Property ID: UA-65729298-47 Health, Beauty, Children and Family

Carter's Eight is Great for Back to School Shopping

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

School is back and even if you homeschool, as I do, you want your children to experience all the fun that goes along with starting the new school year.  I remember growing up how much fun it was to prepare for school between school supplies and clothes shopping.  Things have changed since I was a kid which now seems a billion year's ago.  There are so many great places to buy clothes and although you can buy just about anywhere now, finding high quality clothes that won't kill your budget is a bit harder.  Carter's is a brand I trust that carries fresh clothing for all my children even shoes up to size 3.  The selections are trendy yet affordable.  Now that Carter's has size 8, I'm all geared up to get them off and running looking fabulous!  

When we went to Carter's way down in Savannah, Georgia, the kids had a lot of fun shopping for themselves.  From our littlest one at 12 months to two in size eight and one sometimes in a 10 or 12 pending the maker.  The stores are set up to find everything easily without having to feel like you are completing a mission impossible chore.  We went at an ideal moment right when they opened so there were no crowds ... or were there?  I was surprised at the amount of people considering it was a Sunday and they just opened!  

Another great aspect of shopping at Carter's is the ability to find cute, colorful outfits from modern coordinated collections as well as ready to play shorts and tees. I prefer finding suggested outfits as sometimes I'm a bit behind on what is trendy so relying on Carter's is optimal.  From the value to the quality, it's a win-win for back to school shopping.

Unfortunately, I just moved from Georgia to Indiana and my movers decided to split my household goods into two shipments so I'm waiting on my computer to arrive.  I was lucky to use one of my daughter's homeschooling computers and retrieved this photo from what I posted on Facebook (above) on the adorable outfit that she actually loves.  I bought two of the same so both girls would look amazingly trendy while both wearing size 8 in spite of the four year age difference!!

Walk don't run to your local Carter's for some fresh, happy clothes for this school year!  For extra information and more, check out Carter's on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest

#8isGreat #IC  #ad

Great Gift Ideas and Wish Lists with Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Anytime can be gift giving time but as we approach fall, Christmas won't be far away.  Given how much everything is centered around technology, Best Buy is the ultimate place to create a wish list and to find gifts for anyone on your life.  I've always turned to Best Buy from appliances to movies to music to gaming and more.  My family is a techie family and going to Best Buy is like the kid's version of a toy store for all.  If you are needing a gift, check out the Best Buy Gift Ideas page.  It has great ideas to easily inspire the best gift giving event.  Whether you need a gift idea for a birthday or some other event, Best Buy has the perfect gift for 'him,' 'her,' 'kids' or 'teens.'  The ability to search and find is also simplified with features such as price ranges from under $25,  to $25-$49.99, $50-$99.99, $100-$249.99 and above $250.

If you still can't decide, there is always the perfect Best Buy gift card option.  Whether you need it right away or prefer to e-mail, the options from regular postal mail to e-mail are available.  In case your loved one is unaware, you can always suggest they create a wish list as well.  I did this with my oldest when she got married.  To me, I want to ensure it's a gift that the person really wants so this ensures they receive that as well as something they don't already have.

The next time you need to give or get a gift, check out Best Buy's gift idea's page and wish list page to simplify your gift giving and gift receiving experience!

Secure Files & Increase Memory with SanDisk Products for Back to School Time

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I can't believe it's already time to get the kids ready to go back to school. Each year, it seems schools are relying heavier on technology regardless of the grade. As this technology becomes ever so common, so does the need to safely store and retain the files we don't want to lose. I can readily admit that I have a few back up devices to ensure my documents and files are safe from crashing computers. Going to school is no different and the need to protect school works and memories are just as important. One place I've always turned to is Best Buy for all my memory card support and back up. It's ideal for storing all my files from my devices. One brand that I've grown to trust is SanDisk for Digital Imaging. SanDisk products provide professional-grade camera memory to point-and-shoot SD cards to microSD cards that deliver top performance and reliability. SanDisk SD cards are also designed to meet the security, capacity, performance, and environmental requirements of next generation devices which is important given how frequently they are upgraded.

