Crochet: Santa Countdown Pillow

Monday, December 12, 2016

It's hard to believe that there's less than two weeks until Christmas! Even though, Christmas is almost here, I had to put up a quick post about this Santa Countdown Pillow that I made. It's my first time crocheting something so elaborate. I've done hats and scarves and even some amigurumi dolls, but nothing like this.

I saw the pattern back in September when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. It was newly released and on sale, so I bought it. It's designed by JoAnn Grimes Thompson of GrammyJo Lids. I saved it to my Ravelry and started right away.

Parragon December Book Buddies Box

DISCLOSURE: I received free books as part of the Parragon Book Buddies Program. All opinions are my own.

My kids range from age 3 to 12. Sometimes it's hard to find an activity that all of them can enjoy. So, we were pretty pleased with what came in our December Book Buddies Box from Parragon. As usual, the kids were super excited to open the box and see what was inside.

Punchbowl - Online Invitations - New App + Giveaway!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's December and that means holiday parties are just around the corner. Will you be hosting a party this season? Consider this: 1.6 Billion PAPER invitations and cards sent during the Holiday season, and all of that waste has an impact on our environment.

Punchbowl is a service that allows you to send online invitations. They offer thousands of designs for every occasion -- from birthdays to retirements and everything in between. Punchbowl also offers invitations that feature characters that kids (and adults!) love, like Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol, Frozen's Anna and Elsa, and Elmo! Punchbowl also partners with venues, like Chuck E. Cheese's, Dave & Busters and Legoland to help make planning your party easy.

Punchbowl is free to use. They also offer paid memberships that unlock exclusive designs, allow you to add photos, and remove ads from the invitations.

Punchbowl also has a new app that makes managing your invitations even easier. You can send invites through email right from the app and keep track of RSVPs in real time.

The app is free and available for both Apple and Android devices.


Thanks to Punchbowl, I'm giving away three (3) 1-Year Platinum level memberships to Punchbowl! Platinum membership offers
  • Exclusive designs
  • Add photos to invitations
  • Add co-hosts
  • Poll your guests
  • Recurring events
  • 500 guests per event
  • donation
  • Advertising Free
Enter through the widget below. Giveaway is open to US residents and ends  12/16/16. This will be great for sending out your holiday cards and invitations!

DISCLOSURE:  I received a lifetime Platinum membership to Punchbowl in exchange for writing this post.

Punchbowl 1-Year Platinum Membership Giveaway

Erno Laszlo Sensitive Double Cleanse Travel Set #VoxBox #ThePowerofTwo - REVIEW

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Erno Laszlo Double Cleanse duos uses "The Power of Two" to customize your cleansing routine to meet your skin's unique needs. It combines a cleansing oil and a cleansing bar. The cleansing oil breaks up dirt and makeup, while the cleansing bar nourishes skin with antioxidants and botanicals.

I normally wash my face with either a foaming facial cleanser or micellar water. I have used cleansing oil in the past, but I never felt like it did a good job at completely cleaning my face. I liked the idea of using both a cleansing oil and a soap to wash my face.

Parragon November Book Buddies Box

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received free books from Parragon as part of the Book Buddies Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

We returned from a week-long trip to Disney World a little over a week ago. The whole family loves everything Disney and so we were pretty happy with our November box from the Parragon Book Buddies Program. Our box featured three Moana books as well as a couple holiday-themed books!

Excited to see what's in the box!

National Geographic Kids: The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines - REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Everyone in the family loves to read. My oldest almost always has her nose buried in a book. My younger two kids are always asking my husband and me to read them a story. Books are definitely a big part of our lives.

So, we were all excited to receive these two books from Moms Meet to review. When I told my six-year-old son that I had books about boy and girl heroes, he wanted to rush home from school so he could take a look at them.

Parragon October Book Buddies Box - REVIEW

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Book Buddies program, I received free books from Parragon Books to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Halloween is only 12 short days away! On the days leading up to Halloween, I like to make Halloween-themed treats and do fun activities with the kids. We recently visited a local farm to do a corn maze and pick up pumpkins! Earlier this month, we received our October Book Buddies Box from Parragon and it went perfectly with the Halloween theme!

All the books this month were coloring books. It was nice that they each came with crayons and a place to keep them with the book. As always, my kids were super excited to open the Book Buddies Box!
Always so excited to open their Book Buddy Box!

