Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Kids CAN Cook: Easy to Make Snacks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 

With back to school time creeping up on me, I'm coming to grips with the fact that, GASP! I'm going to have a middle schooler this year!  I know, I definitely DO NOT look old enough to have a child that old, but that is my reality.  Although I love when my kids go back to school, it is always such a chaotic time at our house. I also go back to my second job at the elementary school so we are constantly rushing around.  Now that my daughter is older, I can give her more responsibility around the house, like making an after school meal for herself and her little brother.  She knows how to turn on the over and read directions so I'm pretty sure she can handle this task!

I went to Walmart to pick up some easy to make (but delicious) foods to stock the freezer with.   My son is a pretty picky eater but I knew two foods that he would not say no to, Bagel Bites, made with real cheese and homemade sauce (and 0g trans fat) and Delimex.

And it was a good thing that we got the groceries when we did because someone was starving after cheer practice, and a smaller someone was hungry after swimming lessons.  So I put the older someone to work!

Since she already knows how to work the oven, the only thing she had to do was read the box to find out what temperature to set it to, put the Bagel Bites and Delimex taquitos on the baking pan and stick the pan in the oven.  This might not seem like a big task, but when you are running as much as I do, any small help is AMAZING.  Asking her to help me with tasks around the house teaches her responsibility which is so important at her age. 

My daughter has been asking me if she can start babysitting, and although I'm not sure I'm ready for that step yet, I know that if it ever comes down to it she will be able to cook something easy for herself and the kids she is watching.  Teaching her basic skills, like how to make herself an after school snack, really makes her so much more independent. Needless to say both kids polished off the entire box of Bagel Bites and a couple of the taquitos as well.

Of course it's always great when you can impress your little brother with your mean cooking skills AND get a delicious easy to make snack for yourself!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top 5 Uses for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for Ladies {Not Just For Cleaning Walls Anymore} Plus Giveaway

If you have ever used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get marks off of your walls, you have probably been amazed at how well it worked and how easy it was to use.  But have you ever wondered if Magic Erasers have any other uses?

Yes, they do...

As a matter of fact, these powerful little erasers have TONS of other uses that you may not have thought of. They are literally the most handy dandy little cleaning tool around.  Don't believe me?  Here is a list of 5 uses for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers that you may not have ever heard of (but now you will never forget!)

1.  Cleaning your flat iron or curling iron.  If your styling tools have product build up, you need to wipe them down with the Magic Erasers.  Good as new.

2.  Getting Hair Dye out of Bathroom Surfaces.  If you splatter your hair dye all over your bathroom sink or counter Mr. Clean Erasers will get the stains out of hard bathroom surfaces.

3.  Getting lipstick Stains off Glassware.  You run your wine glasses through the dishwasher but they lipstick stains don't budge?  Try a wipe with a Magic Eraser and the marks are history.

4.  Nail Polish Spills.  Quickly remove nail polish spills from granite or laminate counter tops

5.  Cleans Your Sneakers.  If your sneakers look like they've seen better days, wipe them down with a Magic Eraser and have them looking like new.


One of my luck winners will win some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers!  All you have to do is follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Mr. Clean. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review and compensation, but all opinions are 100% mine."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to School Tech Giveaway: Win a Chromebook!

Its almost back to school time, can you believe it?  I am not ready to be done with summer but I do like to get prepared early for the school year ahead.

At Mom Powered Media, we believe in higher education and want to help our network readers get there. To help you do just that, we are giving one lucky reader a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC.

There will also be 20 second place winners to take home Back To School Prize Packages. So what are you waiting for? Let's get BTS ready, tech-style!

Special thank you to our supporting co-host bloggers: Monica's Rants, Raves & Reviews, The Jenny Evolution, Memoirs of a Clueless Woman, My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life, My Daylights, Barbara's Beat, Saving You Dinero, Shaping Up To Be A Mom, Robyn's View, Coupons and Freebies Mom, A Hen's Nest, Budget Savvy Diva, Mutterings Of A Mindless Mommy, Your Sassy Self and Nest Full of New.

Open your sleek, next-generation HP Pavilion 14-Q020NR 14" Chromebook PC to get online, fast. You can access your favorite websites and Google Chrome apps on the 14-inch diagonal HD display in seconds. HP 14″ Chromebook PC features:
  • Intel Celeron 2955U Dual-Core processor 1.40GHz
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory
  • 16GB solid state drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN
  • Intel HD GMA Graphics
  • Webcam
  • SD memory card reader
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x Acer converter port
  • 3-cell lithium polymer battery for up to 8.5 hours run time
  • 2.76 lbs, 0.8" x 11.3" x 8"
  • Genuine Google Chrome OS Software

One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC. Twenty additional winners will also receive a Back To School Prize Package.