Some of the benefits of the SanDisk cards include:
  • The ability to capture more fast action as it can record more 4K Ultra HD and Full HD video to include the ability of fast transfer speeds up to 60MB/s for smartphones, tablets and cameras.
  • With over 10X faster than ordinary cards AND transfer speeds up to 80MB/s for DSLR cameras and camcorders, it's a must have for those that take pictures and record movies.
  • Did you know you can add a SanDisk microSD™ card to your smartphone or tablet? This allows you or your kids the ability to download and retain more of the media and apps you don't want to give up. The compact SanDisk microSD cards are perfect for the smaller devices.

What's more, the USB can be used for iPhone and iPad as well as for Android devices to transfer to computers saving valuable space on your devices.

I'ts really a great way to not only ensure the safety of files but to also free up space to maximize the device's ability.

Check out what SanDisk has to offer today!

Big Sound. Wireless Capabilities: Insignia™ Bluetooth and Plug In Speakers & Special Offer

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

The sounds of music can be therapeutic, it can be fun or exhilarating or even motivating.  Music invokes memories while it makes memories.  There are so many components that music brings into our lives that I would think it would be a rarity of the person who never listens to something.  The convenience of listening to music has dramatically increased since even my oldest was a teen.  With all the devices available, it's easier than ever to listen to something no matter where you are in a room but sound is not always as easy because devices don't have big rocking speaker sounds.  I recently discovered two speaker dynamos that doesn't break the check book either.  The Insignia Bluetooth and Plug In Bluetooth Speakers provide versatility and convenience.

The Insignia™ portable speaker features bluetooth technology so no wires to bog you down as you try to listen to your favorite music or even audio book.  It has a silicone strap and is really lightweight, compact and has a clip to conveniently hook on a bag, strap, belt loop and so forth.  Other great features include:

  • Ability to use it as a hands free bluetooth source for your phone for added safety.  I have an Android phone and have not bothered to get to know it as I'm longing for my iPhone so I haven't worked out how to use my phone feature in my vehicle.  As I return to work with a commute, The Insignia portable speaker will be the safest way I can carry on a conversation if needed while driving for emergency purposes.
  • Even though it's small, it delivers a lot of wow and it's splash-proof design makes pool side, rain or spilled drinks not so detrimental.
  • Compatible with most blue-toothed enabled devices increasing it's versatility.
  • Complete with an USB charging port so no batteries (applause)!
  • Rechargeable lithium batteries provide up to six hours of playtime when fully charged.
Here is how it sounds:

Overall, it delivers GREAT sound for the size along with the convenience of portability and the ability to use it on a phone.

The Insignia Plug In Bluetooth Speaker also delivers great sound while allowing the ability to move to any room.  Just pair it with your device, plug it in and you are ready to go!  I've used it with my phone while running on my treadmill.  The sound is great.  It turns any room into a wireless audio solution without the work involved in having it professionally done or speakers to place. Once it's charged, it does not need to be plugged in increasing the convenience.  Other features include:
  • Compatible with most blue-toothed enabled devices.
  • Auxiliary audio jack to connect non-bluetooth devices.  This is great for my Kindle and love that it provides this additional feature.
  • Build-in power adapter to maintain 100% charging at all times.
  • USB charging port to keep the electronic devices charged so no more seeing that warning battery low light.
  • Build-in rechargeable battery that continues to function up to two hours after unplugged increasing the convenience.
Having both speakers really provides the best options I found for those on the road or traveling as well as the ones at rest.  Both deliver great sound and are inexpensive given what you get back.  I like the sleekness of the Insignia Plug In Bluetooth Speaker.  It's white appearance blends in with most interiors while looking sophisticated and techy.

Right now, you can get 30% off any Insignia Portable Bluetooth Speaker by clicking the link.

To learn more about the Insignia Bluetooth and Plug In Bluetooth Speakers, visit Best Buy.

Don't Miss Shaun the Sheep Movie Coming to Theaters August 5

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Lionsgate. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Are your children a fan of Shaun the Sheep?  My littlest one is and cannot wait until August 5th when Shaun the Sheep Movie comes out in theaters!!!  She really enjoys it because it's funny and she likes Timmy.  If you aren't familiar with Shaun the Sheep, Shaun thinks and acts like a person in the barnyard which usually lands him into some trouble along the way.  My youngest likes the farmer's sheepdog, Bitzer because he's the hero who tries to keep everyone out of trouble.