I'm A Chick-Fil-A Mom! #ChickFilAMoms

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I'm happy to announce I've been selected to be on the Chick-Fil-A Mom Panel for 2016-2017. This will be my third year on the panel.

My family and I love Chick-Fil-A. It's our top go-to when we don't feel like cooking dinner. I swear the kids probably get more excited about Chick-Fil-A than any other dinner option. We all have our favorites from the menu. The waffle fries are popular with my younger kids while my older kids like the milkshakes and nuggets. My personal favorite are the Chick-N Minis and the Frosted Coffee!

Chick-N Minis!
As a member of the Chick-Fil-A Mom Panel, I'll post news about new menu items, services, and other fun things from Chick-Fil-A!

San-J Organic Gluten-Free Cooking Sauces - REVIEW

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

I'm not much of a cook. My husband does the majority of the cooking in the family. I'll bake, but he's the one who's making dinner almost every night. Since he does the cooking, he's the one that gets to plan out the meals. But, there are some nights that I'm really craving Asian food and take-out just isn't the same.

Winix Air Purifiers

Thursday, October 6, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I was not financially compensated for this post. This post was written as a contest entry, sponsored by Moms Meet. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

My family and I suffer from allergies. They're worse in the Spring and Fall.  Every day this week, my kids and I have been sneezing and sniffly. Just this morning, after walking my preschooler to school, I ended up sneezing for several minutes straight!

Visiting The Wright Brothers Memorial - Without The Kids!

Monday, October 3, 2016

During our annual trip to the Outer Banks this past summer, my husband and I had the chance to revisit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC. We had visited once before about 6 years ago with my then 5-year-old and 2-year-old. We didn't really get a good chance to look around at everything, since it was hot and the kids weren't really interested in reading all the little signs around. Plus, I was pregnant and not really feeling the walk up to the actual memorial. So, when my in-laws offered to watch the kids one night during the trip, my husband and I thought it would be fun to go to the Wright Brothers National Memorial before we went out to dinner.

Parragon September Book Buddies Box - REVIEW

Thursday, September 15, 2016

 DISCLOSURE: I received free books to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

The kids are all in school. Even my youngest! I finally have the house to myself in the morning -- at least until it's time to pick up my preschooler from school. Before the school year started, I asked the kids what they were excited about for the new school year. The older two weren't really ready to go back, but my younger two were excited about making new friends and learning new things!

The theme for the September Book Buddies Box from Parragon is Learning! They sent a great box of some fun books and kits that the whole family enjoyed! Even my husband and 12-year-old found something in the box that they liked.

Made Good Granola Minis Sampling - #MomsMeet

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples from Moms Meet to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

I have two kids with food allergies. Sometimes, it's hard to keep their school lunches from becoming  boring and monotonous when their allergies dictate what foods I can buy. One child has a peanut allergy and the other has a dairy sensitivity and tree nut allergy.

Recently, I had the chance to try out MadeGood Granola Minis, thanks to Moms Meet. MadeGood makes great tasting healthy snacks that are allergen friendly, minimally processed and organic.

A Visit To Penn's Cave - Centre Hall, PA

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Every Sunday, my husband read the Travel section in The Washington Post. We love going on road trips and check the paper for ideas on where to go next. Years ago, we read about an underground lake that you could tour in Pennsylvania. We saved the Travel article and told ourselves we would make a trip up there one day. We finally had the chance to visit this summer.

Hourglass Vanish Foundation Review #VanishFoundation

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample from Influenster for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I usually have bad luck with foundation. I can never get the right color and have never been able to get a flawless finish. It's probably due to technique, but I also think it's because I haven't yet come across the right foundation. Until now!

Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick is one of the newest products from Hourglass Cosmetics. It provides the coverage of a concealer, the fluidity of a liquid and the weightlessness of a powder for undetectable full coverage. It contains double the amount of pigment vs. traditional foundations for instant full coverage. The formula adjusts to body temperature to blend into the skin for the smoothest, most seamless finish.

Parragon August Book Buddy Box - REVIEW

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I can't believe it's already August! Summer's almost over! With just a little over three weeks until school starts, we're trying to enjoy the rest of the kids' summer vacation. We recently received the August Book Buddy Box from Parragon. Each month, they send us a box of fun and interesting books and activity kits for my younger kids. This month's theme is Animals.

