma has a Hassle-Free Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage. Our new straw arrived very quickly! You do have to pay a modest shipping fee.
 
 
I LOVE that they are handmade in the USA!! They are also dishwasher and microwave safe.  
 
 Looking to jump right in and join the No More Disposable Straws Club? Use this 10% off coupon code - BSF (fundraiser for BeStrawFree.org).
 
Learn details about how to get a FREE Glass Straw for Earth Day 2014!  GlassDharma is giving away 1,000 glass straws! Sign up here --> http://www.glassdharma.com/ccMain.htm
 
 
Connect with GlassDharma-
 
GlassDharma has generously offered a giveaway for a $25 gift code!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Missy Mila: Twisted Tales DVD by Organa Kids (Review with Giveaway, Ends 03/08/14, US Only)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.                                     


Daniella fell in love with Missy Mila from the moment she was first in our DVD player. She loves to giggle and snicker at the silly tales that Missy Mila comes up with. Daniella thinks that Missy Mila rocks because she has three ponytails. We have shared our Missy Mila DVD with several other children of ages between 2 and 10, plus Brandon, who is almost 12. Every single child who has seen this DVD has loved Missy Mila just as much as Daniella does!


 
 
"Mila is an 8-year-old quirky, energetic tomboy who loves to tell you traditional story-tales but with her own twist. Kids will be inspired to use their imagination and to become storytellers themselves. Audience participation is triggered by Mila's direct-to-camera asides all along the episode; her questions and games bring kids right into the story. Join Mila, laugh at the zany dialogs and fresh art in this innovative series which explores the world of classic tales."

 
 
        "Traditional tales are timeless stories that everyone loves to delve back into, generation after generation. Far from old-fashioned clichés, the series “Missy Mila: Twisted Tales” revamps this cultural heritage through the imagination and spontaneity of a present-day little girl. Mila’s stories are peppered with spicy anachronisms and offbeat re-interpretations. So, don’t act surprised if you see a prince applying hair gel before setting out to rescue a princess, unless the latter is a kung-fu champion, that is! As for the dreadful Minotaur, Mila prefers to picture him as the Toupouloupou, a sweetie pie with a sweet tooth. And why do the wolves always have to be depicted as the bad guys? And, in her very personal adaptation of the Three Little Pigs, Mila swaps the awfully shy big bad wolf for an affable bull that… rocks!"

 
Missy Mila: Twisted Tales Volume 1 includes the following episodes:
The Hidden Princess
The Toupouloupou
Baba Yaga the Witch
Djoha’s Last Lie
Piboule and the Bear
Strabiwolf the Telltale
The Donkey and the King
The Houses of the Pig Brothers
Elvis
Captain Bloody-Nose the Pirate
The Leprechaun’s Treasure
Aurel the Mocker
Pancho Pimento’s Riddle

 
 
Here's some pictures of some of the crazy characters in the stories.
 

 
Meet Missy Mila! She is one quirky kid. Depending on her mood, you might see her ponytails quiver if she's scared or if she's sad, they droop down. They also become question marks if she's asking you a question.  
 
I like that the DVD is teaching Daniella basics of nursery rhymes, but with a twist to make them silly and giggle worthy. Mila also adds bit to the story (such as having a prince apply hair gel) to make the stories relatable.
 
I like that the DVD is 101 minutes, but broken down into episodes. This makes it so that if we don't have time to watch the entire DVD, Daniella can select a few episodes to watch which easily appeases her.
 
Brandon's favorite episode was Piboule and the Bear because the poor boy is always happy despite being picked on by the hunters and only having onions to eat.
 
 
 
 
There's also a Volume 2 that Daniella would love! 

 
This DVD includes the following episodes:
 
Toadette the Frog
Prince Gabo
Miss Lazy
Bigmess the Ogress
The Mermaid’s Secret
The Ghost Who Couldn’t Scare
Quentin and his Dragon
Tounde the Ginormous Elephant
Rodolphe and Carlo
Chantal and Noemie
Greedy Liza
Tinytiny
The Two Tinanooks
 
These DVDs sell for $19.95 each on Organa Kids' website. They offer free Shipping on ALL orders above $50!
 
 
Enter to win a DVD from Organa Kids
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Celebrate Black History Month with Little Passports

Disclosure: **The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.**





I know that I have shared with you many reasons why our family loves Little Passports. Here's another great way to learn with this fantastic monthly subscription! Little Passports is all about empowering your little family members to know everything they can about our world and the incredible culture engrained into every generation. There are so many cultural learning opportunities!  

Little Passports Black History Month
February is Black History Month, an opportunity to talk with children about race and civil rights, as well as the heritage, accomplishments, and culture of African Americans. Join
Sam and Sofia as they explore these 3 ways to celebrate and learn!

1. Read a Book




Spark a conversation by reading children’s books that highlight our nation’s African American heroes and their achievements. Here are a few inspiring selections:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., By Doreen Rappaport
An introduction to Dr. King’s life and message, this picture book pairs age-appropriate educational material with beautiful images.

The Story of Ruby Bridges, By Robert Coles
The inspiring story of a courageous 6-year old girl who helped shape US history by being the first African American child to go to an all-white school.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, By Kadir Nelson
This gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of the African American baseball league and the challenges they overcame to pursue their passion.





2. Play a Game




Sam and Sofia learned to play Mancala, a counting game that originated in Africa and is now popular all over the world!
DIY Activity: It’s easy to make your own Mancala board! Simply get an empty egg carton with 12 small “pits,” trim off the sides, and decorate it with markers or paint. Get two containers (such as bowls) and place one at each end of the egg carton as the “banks,” where players collect their winnings. For the “stones,” you can use small items, such as marbles, beans, or even candy! For detailed rules on how to play, click here:
How to Play Mancala



3. Take a Trip
Visit a landmark, attraction, or museum, celebrating black history. An interactive and engaging field trip is a great way to capture a child’s interest! Here are some ideas:
• Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial (Washington, D.C.)
• Booker T. Washington National Monument (Franklin County, Virginia)
• Tuskegee Airmen National Museum (Detroit, MI)
• Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience (Permanent exhibition at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY)

For more hands-on activities celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., check out the Little Passports Pinterest board


 

Make Your Room More Colorful With Katazoom (Review with Giveaway, Ends 03/08/14, US Only)

Disclosure: We received a free fairy vinyl wall decal in exchange for our honest opinion about it.


 
 
 
 
 
Daniella has a butterfly/fairy garden theme in her room.
 
 
She has a beautiful fairy picture hanging over her bed.
 
 

 
 
She has potted flowers and a butterfly and ladybug wooden jewelry box.

 
 
There are various butterfly vinyls hanging around her room.

 
She even as ladybug wooden hangers.
 
 
 
 But there was one wall that seemed to be missing something....
 
 
I was so excited when I found a huge vinyl decal of a fairy on www.katazoom.com. Not only was it the perfect size for this space on her wall, but there were many vinyl colors to choose from. I had a hard time selecting which vinyl color would go best against her wall color. Michael said to get the violet (Violet 040). He made a great choice!!
 
 


Doesn't the vinyl color really pop off of the wall? I think it looks great. And the size was just right. (This is the 21.5" x 34" size, the largest this particular vinyl comes in.) The vinyl wall art came with a set of detailed instructions.


Katazoom's website was very easy to navigate. I was easily able to shop by room, know what size and color each vinyl came in, and there's even a section where you can do custom orders! Plus, my order arrived very quickly.



While the end result does look pretty nice from afar...the process of getting there was not very easy for me...

 
Here it is hanging up ready to begin rubbing it down to help it stick to the wall.

 
 
Closer shot of it ready to rub down.

 
The rub down took a lot longer than I thought it would.
 

 
 
I kept having to rub down more and more at each section before peeling at that area even after doing a major rub down all over the vinyl initially before starting to peel.

 
Then I started hitting snags where it began to bunch up and peel.
 
 
After lots of extra rubbing, the paper covering the vinyl began tearing.


 

 
 
The paper tore in two places.

 
 
Other areas ended up bubbling and forming a small crease when I attempted to smooth the bubbles.




 
If you look closely in the crook of the elbow, you can even see a small tear in the vinyl.

 
 
Overall, it took me about an hour of careful application. Overall, I am mostly pleased with how it looks, especially from a few feet away. But *I* know the creases and bubbles are there so every time I go in her room, I feel the urge to try to smooth them out. Some of them do look a little better as time as passed.
 

 
 
I love the large size and the color in perfect for her room.

 
 
As you an see, it certainly looks adorable!
 

 
It complements the rest of the décor in her room nicely.
 
 
I can't say that I dislike it because that's simply not true. Perhaps a smaller size would have been easier to hang, though it wouldn't have filled the wall space as nicely. I do hope that you have an easier time than I did with the application process. 
 
Daniella loves that her fairy "helps" turn her lights on and off with her wand. Her imagination and her love of the fairy count a great deal to me! 

 
Here's some things that Katazoom wants you to know:
 
For a limited time, when you sign up for our email newsletter, you'll receive a $5 off coupon.
  • We currently offer free shipping on all U.S. shipments. 
  • For questions, comments, etc., please contact email Katazoom at sales@katazoom.com
  • Most vinyl wall decals are available in a variety of colors. You can see all of the colors on our color chart
  • Each vinyl wall decal comes with easy to read installation instructions. 
  • All vinyl wall decals can be applied to any smooth or flat surface. 
  • All vinyl wall decals can be easily removed, without damaging the wall or surface it was stuck to. 
  • Once you remove a vinyl wall decal it cannot be reapplied. 
  • You have the option of building a custom wall quote

  • We’re also running a monthly Facebook contest! Upload a photo of your wall decal for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Katazoom.com!
    Here’s a link to the giveaway: http://on.fb.me/19VjOgv.



    Connect with Katazoom-
     
    Enter to win from Katazoom-
     
    The giveaway will be for a $30 coupon code to Katazoom.com and it open to U.S. residents only. 
     
     
     
     
     
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    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Treat Illness and Injuries Naturally with Hyland's Homeopathy (Review with Giveaway, Ends 03/05/14, US Only)

    Disclosure: We received free products in exchange for our honest opinion about them.






    We rarely use over the counter, let alone prescription medicine. We by far prefer to use natural remedies. We want our children's and our bodies to function as closely to how God intended, with the occasional help from natural sources made by God that can be found in Nature. This is why we love the remedies from Hyland's Homeopathy.


     
     
    This is the awesome package of goodies that Hyland's Homeopathy sent us to try out. This includes:
     
    Cough Syrup for Kids:


    Migraines:


    Arnica


    Bumps n Bruises

     

     
     
    The migraine tablets are incredible. Since the tablets are dissolvable, it's really easy to shake a couple of them into the lid and tip them from the lid directly into my mouth as needed. I was once told by a wise woman that you should never touch homeopathic tablets with your fingers because with Homeopathy, the remedy is on the outside of the tablet. Touching it transfers some of the dosage to your fingers. By not touching it, you benefit the most from a full dosage. 
     

     
    All of the various tablets are about the same size. The migraine tablets wipe out a headache in about 20-30 minutes for me!
     
     
     
     
    My husband has used the arnica a few times after coming home from work with sore feet. He says that the arnica helps a great deal and he loves how quickly he feels a difference.
     
     
     
     
    See this big old goose egg? Daniella was racing through the house the other night and misjudged her turn into the hallway. She ran full stream into the corner of a wall, taking out drywall she hit so hard!!! Poor girl. This picture was taken as soon as she calmed down. It bruised and swelled almost instantly. Giving her a few of the Bumps and Bruises tablets really helped her feel better fast. I have never known a kid who loves to take remedies as much as this one does. Plus, making a paste by adding some water to the tablets and rubbing it on her head brought the swelling down, too.

     

     
    The Cough Syrup has been great to have on hand throughout the winter cold season. Both of the kids have taken turns requesting some, especially before bed if they have coughed some throughout the day.
     
     
    We have found all of these remedies to be effective for our minor medicinal needs.
     
    "There's so much to say about Hyland's.
    Most of it centers around you.
    Our work, our research, and the development of our products -- they are all informed by your needs and feedback. So when it comes to telling you about us, it’s really telling the story of our magnificent family – which includes the great people we serve. So we’d like to start this ‘about’ section by thanking you for defining who we are.
    Hyland’s is celebrating over a century-long commitment to making safe and natural homeopathic medicines. During all these years, we’re never lost touch with the reasons why our founders started this company – beginning with the pharmacist and visionary George Hyland back in 1903. We have always been driven by the simple scientific proof of how the body can call upon its own natural defenses to heal and restore balance. This is the basis of homeopathic medicine. So even during times when cultural and political factors have pushed homeopathic medicine from the mainstream, Hyland’s has solidly stood its ground with integrity and wisdom, knowing that as sure as the sun rises each day, our medicines are effective, virtually free of side effects and able to be taken by nearly anyone at any time, from infants to the elderly.
    Today, as countless conventional medicines developed by others prove to produce complicated or even harmful side effects, the need for natural homeopathic medicines that work without side effects is increasing. Hyland’s stands as a leader in innovations that answer to the changing health needs of our modern world. From master athletes who use our Arnica Gel on their 3000 mile adventures, to toddlers who can’t yet walk but have the capacity to send their parents running to fetch our Teething Tablets  – Hyland’s medicines share the milestones of people’s lives. We’re there when legs are needing a rest, when aching ears need drops, when noses need unclogging, and when little bugs in the hair become big problems for everyone. Hyland’s is for all ages at all times. It’s an honor to play a role in your lives and we’re grateful for your trust and interest in who we are."


    Save money on Hyland's Homeopathy by using these printable coupons!


    Hyland's Homeopathy wants you to know that they will be launching a really cool promotion to celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day on Feb 28! So stay tuned and check out the Facebook page when it launches!!!



    Stay connected with Hyland's Homeopathy-

    Website- http://www.hylands.com/

    Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/HylandsTeething



    Hyland's Homeopathy is generously offering a giveaway for the same items that I just reviewed! You can enter to win this goodie package below!





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