Giveaway ends August 15th at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

White Sox Host "Wild About the Sox" Presented by the Shedd Aquarium @WhiteSox

Program on August 6th to Feature Presentation by Shedd Aquarium Experts with Animals, Videos and Trivia.

The Chicago White Sox will host “Wild About the Sox,” presented by Shedd Aquarium, prior to the game on Wednesday, August 6, when the White Sox take on Texas at U.S. Cellular Field at 1:10 p.m.

“Wild About the Sox” is an educational field trip that leaves the confines of the classroom behind for a real-world lesson about marine life. Combining the excitement of White Sox baseball with an interactive and fun program about marine life, Shedd Aquarium experts will host a 45-minute presentation with animals, videos and trivia for fans at 10:30 a.m.

In order to attend “Wild About the Sox” activities, specially-priced tickets are available for purchase at whitesox.com/soxwild or by calling (312) 674-1000. Tickets for the event will not be available at the U.S. Cellular Field ticket window.

Fans attending can enter through Gate 5 starting at 10:15 a.m. The presentation will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Makes You Sparkle? #SparkleWithDASANI #ad

Disclosure: This post contains sponsored content, all opinions are my own

When our days and weeks get busy, and we're running from here to there, we sometimes forget to take time out for ourselves.  We all need a break for ourselves, to make sure we remember what it is that makes us sparkle.  Everyone "sparkles" for a different reason, its what makes us special.

After being a stay at home mom for many years I felt like I lost myself a little, between the diapers, bottles, laundry and dishes I forgot what it is to really live life to the fullest.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and LOVE that I was able to stay home with them, I would not have it any other way.  As my kids got a little older I had several wonderful opportunities knock at my door and you better believe I jumped on all of them.  So no, I am no longer a stay at home mom and I do not feel guilty about it either.  Why?  Because I have been lucky to find three jobs, yes three jobs that allow me to still be with my children.  Balancing home and work life is what makes me sparkle, an my "jobs" don't even feel like work!

My firs job is at my children's school.  I am a resource aid.  I get to work the same hours and days that my kids are at school, and I'm off when they are off.  My second job is as the office manager at my Taekwondo Academy.  I get to work out and hang out with the coolest and best people around.  My boss is totally flexible with my children's schedule and my daughter and I got our black belts in April.  And if I ever need to, I can bring my kids to work with me.  My third job is my blogging, yes its a job because it earns me an income but it never feels like work.  I have had some amazing opportunities through my blogging business that I may not have had otherwise.

So what makes me sparkle is that I take life by the horns, never turn down opportunity and live each day as fully as I can.  Sure, I may be tired at the end of the day, but we are not guaranteed tomorrow so today is the day to do what you can to make your life amazing.
Dasani wants to know what makes you sparkle and they have an AMAZING contest that you can enter! It’s as easy as uploading a photo of what makes you sparkle to twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SparkleWithDASANI. You’ll also want to like @dasaniwater so they can contact you if you win. The Grand Prize is a Sparkling Getaway to the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale, and includes airfare, hotel and spa treatments for 4. Winner will be selected in early August.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends Review

If you are familiar with the Gardening Mama games you do not want to miss the latest in the series, Gardening Mama: Forest Friends.  My kids LOVE these games for the Nintendo DS, especially my 6 year old son.  If you have not checked out these games, I highly recommend them.

Mama is back with her gardening gloves on, planting seeds of friendship! In this game you can make your animal friends happy by growing flowers, fruits and vegetables that they can sell in their forest shops.  I love the animation in this game, everything is so cute and it has a positive message!  You can use your stylus as a gardening tool to plant seeds, bulbs and saplings, then take care of them with water and fertilizer.

Once your plants have grown, you can harvest them and deliver your harvest to 6 different animal stores. Bear's Restaurant, Rabbit's Flower Shop, Cat's Beauty Shop and Squirrel's Cake Shop. Earn rewards like new flower bulbs and trees from your animal friends so you can make your garden bigger and better.  The animals then can grow their shops into bigger businesses.

My kids really like personalizing their gardens with  fences and sculptures to make them totally their own!  You can also earn points when you get what the animal friends need.  This game has so many options and creates hours of play time.