Our First Harvest from our Garden!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A couple months ago, my husband and I started our first garden. We used the drawers from an old dresser and planted a couple different peppers, tomatoes and strawberries in it. If you want to see how we did it, check out this post.  We also planted yellow zucchini, kiwis, basil and mint.

Since we are newbies to gardening, we had no idea the zucchini and kiwis actually grow on a vine. We had started them in big planters and eventually had to relocate them next to our neighbor's fence so they would have space to grow and something to crawl on. We then bought rosemary and parsley to put in the planters.

A Trip To Calvert Marine Museum - Solomons, MD

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Last week, we decided to visit one of the local museums in Maryland. We didn't tell the kids where we were going, just in case the older kids shot down the idea before they even gave it a chance. My husband and I had talked about going there in the past, but never had the time to make it down there.

The Calvert Marine Museum is located in Solomons, MD, at the mouth of the Patuxent River. The museum features displays, aquariums and exhibits that highlight the history and ecology of Southern Maryland.

Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment - #REVIEW

Sunday, July 17, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample from BzzAgent for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I'm just a couple years away from turning the big 4-0. I've definitely noticed changes in my skin and have added more steps to my skincare routine to try and fight those signs of aging. Something that I haven't tried yet is a retinol treatment. Thanks to BzzAgent, I had the chance to try Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment.

Kikkoman Grilling House Party #KikkomanParty

DISCLOSURE: I received free products from House Party in order to host a Kikkoman Grilling Party. All opinions are my own.

When the weather is nice, we tend to grill a lot. We probably use the grill at least a few times a week. We'll cook burgers, hot dogs, brats, steak, salmon and chicken. Sometimes we'll just season with salt and pepper, other times we'll use a marinade or grill seasonings. A week ago, I had the chance to host a Kikkoman Grilling House Party and tried out two of Kikkoman's marinades: Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and Teriyaki Takumi Original Sauce.

Fourth of July Crunchy Bleu Cheese Coleslaw - RECIPE + GIVEAWAY #SeeTheLite

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DISCLOSURE: This review and giveaway was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management and Litehouse Foods. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Fourth of July is almost here! For the past few years, we've been going to my sister's house for a BBQ on 4th of July. I usually bring something and I had been struggling with what to make this year. I usually bring a dessert, but I thought I'd do something a little different this time and make a side (though knowing me, I'll probably throw together some sort of dessert, too!). 

I love coleslaw, but often at stores you find just the plain cabbage and carrots slaw. I wanted to make something a little different. I remembered having a coleslaw from Harris Teeter once that was really good. It wasn't really creamy like other grocery store deli coleslaw. It was crunchy, but I coudn't remember what it had in it. I just remembered it tasting really fresh.

"4000 Stickers: Under The Sea" and "Finding Dory: Unforgettable Activities" - Parragon Book Buddies July 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Parragon Book Buddies Program, I received free products in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Summer's here and I'm so ready to hit the beach! We're about 40 days away from our annual trip to the Outer Banks and we can't wait! So, we were pretty excited to see that the theme of our July Box from the Parragon Book Buddies Program was "Summer Fun."

This was our first box from Parragon and my 5-year-old was super excited to be getting a box of goodies just for him.

Sunglasses For Kids #NationalSunglassesDay

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I am a licensed, practicing optometrist. I do not have any relationships/affiliations with any sunglasses company mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own.

National Sunglasses Day is June 27. It serves as a reminder to wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from UV radiation. Long term exposure to UV radiation can accelerate the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. While these conditions are usually associated with older individuals, it's important to make sure children wear sun protection, too.

Children's eyes absorb more solar radiation than adults. Most of the lifetime UV damage occurs during childhood. Though, the consequences are not usually seen until they are adults.

Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme/LiftActiv Supreme - REVIEW #VichyUSA

DISCLOSURE: I received free products from Influenster in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

I'm only a couple years now from my 40th birthday. I've definitely noticed changes in my facial skin. It's not as bright or smooth as it used to be. My pores seem larger and my skin texture is a lot rougher. So, in response, I've been paying a lot more attention to my skincare routine.

I recently had the chance to try some samples of a couple anti-aging products from Vichy. I've only used one other product from Vichy in the past -- Vichy Idealia Life Serum. (See review here.) I really liked it, though, I never went out and bought it. This time, I had the chance to try Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme and Vichy LiftActiv Supreme.

Eatsmart Snacks Garlic Hummus Three Bean Tortilla Chips - REVIEW #Eatsmart

DISCLOSURE: I received free products from Influenster in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

A couple weeks ago, Zootopia was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. I had pre-ordered it from Amazon and as soon as it arrived, we did an impromptu movie night (never mind that it was 4 in the afternoon). I figured it would be the perfect chance to try the bag of Eatsmart Snacks Three Bean Tortilla Chip that I got sent in the Sprout VoxBox from Influenster.

Dunkin' Donuts Bakery Series Coffee House Party

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I was sent free products in order to host a Dunkin' Donuts Bakery Series Coffee House Party. All opinions are my own.

I love coffee. I drink at least one or two cups of coffee a day. Often, we use our Keurig to make our coffee, though, sometimes we still brew a whole pot if we know we'll be drinking more than one cup in one sitting. Recently, I had the chance to throw a party to share about Dunkin' Donuts Bakery Series Coffees. I was sent this fun package that included:
  • Dunkin' Donuts Bakery Series Coffee K Cups in Chocolate Glazed Donut
  • Dunkin' Donuts Bakery Series Ground Coffee in Chocolate Glazed Donut
  • Coffee Mug
  • Cupcake liners
  • Notepads
  • Pens
  • A chalkboard sign
  • Chalk

ECOS™ Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent, Magnolia & Lily - REVIEW #ECOS #DiscoverECOS

Monday, June 20, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

As a family of six, we do so much laundry. If we don't do laundry at least once a day, we quickly fall behind. With so much detergent being used, I've been trying to buy more detergents that are eco-friendly as well as effective and economical. That balance can be hard to find.

Recently, I had the chance to try ECOS Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent in Magnolia & Lily scent. It has a concentrated formula that is plant-derived. It protects colors and fabrics and has a built-in fabric softener to save money. It contains no formaldehyde or dyes and is ph balanced and gentle on skin. It can be used in both standard and he washers and combines high quality ingredients with a low price.

The detergent has a mild scent. It's nice and not overpowering. My sample was enough for one load in our he washer.

Our clothes came out clean and soft. I could barely even smell the magnolia & lily scent on the clothes, so if you are sensitive to scents, this should be fine. I would definitely use this detergent again.

ECOS Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent can be found in grocery stores, mass merchandisers, club stores and online. You can use their Store Finder to find your local retailer. A 50-oz container retails for $7.25, a 100-oz container retails for $10.15 and a 170-oz container retails for $16.90.

Making A Container Garden With Dresser Drawers

For years, my husband and I have talked about starting a container garden. We thought it would be nice to grow our own herbs, fruits, and veggies. But, we never really got around to it. A few months ago, my husband told me to Google container gardens and dresser drawers. He had read about them somewhere and thought it would be something we could do.

Sprout VoxBox from Influenster - Unboxing + Overview #SproutVoxBox

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

 DISCLOSURE: I received free products from Influenster in exchange for my honest review.

It's been a long time since I last received a big VoxBox from Influenster! And the Sprout VoxBox is certainly an interesting one. I'm not even sure what it was that qualified me for it, but I'm excited to try out all of the products that came in the box. Most of the brands in the box were actually new to me. I've only heard of two of the brands and have only tried products from one of them.

Here's a little unboxing video I did for the Sprout VoxBox. I don't have fancy video editing software and recorded this myself in my room. So, it's definitely low tech. (Like I just now noticed the cords from my window blinds in the shot!)

The Sprout VoxBox has products for your hair, face, body and your tummy! As I write up the review for each product, I'll also put the link to the review down below.

Here's what came in the Sprout VoxBox:
  • Orgain Organic Protein Powder in Vanilla Bean
  • Ecos Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent - REVIEW
  • Hair Food Moisture Collection
  • Eatsmart Snacks Three Beach Tortilla Chips - REVIEW
  • Curate Bars
  • Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme - REVIEW
  • Vichy LiftActiv Supreme - REVIEW

I'm not too sure about the protein powder, since I've never tried anything like that before. It's good to know that it's soy-free, since I'm allergic to soy. I'll probably be trying the laundry detergent first, since I have so much laundry to do!

Natural Bridge Park - Natural Bridge, VA

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A couple months ago, we had a chance to take a little road trip out to Natural Bridge, VA. We had visited the area about 7 years ago and had always talked about going back. While we were there, we visited the Virginia Safari Park (you can read about our visit here) and the Natural Bridge Park.

Healthy Baby Home Party - Spring 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Generation Good Community, I received free products in order to throw a Healthy Baby Home Party. All opinions are my own.