I like that the themes focuses on teamwork, leadership and problem solving lessons within the movie.  In this action filled claymation, Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, however, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. He ends up enduring a mix up with the Farmer, a caravan, and a very steep hill that leads them all to the Big City and it's up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home.  Note, the film is geared toward children ages 4-10.

Have a peek at the official trailer:

The girls were happily anticipating the movie while having fun with the promotional items that we received as well.  We thought about having a little fun party before the movie but since I'm getting ready to move across states again, it was difficult to plan one.  The highlight for Elizabeth was the Shaun headband and I suspect she will be wearing it for the movie!

Don't forget to check out and join other Shaun the Sheep Movie fans on Twitter and Facebook. and use hashtag #ShauntheSheep to tweet out what your kids thought of the movie!  While you have a moment, check out this featurette called "Meet Slip."  My girls laughed and enjoyed it.

Don't Miss Shaun the Sheep Movie Coming to Theaters August 5!

My Little One and Little Remedies® Gripe Water and Gas Drops

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Little Remedies. I received a product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

My daughter started sewing and is really enjoying it especially making clothes for all the little ones.  With summer here, we are able to utilize the good weather to take pictures of all the outfits she's making.  Summertime is a great time to capture the beauty outside but tummy pains don't halt just because it's nice outside or someone wants a picture taken.  When upset tummies and other ailments hit the children, I turn to the line of Little Remedies® products because I want the best for my children from no artificial flavors, colors or alcohol.  They use the fewest and most natural ingredients which is important to me.  Their slogan says it all:  Little Remedies® Everything they need. Nothing they don't.®

He was already feeling bad with a gassy tummy before trying to take his pictures so we stopped, went inside and gave him some of the Little Remedies® Gas Drops which quickly relieved him of the excess gas he was suffering from.  What's also nice, you can actually mix a dose in with cool water, formula or other suitable liquid to ease the trauma in taking it if you have one of those picky little one's like my eight year old used to be.  Luckily, Conner loves medicine and readily takes it since he liked the natural berry flavor.

For times when he gets tummy pain, we also used Little Remedies® Gripe Water for post hiccup discomfort.  It's safe, gentle formula has no alcohol and is gluten free.  I like having options to turn to for my children and especially when those options are as natural as possible for my preferences.  Little Remedies® products provides what I feel is the best for my children without the unnecessary ingredients like alcohol, artificial colors and flavorings.

Additional information:

Little Remedies® Gas Drops

Quickly relieves tummy pain from excess gas. Safe remedy to gently ease stomach discomfort or bloating.
  • Relieves excess gas from food or swallowing of air
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • No alcohol, saccharin or preservatives
  • Dosage can also be mixed with 1 oz. of cool water, infant formula or other suitable liquids.

Little Remedies® Gripe Water
Eases tummy pain for infants. Natural, effective relief for your baby's upset stomach.
  • Relieves discomfort due to hiccups and colic*
  • Safe, gentle formula
  • No alcohol or gluten
  • Be sure to burp your baby during and after feeding to reduce air buildup.
Last night we used the Gripe Water and within 15 minutes he was no longer crying, fussy or appeared to be hurting.

Here is a great infographic on helping our little one's with gassy tummies:

For more information on Little Remedies®:

Little Remedies Site:

My Daughter, the Seamstress and Her Paris Inspired Dress

My oldest has found yet another skill she excels in and that's sewing.  For my younger one, she's the very happy recipient of many fine dresses.  I've been encouraging her to start selling dresses to help their family income since she's an at home mom.  She's also excellent in planning birthday parties down to each detail as well as many other things.  I'm really liking her desire to move forward with making dresses and can't wait for some of my own!

This is her Hi-Low dress she made inspired by Paris.  We bought the hat at Sears and even though it's a woman's size, it will grow with her helping to offset the costs.  My younger one is a diva and I suspect she will always be a fashionista.  She also has a huge love for all things British which makes sense since her maternal grandmother is from England and both sides of my mother and father's side originated from England and France.

She admits the front should be longer but my youngest is somewhat tall but her width makes her a smaller size.  My oldest is learning as she goes and this is providing her with great experience in understanding how to choose the different pattern pieces to match the size of the model.  All in all, she's having a lot of fun and she can turn out a dress in no time!

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1½ cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 stick salted butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Cheesecake Filling
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, beans extracted
White Chocolate Mousse
  • 4 oz. white chocolate baking squares
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 T powdered sugar
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Graham Cracker Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a spring-form pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine crushed graham crackers and brown sugar and mix with a fork
  3. Add the melted butter, egg and vanilla extract and mix until fully incorporated
  4. Press into the bottom of the lined spring-form pan and bake for 8-10 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and let cool
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 320°
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Add the sour cream, corn starch and vanilla beans and mix until the mixture is smooth and creamy
  4. Pour over the graham cracker crust and bake for one hour. The filling will be jiggly in the center when you remove from oven
  5. Remove from the oven and place on a heat safe surface for one hour. Do not remove the springform pan. You will remove it right before serving!
  6. Place into the refrigerator overnight to set, or at least 6 hours
White Chocolate Mousse
  1. Place mixing bowl in freezer or refrigerator to chill
  2. Melt white chocolate squares and let cool
  3. In the cold mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, gradually add powdered sugar and continue whipping until it forms stiff peaks
  4. Place in refrigerator to keep chilled
  5. In another bowl, beat the melted white chocolate and cream cheese together with a spatula until light and fluffy.
  6. Take the whipped cream and stir it into the white chocolate and cream cheese mixture. You do not have to be gentle while stirring. Don't be afraid to stir vigorously!
  7. Place back into the refrigerator to chill overnight. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to put the mousse onto the cheesecake
  8. Once you are ready to serve, spread the mousse over the top of the cheesecake and then remove the springform pan and the parchment paper
  9. Top with whipped cream, berries, chocolate or all three!

Recipe has been adapted from Inner-Gourmet Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

SNAPPower Guide Lights: Add Lighting without the Cost of an Electrician

My kids don't like pitch dark hallways or rooms nor do I mostly because I hate bugs!  I was playing around on Facebook and saw this post for SNAPPower Guide Lights.  What a great way to inexpensively add lights to any area.  All you do is take off existing outlet faceplates and switch out with the SNAPPower Guide Lights.   Grab your screwdriver and you are ready to go and it looks amazing!
Powered with LED sensors, the light turns off when the room is bright and turns on when it’s dark. The lights will last 25 years and it only costs 10 cents a year on average to operate.
Cost $15 for one $42 for a 3-pack

Cinderella Themed Birthday Party

My youngest chose a Cinderella party theme this year for her party and she fell in love with an idea from Pinterest even though I didn't nail it.  I was a bit behind in the planning stages as I was supposed to be out of town but things were cancelled so my oldest and I had to move fast with the party.  For the carriage above, I purchased an orange bulb, blue sheer curtains for the table skirt, a shade tent and gold paint from Amazon.  The cupcakes included these cute edible pumpkins that my oldest daughter made.
I ordered the clock, crown and letters from Hobby Lobby.

The invitation I made by taking a sketch of the castle and colorizing it and using the Cinderella font along with other font.

The cake was a traditional doll cake mold with the addition of the Cinderella doll.  Floral icing was added as well as a fondant top and butterflies.

Smoked Espresso-Rubbed Brisket Sandwich

I try to post more organic and natural type things but this one caught my eye.  Not only because it's from Chef Robert Irvine but it just looks fantastic and there is no reason you can't make it healther.  The Smoked Espresso-Rubbed Brisket Sandwich looks amazing!

Here's a peek at the ingredients but for the full recipe, click above on the link.

For the Espresso Rubbed Brisket:
5 lbs Whole Raw Brisket
2 oz Ground Espresso
6 oz Dark Brown Sugar
3 oz Kosher Salt
1 dash Ground Cumin
2 dashes Garlic Powder
3 dashes Ground Pepper
1 dash Cayenne
2 dashes Ground Cinnamon
For Horseradish Aioli:1 oz Prepared Horseradish, Drained and Squeezed
3 oz Mayo
2 oz Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper To Taste
For Crispy Pickled Jalapeno:1/2 cup Canned Sliced Pickled Jalapenos
1 cup Corn Starch
Fry Oil as needed
For Sandwich Assembly:8 Slices Taleggio Cheese (if not available, substitute Fontina or another semi-soft pungent cheese)
1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
2 cups Julienned Onions
6 ea Martins Brand Hoagie Rolls

Homemade Almond Butter Recipe

Everyone is trying to get healthier nowadays with all the bad information forthcoming about what is good for you or not or how it's made.  More than a couple of year's ago, I decided it was time to eat better for myself and children's sake.  Luckily, my children love almonds and I found this great recipe to make almond butter thanks to BudgetSavingDiva!
  • 1.5 Cups of Raw Almonds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Oil ( if needed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place almonds on a lined cookie sheet and baked for 2- 3 minutes
  3. Place almonds into the food processor ( only use blender if you do not have a food processor)
  4. Process for about 10 minutes -- it takes a while.
  5. If it is a little dry add a little oil
  6. Enjoy
  7. It makes about ¾th cup

by Sara

Banana Boat® Great Big Family Reunion and Best Summer Ever

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Banana Boat®. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I'm so happy now that summer has officially began because I love the warmer weather.  Sunny days and warm nights are the perfect time for getting together with family.  It's already been a very hot summer with intense sunshine.  I have a variety of ages to protect from an eight month old to four, eight and 12 year olds.  My middle one is a red head and requires a lot of sun protection which is why I turn to the line of Banana Boat® sun protection products due to their most comfortable line of sun protection products yet.  When I go outside, I immediately apply Banana Boat®'s reformulated Dry Oil Clear UltraMist® Sunscreen which now includes argan oil.  It's perfect for restoring moisture to my dry legs while providing protection from the sun's rays.  It goes on smooth and it's not oily which is a double bonus.

When applying sunscreen, you should apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to you and your kids’ entire bodies 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.  In spite of the terrible humidity and heat, it really lasts and provided the sun protection they needed.  There have been no sunburns so far!

For my children, I alternate with SunComfort™ Clear UltraMist®Sunscreen and Sport Performance®Lotion Sunscreen with Powerstay Technology.  The SunComfort™ Clear UltraMist®Sunscreen is also good for everyday use, allows sand to be brushed off easily and relieves dryness caused by the sun, chlorine and salt water.  The SunComfort™ Clear UltraMist®Sunscreenwas designed for those that are more active (i.e. young kids going crazy after school has let out for the summer!).  What I liked about this product is it really lasted long and It was light weight, sweat resistant as well as up to 80 minutes water resistant.  It absorbed quickly, was non-greasy and didn't run into my eyes like many do.  The heavy duty protection was perfect for playing in the little pool or mowing the yard.
For other big news, Banana Boat® Great Big Family Reunion offers summer fun in the sun good times for the whole family and visitors!  Just enter the sweepstakes for the chance for one lucky family to win a reunion for up to 50 of their family members and friends. Participants can also spin the Wheel of Fun for exciting activities to entertain their families all summer long!  I love having pre-planned activities to make it easier on me when entertaining.

It doesn't always require a lot to get family together and any excuse is better than none.  I've watched my family go from a family that held extended family reunions to none.  I find it sad that people are too busy to find time to get together.  Some of my fondest memories were summer time, in the sun, reunions with all my cousins and other family members.  This summer, I'm getting together with some of my cousins.  What about you?  Grab the Banana Boat and head out whether your family is small or large, have fun this summer!

Make sure to follow on social media for more information:

Banana Boat® Facebook:
Banana Boat® Twitter:


Here is a chance to win even more!  Share information on the Great Big Family Reunion sweepstakes to enter to win one of five $30 Banana Boat® Prize Packs including:
  • Banana Boat® koosie
  • Key chain
  • Draw string backpack
  • Three sunscreen products

Contest opens on June 8, 2015 and closes June 29, 2015.

To enter, choose a social media sharing option from the social media amplification tool!

Banana Boat “Great Big Family Reunion” Sweepstakes