Finding Our Way To A Healthier Life

It all began when I had our first child.  I became hyper aware of everything that was in our house and whether it was safe, or best, for our health.  Was the detergent I use safe for my child’s skin?  Did I provide enough healthy foods to help with brain development?  (Hers and ours ;-> )  I second guessed what had become my “normal” and began to research all things that were being brought into our home.  First time parent anxiety?  Yes.  But that’s all right, I found out how to make our life healthier.
I started with the air we breathe within our four walls.  I checked out extensive air purifier reviews and was happy with the amount of information available on-line.  I love how you can see honest opinions on whether an appliance worked well, or if it failed.  Some people get so excited with their reviews.
Next on my list was looking into juicers.  I felt this was a great way to make sure my child was eating the fruits and vegetables necessary for healthy brain and muscle development along with a very easy way to help my husband and I get on track with our diet or, as I like to call it a ‘healthier eating plan’.  I have family members that use juicers and they rave about the health benefits.  I knew we needed to get on track and add this appliance in our kitchen.
We have a sweet tooth, and I thought a positive alternative to candy would be to get a food dehydrator and start making our own banana chips, dried apricots, and apple chips.  This is a much easier way to carry fruit to playground play dates and not worry about your child turning down the apple because it looks a little brown.  I learned quickly about how picky kids can be and if I dehydrated the fruit this was one battle I didn’t have to have.  Every little bit helps.

Bloggers Sign Up For Free Event – New iPad Giveaway

The New iPad Giveaway Event is a free blogger event. You will receive one link at no cost as a thank you for participating in this event.

Free Link options are: Email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Prize: The New iPad ~ iPad3 16GB (value $499) 

Open to: Worldwide (note – non-US residents will receive the cash equivalent)

The event dates: July 1 at 12:01 am to July 15 11:59am

What is required to join? 

  • Post about the event with the button above linking back to this post. Feel free to copy paste this (below) along with the button.
Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom is proud to present The New iPad Giveaway Event, sponsored by BeeSavyEvent dates: July 1 to July 15.
Details: This is a free blogger event, open worldwide, accepting sign ups now. Join The New iPad Giveaway event with special co-host voiceBoks today!
  • If you do not wish to post the announcement, send $5 via Paypal to with your email address and BeeSavy Event in subject line or notes portion of the form.
  • Once you have posted your announcement, or sent Paypal payment, fill out this form.
  • You will receive an email from Teri within 7 days, confirming your participation. If you do not, please email Teri at and she will check into it for you.
  • Then around June 28th you will receive another email from Teri with the HTML code for publishing the giveaway.  Note:  It is required that you publish the giveaway HTML in full to be included in this event. Teri will verify links on July 1st around 8am Central.  If you have not published the giveaway opportunity your link on Rafflecopter will be removed. This will keep this event fair for all who join.

Referral prize: The top referrer will receive a $50 Paypal or Amazon credit for their effort. The top 2 runners-up will receive a $10 Paypal or Amazon credit. Just make sure to add to your announcement that they should include your blog name or blog URL in the “Referred By” section on the sign up form. This bonus will be paid on June 2nd after your referral links have been verified.

If you have any questions please e-mail Teri at .  

Carapelli Olive Oil – Review and Special Offer

With my healthier eating plan I’ve reduced some food items from my cooking arsenal. Butter is an item that I’ve cut down on big time and in it’s place I’ve found it very easy to use olive oil. Carapelli Olive Oil has many offerings in its product line. I’ve found Carapelli to be light, with a slight flavor that doesn’t take over your foods own taste. It blends nicely while cooking fish, chicken and eggs.

There are flavored oils that taste wonderful when tossed with pasta or used with vegetables, cooked or not. Butter does have its place but I’ve found using Carapelli Olive Oil is not only a healthier alternative but it adds to the flavor of the food, not overwhelm and become a “buttery” dish. You will find a very helpful conversion chart – from butter to olive oil – at . Also, you can download a dollar off coupon at the site as well. Nice!

Try Carapelli Olive Oil for yourself. Here’s a delicious recipe to get you started:

Grilled Halibut with Fennel and Orange
Get rave reviews by teaming moist, flaky halibut with spring-fresh fennel and orange. Save the unused fennel stalks or leaves to add flavor to soups. You can also wet the fronds and stalks and throw them on the grill in place of wood chips.
2 blood oranges or Valencia or Cara Cara oranges
3 tablespoons Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 (4 ounce) skinless halibut or haddock fish fillets
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup very thinly sliced small fennel bulb
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
Cooking directions:
Heat a grill to medium-high heat or have a ridged grill pan ready. Cut 1 of the oranges in half and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil and juice. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture over fish. Sprinkle paprika over fish; let stand 10 minutes.
Peel remaining orange and separate into sections. Add the orange sections and fennel to the bowl; toss with olive oil mixture.
Grill fish (or cook in a heated ridged grill pan over medium heat) 4 minutes per side or until fish is opaque in center. Transfer to serving plates and top with fennel and orange mixture and sea salt. Garnish with tarragon if desired. Serves 4.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 28 minutes

(*Disclosure: I was given a bottle of Carapelli for my review. My opinions are truthfully my own.)

Sprucing Up In Spring

You can tell when my neighbors in the Pacific Northwest are happy that Spring is finally here.  We seem to come out of our rainy, grey cocoon and wave to each other from the front lawn again.  Every 5thof May we have a party and laugh about how long it’s been since we’ve “seen” each other, when we literally live yards away.  We do enjoy Spring!
Being out in our yards more with the rays of the sun, we begin to see all of the work that needs to be done with our gardens, lawns and home improvement.  We see the dirt that needs to be tilled and the paint that needs to be refreshed due to peeling and cracking.  My husband and I have been talking of updating our windows – and it has nothing to do with the fact that our neighbors across the street are getting new windows now, oh no it doesn’t ;->
I see how sharp their new windows are making their house look and it would be nice to have that too.  Also, our old windows are so drafty you can almost see the money floating out the window during the cold months.  We’re beginning to look around and found  It’s a convenient way to look at various window options on-line.  They offer guidance on different styles and price points along with complete information on how to measure, handy video tutorial included. I just love shopping on-line.  They offer guidance on different styles and price points along with complete information on how to measure, handy video tutorial included. I just love shopping on-line.  
One area that I thought was most helpful was their information under the header “Basic Window Info.”.  You are given a window dictionary, as it were, to the common and not so common terms for window functionality and use.  It is a wonderful frame of reference to the terms you will need to know when selecting your new windows.  How fun to shop and learn at the same time!

Fill The Man Cave! – $600 Cash Giveaway!

OK now,  talk about an amazing giveaway!  You have the chance to win $600 that could help you create an amazing Man Cave for Father’s Day.  There’s also a $100 Gift Card to use at the restaurant of your choice.  WOW!

This year, voiceBoks, Good Steward Savers, Terri’s Little Haven, Cute-Ecakes, Giveaway Promote, and Linkie’s Contest Linkies have thrown together the daddy of Father’s Day Giveaways and I’m thrilled to help sponsor this Man Cave Filler $600 Cash Giveaway!Please Note: This giveaway ends: June 8, 2012 Midnight

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This giveaway is also made possible by the following Sponsors:

The Stiletto Files | Racing and Saving Mama | freebie spot | | Not Your Ordinary Recipes | Military Wives Saving | Insights by April | Mark Your Savings | Great Beauty Buys | November Sunflower | Club-Content | Christian SuperMom | Peanut Butter and Whine | Mommy Bunch | Kids Fun Reviewed | Mama Does It All | The Crazy Nuts Mom | Coupon Anna | A Maui Mompreneur | Like a Bump On a Blog | Because I’m the Mommy | Ann Again… and again Reviews | Roscoe Ramblings | Mom to Bed by 8 | JadeLouise Designs | Mommy Who Loves Giveaways | Pardon My Poppet | The Daily Fashion and Beauty News | The Flower Hazard | Grandma Bonnie’s Closet | Mommy’s Memorandum | Whole Lotta Mama!| First Comes Baby| insignificant at best | A Mom Having Fun | Finger Click Saver | Rants and Raves of a Crazed Mom | One And One Equals Twin Fun | Mommy Writes/Booksbythomasina | GiaVannes Gems | Be Prepared Period | I’m A Silly Mami | Mommy’s Coupon Train | Five Little Chefs – Cooking with Kids | Silly Creatures | Colleen’s Book Nook | Why We Love Green | Angie’s Wraps | Not Your Average Mother | Chic and Sassy Homemaker | Bella Savvy | Dawns Delights Art | A Day in Doha | Living Life Smarter | Frugal Friends Network | Plum Crazy About Coupons | inRandom | Nickels-n-Dimes | Simplified Saving | Far From Camelot | The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife | Giveaway BanditForever A Teen Fashion FindsThe Frugal Free Loader | MomMomOnTheGo | Tatum’s Family Reviews | AskDoctorG | Susie Qpons | Spinning Cook | Kindness in Giving Creates Love | Cheapskate Cafe | Disney Contests & Sweepstakes | Saving Cent by Cent | Wrinkled Mommy | Work, Interrupted | Bea’s Gift Baskets & Gift Blogspot | The Frugal Free Gal | Utah Sweet Savings | Eclectic Willow | Mondays with Mac | Have Kids Will Coupon | Smile A Day Giveaways | Clair’s Freebies | Jesus & My Orange Juice | Super Blake Books | Red Tag Mama | Building Carpenters | My Baby Sleep Guide

Real Simple Pet Products – Now at Target

It comes as no surprise that your lovely children will leave their lovely toys around your lovely home.  It’s helped a bit to have fun containers to put the toys in, but somethings still get missed.  But the container is a step in the right direction to organization.  And for me it isn’t just my “lovely children” who leave their stuff under my feet, it’s my dog too.

He loves stuffed animals, go figure!

And who better to help organize your pets furry, or bouncy, toys other than Real Simple.  The creators of Real Simple magazine have a product line at Target directed toward the organization and keeping of your pets.

Gather those bones, toys, tennis balls (and fuzzy animals ;-> ) in an easy-to-clean nylon tote. Handles let you carry it from room to room, while reinforced sides allow for storage on a shelf. Available with a red- or blue-striped lining.  It has a really nice, modern look that fits just about any decor.  $30 at Target stores.

Another way to safeguard your pet: These fun light-up collar charms include a free trial of the SmartTag pet finder system.  These are a good addition to your pets collar if you are a runner or walker and like to take you dog along.  You have your choice of 3 different light patterns. $6 at Target stores.

This dual-sided organizer keeps all your pet’s important health and identification information organized on the left, while leaving room for day-to-day notes on the right. Use it to keep track of a puppy’s training progress or for collecting important info from your pet-sitter while you’re on vacation. Available in blue or green.  $9 at Target stores

You can find these and many other nifty pet products from the Real Simple line at your Target store.

(*Disclosure:  I was sent product for review.  My opinions are truthfully my own.)

The Mommy Diaries: How I'm Surviving Parenting without Killing Anyone – Book Giveaway!

Humorist Dallas Louis is a mother.  From that sentence alone you should gather she has put together a hilarious collection of family events and experiences and shared them with those of us that can appreciate being a mom means trying to find the humor in life’s daily doings – or else you just might lose your mind.  
Dallas Louis’ new book “The Mommy Diaries:  How I’m Surviving Parenting without Killing Anyone” is a collection of funny stories about her family and her journey’s in the land of  parenting.    We’ve all been there.  And some of us have been able to laugh at the craziness that can ensue.  What about you?  Do you have some stories to share?  Please consider my comment box as a “Therapy Corner” and do tell!  
Here are a few of Dallas’s experiences:
My Top Cringe-Worthy Mom Moments by Dallas Louis
*** A few years ago on a cross-country drive to California to visit my parents, the kids and I stopped for the night at a hotel in New Mexico. It had been a long day and I was in the bathroom getting my oldest ready for his shower. When I walked out, I noticed that the hotel room was filled with smoke! The two little ones, while left unattended for all of a minute and a half, had managed to set the air conditioner on fire! They pushed all of the buttons on the A/C and heater causing the machine to over-heat. The hotel had to be evacuated. 
*** Since we are talking about fires, may as well mention this one, too. While attending an academic competition we were all waiting for the next round to begin. Schools from all over our district descend upon one school to compete at various levels of math, science, music and art. The students and their families that are in between events usually wait in the cafeteria. That’s where we were…until the fire alarm was pulled. Brilliant. Five hundred people evacuated the area, while I rained questions down such as, “What were you thinking?!” and “Why in the world….” I was met with, “I just wanted to see what it would do.” 
*** Vivid dreams and sleep walking happen frequently in my house, and this has not been a big deal until one of my boys began to sleep walk in the middle of the night on his way to the bathroom. It took me several weeks (apparently super-sleuth is not on my resume) to pin-point the exact source of the unmistakable aroma of stale urine permeating my entire house. My son, during his nighttime wanderings, consistently mistook his closet for the restroom, dousing the floor and the wall. Fantastic. We had to replace the carpet and repaint.
Time For A Giveaway!

If you are in the mood to read a well-written book about motherhood, written in a way that will make you feel like a close friend is sitting right next to you, sharing stories over a cup of coffee – or a much deserved glass/bottle of wine ;-> – then you’ll want to enter to win a copy of “The Mommy Diaries”.  Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$50 Gift Card

Who would like to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card?  Well YOU, of course!  You can find great gifts for Dad’s and Grad’s.  Summer is on it’s way, maybe you would like to peruse the many cool summertime toys available at   Let’s see, there’s also garden supplies, patio accessories, clothing.  Oh boy.  Enter to win a $50 gift card.  Good luck!

View Giveaway Details Here
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Episencial 3-Step System &amp;amp; Spa Vacation Getaway – Mother's Day Giveaways!

Episencial – Green, Organic, Natural baby skin care. 

If you are a parent who has read Eric Carle’s “The Hungry Caterpillar” a time or two (or three or ten!) you will be immediately drawn to the package designs on every bottle of Episencial.  The illustrations of Eric Carle are a sweet connection of this product to your child.

Day 4: Mother’s Day Giveaways at Ann Again… and again Reviews

I am so pleased to be able to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner of one basket of Episencial’s 3-Step system that will delicately clean and nourish your child’s delicate skin. (Enter through the RaffleCopter below.)

However, since this is a Mother’s Day, you need to do something for you.  Yes you!  You must enter the Episencial Mother’s Day Sweepstakes – Spa Vacation Giveaway.

This incredible offer is for an all expense paid weekend at the Four Seasons Westlake in California. It includes Episencial and Epicuren spa treatments and organic meals.  Yowzaa!  What Mom wouldn’t want this?  Click here for more details and then enter to win!  Good luck :->

– The Rafflecopter on this page is for the 3-Step System:  (if rafflecopter doesn’t appear please click “Read More”)

a Rafflecopter giveaway(*Disclosure:  I was offered product for review.  The part I play in this giveaway is as Hostess With The Mostest – not product producer. My intentions for all who enter my giveaways; enjoy, have fun and cross their fingers. All products provided are strictly from the company and not from me.*)  &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=””&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.

Skincare by Likewise – Mother’s Day Giveaways!

Since I entered my 40’s I have been searching for anti-aging products with a fervor.  I’m very lucky to have wonderful genes on my side – my mother’s skin is absolutely incredible as well as her energy level.  (I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to catch up with her in that area ;-> ).  Recently I tried the product line from Likewise, created by dermatologist Dr. Julie Pena, and was very pleased with the results.

Each product is loaded with anti-aging antioxidants and specially formulated to work in harmony with your skin’s natural tendencies. Even more importantly, all Likewise skincare products are water-resistant and contain broad spectrum SPF 50 for year-round sun protection.

When trying Likewise Face + Body wash please take them at their word, a little goes a long way.  This wash contains malic, glycolic and salicylic acids to help regenerate and revitalize skin.  These ingredients create an exfoliation without the typical scrub we’re used to, but really, use a small amount.  I have sensitive and put this cleanser to the test.  Little dab – my skin was clean and had a healthy glow. Larger dab – my face felt very warm and looked too red.  After an hour it calmed down but I learned to use a pea size amount.

A multitasking moisturizer with sunscreen, Likewise Daily Skincare for normal-to-oily skin is the perfect antidote for combination skin. This lotion is infused with Zinc and has an SPF 50 count.  It is unscented and can be used day or night.  GREAT moisturizer!  And perfect for the upcoming summer season.

Day 3:  Mother’s Day Giveaways at Ann Again… and again Reviews 
For one lucky winner I am able to share 1 Face + Body Wash and 1 Moisturizer, a retail value of $79.00.   Will that lucky winner be you?  Good Luck!  (U.S. Residents Only)  (if rafflecopter doesn’t appear please click “Read More”)

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$200 Shame On Jane Shopping Spree – Mother's Day Giveaways!

Oh, this is so much fun!  I am so happy that I get to share with you a silly, sweet and rockin’ company that makes great jewelry – Shame On Jane. This company creates jewelry just for women who enjoy putting fun in their day.  And who doesn’t need a lift of spirit in their day?!

Shame On Jane has a line of necklaces that you can have monogrammed with any saying you desire.  “Whatever” or “Really?”, etc.  Perhaps you would like to have a special date commemorated, they offer that as well.  You can also create a name plate with your child’s name, or your own.  (You know, just in case you forget.)

Something that caught my eye was their line of Stackable Rings, otherwise known as RemindeRings.  These rings have the cleverist sayings on them. I love them!  Their selection includes:  Feed…Sleep…Repeat,  Get A Caffeine Fix, Quit The Baby Talk.  And my personal favorite, Suck In Stomach.  (I’m wearing it right now :-> ).  You have to see their Stackable Rings “Just for The Bride”.  I wish these were around when I was engaged!

Day 2:  Mother’s Day Giveaways at Ann Again… and again Reviews

Now for your chance to win a $200 Shopping Spree with Shame On Jane Create a winning message to appear on the latest RemindeRing and you’re the lucky winner.  (*I’m honored to be one of the judges of this contest.*) They have great gifts for Mother’s Day, or Graduation.  I know the lucky winner will have no trouble finding something that’s just right.  Good luck!

Enter the ShameOnJane Mother's Day Contest and Win a $200 Shopping Spree!

 (*Disclosure: I received product for this review.  The parts I play in this contest is as Hostess With The Mostest and participating judge – not product producer. My intentions for all who enter my giveaways/contests; enjoy, have fun and cross their fingers. All products provided are strictly from the company and not from me.*)

$100 Stanley Steemer Gift Certificate – Mother's Day Giveaways!

Mothers Day Giveaway

Here we go!  It’s Mother’s Day Giveaway time at Ann Again… and again Reviews.  For the next 4 days I have things that are just right for the mom in your life.  Could that “mom” be you? ;->  All winners will be chosen on May 13th, Mother’s Day. I hope you enjoy the selections.

Day 1:  Mother’s Day Giveaways at Ann Again… and again Reviews

$100 Stanley Steemer Gift Certificate
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have the spots, the stains, just all the general dirt and muck brought in from your loving family (and possibly pets) washed away for you to enjoy a clean carpet?  Oh, how I would love that.  If you are the lucky winner of this $100 Stanley Steemer gift certificate you can bask in the glow of a clean carpet.  Heck, roll around on it.  I would!  We have a big party happening this weekend and I’ll be showing you before/after pictures of my Stanley Steemer carpet cleaning experience in a couple of weeks.
  • Not just for carpet cleaning, Stanley Steemer’s expertise extends to hardwood, tile, air ducts, water damage restoration, and more!
  • Stanley Steemer’s proprietary equipment and cleaning processes remove more than 98% of dry soil from floors
  • With over 70 branches and 220 franchise locations in 48 states, Stanley Steemer services 95% of the country
Let’s see how fellow blogger Carissa Ingrassia from Complicated Mama did with her Stanley Steamer experience.
To take part in the $100 Stanley Steamer Gift Certificate giveaway enter using Rafflecopter.  (if rafflecopter doesn’t appear please click “Read More”)

a Rafflecopter giveaway&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=””&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;. (*Disclosure: My gift certificate, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Stanley Steemer through MyBlogSpark. The part I play in this giveaway is as Hostess With The Mostest – not product producer. My intentions for all who enter my giveaways; enjoy, have fun and cross their fingers. All products provided are strictly from the company and not from me.*)