This past Mother's Day, I had the chance to host another Healthy Baby Home Party, thanks to Seventh Generation and the Generation Good Online Community. It was a fun way to educate family and friends about ways they could make their homes healthy and safe, as well as celebrating the Moms in our family.

Summer Bucket List 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I swear I've been sick FOREVER. It's been more than a month since I've put up any posts and it's because I've been sick in bed. I have a cough that just won't go away. And I'm all stuffed up. But, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer. So, that got me thinking about all the things I want to do with my kids this summer. I made a similar list last year but only got around to completing about half of it. This year, I'm hoping we can do the whole list!

Crochet: The White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Last month, I started crocheting a rabbit. I wanted to make it for Easter. But, I ran out of yarn and didn't get a chance to buy more until after Easter. So, I decided to turn him into the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland! I figured it would be fitting since this year is the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I searched Pinterest and Ravelry for free patterns on how to make a White Rabbit outfit, but I couldn't find any. At first, I was going to make a red sweater and a white vest with a heart on it. But, that was too complicated. So, I ended up using a pattern for a heart applique and then making my own pattern for the ruffled collar and the pocket watch.

Our Trip To The Virginia Safari Park - Natural Bridge, VA

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Several years ago, on the way back from a family reunion in Tennessee, we stopped off at the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA. It's a drive-thru zoo where you can see, pet and even feed a variety of different animals, including emus, deer, llamas and camels. My kids enjoyed it, but they were still pretty young (2 and 5) and they didn't really remember too much about it.

So, this past Spring Break, we thought it would be fun to visit again. My older kids are now 11 and 8 1/2 and we figured they would have a better idea of what was going on and could even feed the animals themselves.  My younger kids, ages 5 and 2, could also have fun seeing all the animals in the zoo.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid - REVIEW

Monday, April 11, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample from BzzAgent. All opinions are my own.

As I'm getting closer to that big 4-0 (just in two years!), I'm definitely seeing more changes in my skin. It's not as bright and smooth as it used to be. The skin tone has gotten uneven, I'm seeing my pores more, and I'm seeing lines where even just a few years ago, there weren't any! I've been paying more attention to my skincare routine and being more selective about what products I use.

About a month ago, I had the chance to try Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. It's a liquid exfoliant that rapidly unclogs pores, reduces the look of wrinkles and improves skin tone. It works on all skin types and non-abrasive. It
  • Stimulates collagen production for smoother, firmer skin
  • Is clinically proven to hydrate, brighten and reduce fine lines
  • Reduces redness and irritation thanks to green tea extract
  • Rapidly exfoliates the skin’s surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate
  • Is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free, with no added dyes or irritants
  • Is never tested on animals
  • NOTE: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid).

Get A Free Disney Inspired Wax Tart From Pixie Vacations!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

My family and I love Disney World. We try and visit at least once every couple years. There are certain scents that I've come to enjoy every time we visit Walt Disney World.  There's the smell of popcorn from the carts around the parks, the sweet smell of yummy treats from the shops on Main Street USA, the smell of Rome burning on Spaceship Earth, and even the smell of the lobbies of different Disney resorts, like the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian.

Pixie Scents are wax tarts that come in scents inspired by Disney World and Disneyland. They're handmade by Amber Griswold, whose parents are past Disney Cast Members and who now run a vacation travel agency, Pixie Vacations.

Amber Griswold (10) loves going to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. She's also very crafty and after a recent vacation at Walt Disney World, she decided to try and recreate her favorite scents from her trip in candles and wax tarts.
She started with Disney snacks: Main Street Popcorn, Pineapple Whips, and even Turkey Legs. Each scent brings you back to those vacation memories. Amber also has created the unique scents from the resort. Beach Club Resort is her favorite.

Each Disney inspired scent is available on her Etsy store: She only makes one scent at a time and when it sells out, it's gone. You can make suggestions for the next scent you want her to make on her Pixie Scents Facebook page and when that limited batch is ready, she puts them up on her Pixie Scents Etsy shop.
You can get a Pixie Cake for free! Now through October 1, 2016, Pixie Vacations is offering one of her Disney inspired snack scents as part of your Walt Disney World Vacation package. So, if you are planning a Walt Disney World Vacation for 2016, go over to Pixie Vacations to get a quick no-obligation Disney World vacation quote and the details for your Free Pixie Scent wax tart: