Sunday, November 24, 2013

The importance of health insurance in the marketplace.

*sponsored by LinkVehicle
In the past I felt so lucky having insurance provided by my employer.  And better yet only having to pay a reasonable amount of money to have family coverage.  But, with the way things are going in regards to insurance in the United States; I have been looking into my insurance options.  
I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about Obama Care somehow infringing on my employer provided coverage.  I have read horror stories about hard working people, suddenly going without insurance.
I do not want to be one of those statistics.  That is why I have been searching the health insurance market.  The thoughts that race through my mind right now at times keeps me up at night.  Wow the life or should I say the medical experiences I have already encountered in my short life.  Medical issues like three c-sections, cancer 


and knee surgery to list just a few.  And that is not even touching on what my family has medically experienced.


Could you imagine you life and your family's life without medical coverage? Make sure you are prepared and know what else is out there as an option. Don't become one of the insurance statistics that I have read about.  I know that I am prepared and can sleep so much better at night.              



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Angels the book Giveaway / Review $14.95 Value by Alexis York Lumbard, Illustrated by Flavia Weedn


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.

Do you believe in Angels?

We do in our house and love a new book we have had the opportunity to review and experience.

I also have the chance to spread the news, just like an Angel's wings by giving one lucky person their own copy of Angels written by Alexia York Lumbard.  Enter below for your chance to be blessed with this prize.



As a family we read this simple and easy to follow book.  But, Angels the book left us with a comforting feeling right before it was time to go to sleep.

The magical words and vibrant illistrations (by Flavia Weedn) on each page creates a understanding of how Angels work behind the scenes everywhere..."weaving their graces throughout the world".

What a perfect book to stuff a stocking with.  It can be giving to children and adults.  Plus this book Angels is nondenominational yet introduces how angels radiate warmth, love and caring throughout the world.  And like I mentioned before the illustrations that are colorful like rich paintings being this peaceful story to life.

You can purchase Angels direct from Wisdom Tales Press. And Wisdom Tales Press is also on Facebook and Pinterest.

Happy Holiday and let the Angels be with you.
 
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.

LeapPad Ultra the Perfect Holiday Gift Kids Learning Tablet Review

"I was provided a sample of the LeapPad Ultra through a review program.  The opinions expressed are my own."

Can you say Merry Christmas early at our house?

Well it is....Look what came in the mail!!

A LeapPad Ultra!!

I feel like a kid again.  I can't believe all the features and abilities this LeapPad Ultra has to offer.  It is going to be perfect for my son that is 5 and as you will see below also for my son that is 8 years old. 

I love that the LeapPad Ultra is designed to only offer content that has been approved and selected by educators.  I can feel good knowing my children are using a kid-safe and age-appropriate learning tablet experience thanks to LeapFrog's Learning Team.

The LeapPad Ultra even allows us (us being overly protective parents) to use a 4-digit security code to control what our children are able to access.  I love this feature.

Another parent important feature is the kid-safe web content experience called LeapSearch which was created in partnership with Zui.  Zui is a leading children's browser developer.  LeapSearch allows children to watch and explore a very controlled selection of 100% kid appropriate web content.  This is accessed via Wi-Fi.  This Wi-Fi feature also allows parents to quickly and easily purchase and download features to the LeapPad Ultra.

And more more thing as a parent I love about the LeapPad Ultra learning tablet.  It is a kid tough tablet.

Okay what my kids are going to love is...

The 7" high resolution colored light-touch screen (also comes with a stylus)

The long-lasting rechargeable battery (typically allows for up to 9 hours of use at a time! Wow!!)

Front and back cameras and video recorders.  This is perfect as one of my son's really wants a camera.

Onboard MP3 player - music hear here we come!

The LeapPad Ultra is compatible with LeapFrog's learning library of 800+ games, apps, eBooks, videos, music and more!

And not only that 11 apps are included with the LeapPad Ultra for an added $80 Value!

My boys are going to feel like grow-ups with all the safe featured available with their LeapPad Ultras.

As a family that owns many LeapFrog products the LeapPad Ultra is a perfect step up for my boys.

My son is going to love that "Santa" is going to be giving him is dream gift - A Green colored LeapPad Ultra.  And so is one of my other son's...as I just ordered him the same one from Amazon.com.  And they are currently offering $30 back in Amazon credit if you order.  So I hope you get in on this deal ...f it is still active when you place your Holiday order.

And now that we are going to be proud owners of two LeapPad Ultras they can take advantage of one of the amazing features.  The feature called peer to peer games, my boys will be able to safely play with each other via their LeapPad Ultra using virtual pets or LeapFrog characters. The Pet Chat allows them to safely ‘text’ over a local connection with safe pre-defined chat phrases and emoticons with fun sounds.

For more info on the LeapPad Ultra visit: www.leapfrog.com/LeapPadUltra.


Happy Holidays and I hope you are able to find the perfect gifts for your children this season.

 "I was provided a sample of the LeapPad Ultra through a review program. The opinions expressed are my own."

Glasstic Glass Water Bottle Giveaway / Review $19.99 Value! My New Workout Pal

Disclaimer: Glasstic provided me with a free samples of their product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.

The perfect beverage bottle!

A Worry Free Glass Water Bottle!

A must have for people on the go or workout fanatics like me :-)

The Glasstic bottle - my new workout pal!

And one lucky person is going to win their own Glasstic bottle.

I feel like I am getting ready to write a love letter.  A love letter to my newly found and needed water bottle.

Okay, does that sound a little Corny?  I sure hope not because if you are a Glasstic owner you will totally understand.

Here I go....

Glasstic what do I love about thee?

-The purity of glass but the portability of plastic (BPA Free)
-Shatterproof (personally tested..whoops and a necessity!)
-16oz Wide Mouth (no more excuses why you spilled down the front of your shirt)
-Fliptop lid - great "sports" lid - love it!
-Dishwasher Safe  on the top shelf (darn I don't own one, but a great feature)
-Simple to clean
-A variety of colors to chose from (Black/White/Pink/Green/Purple/Blue)
-Total condensation containment – no stains on wood, no water in your car seat, purse or workout bag
-A handle for easy transportation.  And you can even carry it on a walk to stay hydrated!
-And last but not least - it makes my beverages taste great and doesn't leave the Glasstic tasting like whatever you drank after a simple wash!

Okay...yes I am a proud Glasstic lover!  And I am not afraid to shout it from the tread climber at the gym!!  I LOVE MY GLASSTIC!!!

I just realized I had better explain how Glasstic works and why I talked about it being glass but then BPA free.  Check out my picture below and let me describe the Glasstic bottle.

Each Glasstic comes with a glass insert, PBA free plastic exterior and bottom and flip top drinking piece.
 

I was surprised at how sturdy the Glasstic bottle feels.  It has a nice weight with the glass insert but I have faith knowing when I do drop it...it most likely will not break.
Glasstic stands behind their products offering a lifetime replacement of the glass insert and the flip cap lid.  As a customer you would only have to pay a flat rate shipping charge and if you are local you can pick up the replacement at no cost.  Currently the shipping charge for the bottle is $7.99 and $5.99 for a replacement cap. 

I love the ability to get this replacement parts if necessary.  It makes me happy knowing my Glasstic is not just a single use water bottle.

So who wants to fall in love with a Glasstic bottle?

Enter below for your chance to win!

 
Disclaimer: Glasstic provided me with a free samples of their product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Be #cartonsmart with your Holiday recipes this year.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

My baking and cooking is out of control!  The Holidays are upon us and it makes me turn into an extreme kitchen addict.  As my oldest son likes to call me…The Holiday Baking Xtreme Mom.

And I am okay with that and wear my name with pride.  But, this year I am going to trying something a little different; or should I say try a little harder when it comes to my Holiday kitchen experience.  I have made a pledge to myself to Become Carton Smart

What does #cartonsmart mean?  It means I am going to do my best to purchase Terta Pak cartons when I am out shopping.  I truly believe if we all make an effort to make smarter pantry packaging purchases we can have a positive impact in our world. Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest for more great ideas.

Tetra Pak cartons come in all different shapes and sizes.  Here are a few options out on the market today. Pacific Foods offers consumers choices like Organic Pumpkin Puree, photo d1d52bb8-c150-4f19-9a7c-b8c9ab3c8df3_zpsac6b75dd.jpg

Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce photo 62adf36b-e1dc-4d93-98c1-aa80d97a468d_zps600d562e.jpg

and Organic Chicken Simply Stock. photo 795e421d-1ec8-414e-b1b8-dde8f5f23ded_zps62983f0a.jpg

Just think where these three different Tetra Pak carton choices all the holiday recipes you could create.

I love that Tetra Pak cartons are made of 70% paper.  And the paper used is from re-grown trees that are FSC-certified.  Also these cartons use 1/3 of the packaging cans do.

I like not having to use can openers and that many of the Tetra Pak cartons are re-closable.  And other plus is this unique packaging process helps preserve the flavor and the nutrients of the food with preservatives.

This holiday season, Tetra Pak wants to inspire people to make small, smart decisions when cooking for their families and stocking their pantries.  So what am I going to try first?

My Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Caramelized Coconut Pie

15 ounces sweet potatoes in syrup, reserve 1/4 cup syrup, and drain the rest

15 ounces 100% pure pumpkin

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 large eggs (2 for the filling and 1 for the topping)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

A few dashes of Black Pepper

1 prepared, refrigerated single-crust piecrust

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine sweet potatoes, reserved syrup, coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, melted butter, 2 eggs, cinnamon, ginger and pepper in a bowl. Beat until smooth.

Place the prepared crust in a pie pan and crimp the edges. Fill crust with the filling and even out. Bake for 45 minutes.

While pie is baking mix the remaining egg, coconut, corn syrup and vanilla in a mixing bowl until mixed well.

Spread over the surface of the baked filling.

Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes, until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool for at least 1 hour before serving.             

So how are you going to be #CartonSmart this holiday season? 

 photo 1898ca76-3272-4baf-a8df-07abf60e15e3_zps1bf425e9.jpg

I would love for you to Tweet @CartonSmart and share your tips and ideas.

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Save by booking early - Creekside at Beaver Creek Colorado! Skiing Here We Come!

Living so close to Colorado, many times I feel like our family over looks all the amazing locations and activties this great state offers.  But, we have sworn since our last Colorado visit...we needed to try to treat our family to an amazing Colorado adventure every year. 
 
And you know me!  A family adventure has to be memoriable but affordable.  I wanted to share this great deal we are looking at taking advantage of is in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  It is called Creekside.  Check out all the info below and don't miss your chance to save some big money.
 
Vacationers looking to leave everyday life behind and enjoy remarkable skiing and the grandeur of a modern alpine ski resort should head to Beaver Creek, Colorado.



Creekside at Beaver Creek is a luxury ski-in/ski-out property located within the heart of Beaver Creek village. Nestled right up against the bubbling Beaver Creek, guests are steps away from world-class restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
 
In the morning, you can ski right to the lifts and access nearly 1,900 acres of skiable terrain including immaculately groomed green cruisers to steep powder-filled Aspen groves and chutes. At the end of the day, after a relaxing dip in the hot tub, unwind in a comfortable two or three bedroom condominium, elegantly decorated to make oneself at home.



Whether you are visiting Colorado to ski/snowboard or just take in the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find your stay at Creekside at Beaver Creek a memorable one.


Book by Opening Day and Save up to 30%!

Book your winter 2013/2014 vacation to Creekside at Beaver Creek by the time the lifts start turning and save up to 30% off regular rates for the 2013/2014 ski season! (Beaver Creek opening day is Nov. 27, 2013)

Monday, November 11, 2013

TortillaLand Tortillas Giveaway and Easy Recipe Grilled Fish Tacos & Enter to win an iPad Mini Tablet!

Disclaimer: TortillaLand provided me with a free samples of their product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.

We continue to be TortillaLand Fanatics at our house!  And I once again I have the opportunity to spread the "tortilla nation" message with a great giveaway (3 Free Coupons to one lucky winner - enter below).  And along with my great giveaway - I need to share the love about another HUGE Giveaway TortillaLand is currently featuring on their Facebook page called TortillaLand Brand Sweepstakes. (I must admit I thought about being selfish and not sharing as I would love to win this myself!)  This Sweepstakes ends on Dec 15, 2013...so you still have plenty of time to enter.

Can you believe it?  TortillaLand is giving away 5 iPad Mini Tablets to 5 Winners!  


Are you wondering why 5?

That is simple!  No really it is...as TortillaLand flour tortillas are made with 5 Simple Ingredients....unbleached wheat flour, water, canola oil, salt and just a pinch of sugar to hold it all together. Simply delicious! 

Just head to your local grocery store refrigerator section and there hopefully you will find a delicious package of Corn or Flour TortillaLand Tortillas. (And I just saw on the TortillaLand website they are now offering OH-MEGA3 Tortillas - I cant wait until I can find them in our stores!)  Just heat and serve in 60 seconds.

TortillaLand sent me out an amazing sampling of their products.  Check it out!

So what did I create?


Well our famous grilled fish tacos.  



Let me share how easy these are to create and better yet...enjoy!

We start by seasoning the Talipia fish fillets and letting them marinade for a few hours.
We use fresh lime zest, Old Bay with Lemon and & Herb Seasoning, red chili flakes, salt, pepper and fresh lime juice.

We then grill the fish after they are perfectly seasoned to our liking.

Than it is time to grill the flour TortillaLand tortillas.

It gives them a great smoky flavor. 

Once inside it is time to put together the fresh grilled fish tacos.


We offer the following toppings to compliment this fresh and healthy meal....fresh chopped cilantro, diced onions, fresh lime wedges, cotija (Mexican cheese that is salty, firm and drier texture) and a homemade sauce.  The sauce is made out of Greek yogurt, Old Bay Seasoning, lime juice, lime zest and salt. 

Even though the weather is getting colder, doesn't mean I can't relive summer!


Please enter below for your chance to win 3 free coupons for TortillaLand tortillas so you can create your own amazing meal.

And don't forget to head on over to TortillaLand's social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Blog) to see what they are up to and better yet enter for you chance to win a Mini iPad Tablet.

Good Luck!

Disclaimer: TortillaLand provided me with a free samples of their product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.

Tips on how to care for you dog this Holiday Season.

*Sponsored by dogfencediy.com

I am such a Holiday lover and a dog fanatic.  But along the joy of the Holiday festivities I feel as a responsible dog owner I must touch on the topic of Holiday Safety tips for your dog.

As, if you dog is not safe and happy...the Merry will not be in your Christmas this year.

So I figured the best way to share some of my personal tips on how to care for your dog was to list them below.
1)  Make sure your Christmas tree is in a safe location (protected with a safety gate) or even anchored to something sturdy.  This will protect your dog from knocking it off and causing them injury or injury to someone else.

2)  The Holidays brings along many different types of gift wrap, strings, bows, ribbons and other beautiful decorations.  This eye catching decor can also get your dogs attention, which in turn if eaten can cause serious internal problems.  So keep en extra eye on your pet and make sure they stay safe.

3)  If you are celebrating the Holiday at your home a dog containment system can be very helpful.  That way you do not have to worry about your pet escaping from your yard, if your guest accidentally let your furry friend outside.  Just make sure you have your dog's collar receiver on.

4)  Speaking on Holiday guests....along with the guests comes many different types of food and desserts.  Make sure your company knows not to feed your dog as it could cause stomach upset and a huge mess.  And certain types of food can create medical problems.  So keep an eye out on your pooch and make sure you know what he is eating.


5)  Make sure you have a dog friendly area that you fury friend can retreat if the Holiday get to be too much.  As a person I can totally relate.  It is better to have this location pre-planned so if and when that time comes you are ready and so is your dog.  


Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with a safe and joyous dog this year.  I would love to hear if you have another other tips of tricks to make this time of the year successful for your pets.


Become an Urban Crafter, buy Locally Made Goods!

*sponsored post but all opinions are mine.

How often have you heard the phrase, “Shop Local”?  I know in the community I live that phrase is over used.  As I believe that phase needs to be redefined.  It needs to be transformed into “buy locally made goods”.


And even better than buying locally made goods; how about purchasing locally made goods that are created from re purposed materials.  Ah, it feels so good saying typing that.  I feel empowered as we all can make a huge impact in the world we live if we could see the beauty around us and become an urban crafter.

What you have never heard the term urban crafter?   I think many of you reading this already are one and just didn’t know it.  An urban crafter is a word used to describe those who love buying locally made goods or even better create these items themselves.  I also feel urban crafters somehow incorporate handmade products that are unique and created with passion.

Last weekend our community had a Holiday Craft Fair.  This fair allows local artists, cooks, bakers, trades people and more to come together, under one roof to sell their wares.  It is amazing to see and experience the variety of items that are for sale.  I love the re purposed vehicle license plates that are used to make bird houses and even journals.  Who would have thought something that everyone sees every day on a car could become so use able and unique.  I love it! 

Another item that we see almost every day is plastic water bottles.  I know I am guilty of purchasing these bottles as they are very convenient when I am on the go.  But what can you do with a water bottle?  How can you re purpose them? 

I would love to be able to take credit for the urban crafter idea I came across when it comes to these water bottles, but I can’t.  How about making unique bags out of water bottles?  It has been done and they are called Rickshaw Bags.

What a genius idea.  A bag that can be used and even recycled; don’t worry if you are wondering how they could make a great bag from such a disposable item.  Just watch this video.


http://marker.ly/b/rickshaw5098/10201/19

I think local manufacturing is so cool.  And urban markets are revitalizing our society, environment and selection of products.  When I think of local many times I find myself looking beyond my community barriers.  I like to think of local as USA made.  And that is why I am actually researching Rickshaw Bags more.  I am drawn to their customizable features and stylish looks.

Truly I don’t think a person would have any idea you are sporting water bottles, but what a great conversation starter.  I am passionate to make a different in the world today.  I believe you need to think outside the box and make the choice to be an urban crafter.  Why not start by showing your support with a Rickshaw Bag, they offer many different sizes and styles to meet your needs.

So next time you are able to throw something away, look for the beauty in that item.  Do you see the beauty?  What kind of potential might this thrown away item have?  Let you creativity and imagination run wild.  Who knows you may come up with a great idea and then in turn a product you could sell to others.  How how do you make this work?  Why not learn from others.  What a great way to show off your potential and inspire others to make a difference today.

Embrace the meaning behind being an Urban Crafter!  Become an Urban Crafter today.          

*sponsored post but all opinions are mine.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Win a $25 iTunes Gift Card - Perfect Stocking Stuffer! Happy Holidays. 12/1

Hello my faithful friends and new acquaintances..

I am thrilled to be personally giving away a $25 iTunes Gift Card to one lucky person.

This is a just because Giveaway.  It would make a perfect stocking stuffer.

Thank you everyone for your continued support through the years and many more to come.

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pear Tree Greetings Holiday Photo Cards $40 Giveaway / Review

Disclaimer: Pear Tree Greetings provided me with a gift code to purchase a product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.

Are you ready for the Holidays?  How about Holiday Cards?  But, not just any Holiday Cards!  Personalized cards that you can send to your loved ones and friends.

I am thrilled to be working with Pear Tree Greetings again this Holiday Season.  In years past and this year again they will be making our family's personalized greeting cards.  Cards that I simply create on line.  It is truly that easy.

But, to be honest I think the most challenging part is to select the type of Holiday card you want to create.  Pear Tree offers so many different types of cards.  Holiday Photo cards, Christmas Cards and Photo Christmas Cards to name just a few.

We love the photo cards as it helps keep us in touch with all our family and friends.  It is a simple way to personalize greeting cards.
 

So many choices this year Pear Tree Greetings!!!  Where do I begin?

I love that when I look around at all the selections, they are clearing marked how low the price per card can be. 

And then after selecting your perfect Holiday card.  Pear Tree Greetings walks you right through the customizing process.  You add your photos that you simply upload (even from Facebook) and then add your own words (text).

So make your Holidays as stress free as possible.  Use Pear Tree Greetings to solve and customize your photo card needs.

And enter below to win a $40 Gift Code to help you purchase your cards from the Pear Tree's holiday collection.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!
 
Disclaimer: Pear Tree Greetings provided me with a gift code to purchase a product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product and giveaway.




 

Crunchy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe Enter to #Win $250 Thanks to the Anthony's Pasta Recipe Contest

Disclaimer: I was provided compensation to help create my recipe and if I win the recipe contest I will receive additional compensation..

Thank you Anthony's Pasta for allowing me to be faced off with a fellow blogger in a fun tug-of-war recipe contest.  (And for each vote given during this months contest (Voting ends December 1st, 2013...you the voter are entered to win a $250 Visa Card...you can vote every 24 hours on Anthony's Pasta Facebook page!)

The Contest challenged me to share a home-cooked recipe using Anthony's Pasta for the "Tastes Like Home" Comfort meal.  I was limited to use around 5 to 8 simple pantry staples.

There was no doubt in my mind what family beloved recipe I would share. 

My husband says my Homemade Crunchy Baked Mac and Cheese "tastes like home".  He grew up with his mother making her own recipe for Mac and Cheese. She passed this recipe down before she went to play with the Angels.

I have since kept her comfort recipe true to is roots, but made a simple and healthy adjustment.  Instead of plain elbow noodles, I now use Anthony's Hidden Veggie Twisted Elbow Pasta to make it better for my family without changing the flavors.


Here is our family recipe for Crunchy Baked Mac and Cheese.
(passed down by my Husband's mom - Marge)

Ingredients:

1 pound Anthony's Hidden Veggie Twisted Elbows Pasta
6 cups Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup skim milk
(salt and pepper to taste
)



Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 45 minutes

Serving size - 12 servings per 9 X 13 pan





Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 X 13 glass pan.


Boil the Anthony's pasta until it is al dente (almost cooked all the way).

Drain and place 1/2 the Anthony's pasta in the lightly greased pan.

Top the Anthony's pasta with 3 cups of the cheese.

Place the other 1/2 of the Anthony's pasta on top of the cheese.

Add the rest of the cheese on top.

Pour milk over the top and salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until top is as "crunchy" as you like.

I hope you enjoy our comfort food as much as we do.


Please take the time to vote for our Crunchy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe!


Vote here....

 
And the best part is everyone that enters a vote via Anthony's Pasta Facebook page is entered to win a $250 Visa Card.  And you can vote daily! 

Thank you!