This game is very cute and great for any age and is available for the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS.  You can get a copy on Amazon for $29.96 with free two day shipping if you are a member of Amazon Prime.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What I Really Think of Dyson @Dyson

A few months ago I was contacted by Dyson to come and check out their newest models.  I was pretty excited because I have been curious for quite some time what the big deal was about Dyson.  They claim that their vacuums don't lose suction and they are the most powerful grime fighters out there.  I wanted to see for myself.

We went to the Dyson event and were introduced to several different models of vacuums.  I was pretty impressed with how much power was in these machines, even the cordless one.  I loved how all the parts and accessories snap together with ease too.  But I'm a realist, so my thoughts were, what happens in a few months?  Will this vacuum always be this powerful or will the performance just decrease over time?  Lucky for me, I got to bring home the DC65 Animal to try it out for myself.

Having two dogs and two young kids, my rugs and carpets take a beating, so I didn't waste any time trying out the new Dyson.  Needless to say the timing was perfect since my old vacuum was on its last leg, literally, it was on one last wheel.  First I vacuumed my rug using my old vacuum, which I spent about $40 on a year prior.  It was a bagless upright, from a pretty well known brand.  I felt ok when I purchased it since it was only $40, I figured that at that price if it broke I would just replace it.  Anyway, I vacuumed my rug with my old model, it picked up some dog hair and dirt, I went over the rug thoroughly to make sure I got everything I could. My rug is sort of a shaggy rug so I knew there was a chance that there was more dirt hiding in there. Next I vacuumed with the Dyson.  I instantly saw a difference in the handling.  The Dyson seemed to glide over the rug and was so much easier to turn and move due to its ball technology.

My old vacuum

After a few swipes of the rug I noticed how much hair and dirt the Dyson was picking up.  I thought I had done a pretty good job with my old vacuum but this thing was picking up a lot of dirt!  I was really happy with the results, the canister was filling up with gunk that the old machine left behind, which meant that my rug and my home was that much cleaner.  The Dyson also fluffed up the rug very nicely.  

The real test was going to be my son's room, which has an off white color carpet....right, not the smartest idea for a 6 year old boy's room but hey.  The carpet in my son's room is a basic short carpet, I never thought it could hide dirt.  I vacuumed it with the old machine and was sure the Dyson would not find anything.  I then vacuumed it with the Dyson and it was pulling up so much dust and dirt, I could not believe it.  The carpet actually looked whiter when I got done cleaning it.  

I was hooked on my new machine, the performance was very impressive, but how long would this last, how long until my filters get clogged and the suction, well, sucks?  I'm happy to report it has been several months and my DC65 is just as good as it was the very first day.  I cannot believe it took me this long to become a Dyson owner.  I only wish I had gotten this machine when the carpet in the house was new so that I could have made it look new longer by vacuuming with the Dyson.

If you think about how much money you spend on rugs and carpet for your home, and how much time you and your kids spend walking, sitting, playing on your floors, it only makes sense to invest in a machine that will keep them clean.  Here is a little info on the DC65 Animal

"The DC65 Animal has been built to achieve the highest suction at the cleaner head, twice the suction as any other vacuum. With its self-adjusting cleaner head and re-engineered brushbar, bristles dig deeper into carpets to remove more dust and dirt, while providing superior performance on hard floors. The DC65 has remodeled cyclones and uses the latest Ball™ technology. There's also a Tangle-free Turbine tool to remove dirt and hair from carpets and upholstery."

So my opinion, after several  months of using my Dyson, it is definitely an investment that every home needs. You will never go back to your old vacuum again!  My boss left for a trip and asked me to do some cleaning since we were going to be slow over the holiday week.  We have two vacuums there but I brought my Dyson to work....yes, I brought MY Dyson to work so that I could clean with it.

Update:  I had some people ask how the Dyson performs on hardwood flooring and my answer to that question is, wonderfully.  I have hardwood in my home as well and it goes easily between that and carpet and adjusts itself to each kind of flooring.

Disclosure:  I received a Dyson vacuum for review, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Win a private LEGO building lesson w/ LDC Chicago's Master Model #Chicago #Lego

Join in the fun with LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago’s new online photo contest, “#IWantToBuild” for a chance to win a private lesson with their Master Model Builder, David Howard, and build the LEGO model of your dreams!

Whether it be a giraffe, a freight train, the Eiffel Tower or whatever you imagine -David will sit down with one lucky LEGO fan and show them all the tips and tricks to make their dream creation come to life with LEGO. The contest runs now through August 29th

To enter:

1. Make a sign that says “#Iwanttobuild”
2. Hold the sign while taking a photo next to whatever it is you would like to build
3. Post your picture to LDC’s Facebook wall to enter the contest! Photos will be shared on LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago’s website and social media channels.

Ten finalists will be selected at random. From those ten, David will select his favorite as the winner. The winner will receive a private building session with LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago's Master Model Builder! More information is available at www.LEGOLANDDiscoveryCenter.com/chicago.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Zoe B. Organics Giveaway

Welcome to the Zoë b Organic Yum & Fun Giveaway! Hosted by Conservamom This fun giveaway features two of Zoë b Organic most popular products, the BPA free fantastic dish set and the Plastic free Beach toys. These two sets are a fun and easy way to teach your children about living an eco friendlier lifestyle.

This fantastic plate set is made of corn and not petroleum. Because we don't really know what plastic is really doing to our bodies, much of which is leaching into our bodies in the forms of BPA and phthalates which are known cancer causing agents. These plates are free of that giving us the security to know our kids are safe while eating.

This fun set of beach toys is not only made of corn base as well, but it is safe on our sea life in case it gets washed out. Plastic causes so much death to our ocean life and with this set your kids will have tons of fun with a product that is safe for our sea life.

To find out more about these products check out Conservamom's review.   These two fantastic products can add hours of fun and yum to your family and now you too could own them! So head below for your chance to win! One winner will receive a dish set and beach set retail $35! Giveaway is open to US only and ends on 7/18 at 11:59pm. Good luck!  

Most plastic leaches toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates into our food. And it’s made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource we have a nasty habit of fighting wars over. - See more at: http://www.zoeborganic.com/made-in-usa/bpa-free-fantastic-dishes-set-lime-pink.html#sthash.wx1RpLt7.dpuf
Disclosure: This Blog is not responsible for the fulfillment of prize. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.All opinions and experiences are Conservamoms. Open to the US & must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Conservamom will not be responsible for prize fulfillment. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom

Monday, June 30, 2014

Purina Light & Healthy for Your Dogs Weight Management {Plus Giveaway and Coupon} #lightandhealthy

We all know that being over weight is bad for our bodies and our health.  The same goes for man's best friend, our dogs are suffering from being overweight.  Here are some statistics that will make you look twice at your pooch's diet.

~ 22% of dog owners surveyed believe their dog is overweight. This is in stark contrast to the reality that 53% of US dogs are actually overweight

~ 41% of dog owners surveyed rely on their veterinarian to determine if their dog is overweight.

~ According to 36% of dog owners surveyed, ‘fed my dog smaller portions of the same dog food’ is the first action they took to manage their dog’s weight. When asked why they aren’t feeding a low calorie dog food, 40% of dog owners surveyed believe their dog will not like the taste.

~ 77% dog of owners surveyed would rather exercise with their dog than go to the gym.

Tips For Slimming Down Your Heavy Hound 

Helping your dog reach his ideal weight is important to his overall happiness and quality of life. Not only are healthy weight dogs able to exercise with ease, but his day-to-day activities are much more manageable. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy weight can help extend his healthy years.

Count Calories: Just like people, dogs need to consume fewer calories than they burn in order to lose weight. While some owners may achieve this by simply reducing their dog’s portion size, this can leave the pet feeling less than satisfied. Instead, opt for a low calorie food like Purina Dog Chow Light & Healthy which contains 20 percent fewer calories than Purina Dog Chow Complete & Balanced, and includes a tender and crunchy kibble blend , is steam-cooked at the start, and is made with high quality protein sources including real chicken. Its Light in calories, big on taste.

Perfect Portions: Portion control is also essential to both weight loss and healthy weight management. Always feed your dog as directed, and use an eight ounce measuring cup and on package feeding instructions to ensure you are providing him with the correct portion at each meal.

Get Moving: Slowly start adding physical activity to your dog’s daily routine. Exercise will not only help him maintain a healthy weight and support overall good health, but it can also strengthen the bond you share with your pet. Remember, it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian before beginning any new exercise regime.
Make a Plan: Develop a feeding plan that takes into account reduced calories, controlled portions and additional exercise. While it can be tempting, avoid sneaking your dog table scraps which are not complete & balanced and can sabotage his weight loss.

You can save $2.00 on your Purina purchase by printing the coupon HERE

One of my readers will win a 4lb. bag of Purina Dog Chow Light & Healthy, as well as 2 coupons that are good for one free 16.5lb. bag each!

All you have to do is follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget below!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway