Monthly Archives: March 2011

Classic Lunch & Go™ Heated Lunch Tote Review & Coupon Code For My Blog Readers.

I was very excited to be chosen to review the Classic Lunch & Go Heated Lunch Tote (www.warmandtote.com).  This versatile tote can be used hot or cold.  I like the fact that it allows me to keep food warm while we are traveling.  I am able to keep a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches warm for the kids even if they want to eat them 3 hours after we hit the road.  With 2 toddlers this is really great, plus if you are on the road for a trip you can keep food warm from a lunch stop and they can eat it later.  It is also great for keeping food cold so no matter the menu, you can keep lunch fresh.  Another thing I love is the adjustable strap it easily can be slung over my shoulder and feels secure, leaving my hands free for the multitude of other things I need to carry.  The 10″ by 8″ roomy soft sided bag allows me to pack a variety of foods very easily.  Keep a hot hero hot and a cold sub cold.

This tote is great to pack a childs lunch in school.  They can have a hot healthy lunch from home that will be nice and warm hours later.  This allows us to make healthy food that our kids will eat.  The tote comes with 1 reusable turbo heat pack that lasts for 5 hours hot and 8-10 hours cold.  The heat pack is heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer.

 

Take a look at their website-www.warmandtote.com- to see the variety of great products they carry like:

The Pre-School Bundle

The Husky Lunch & Go

Introducing a new larger Husky Tote Lunch & Go model for men. The best performing, most convenient lunch tote you can buy.

 

Warm & Tote is providing a coupon code for any order my blog readers place-Use 20% Coupon Code “MommyRamblings”

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Vacation Rentals vs Hotels, My Views on the Matter.

You may notice a theme here because I am in vacation-planning mode.  When Jimi is competing in Atlanta, at the USAPL Masters Nationals we will be staying at the Atlanta Sheraton, since that is where the meet is taking place. We will only be staying there for 2 days.  After that, we are driving down to spend a week on the gulf, in Dunedin, Florida.  We were scouring internet sites like Expedia  looking for hotels.   I will tell you, that has always been our choice for vacation lodging.  I have heard here and there, from friends, who stayed in a vacation rental, but really knew nothing about it and never ventured into learning more.  However, this time we just could not find a hotel where we wanted to stay, that had the atomosphere we wanted, so I took the plunge and started searching for vacation rentals.  I found that what I pulled up was great and that the reviews were that family after family loved this type of lodging. Most families said they would never stay in a hotel again.

Some of the things that are different between hotels and vacation rentals are that hotels are usually owned by a corporation and vacation rentals are  owned by families for the most part.  The owners of the vacation rentals tend to be very attentive to their guests and will really work to make your stay enjoyable. Often, the owners will communicate a great deal with the guests beforehand, finding out about their family and providing things that will make their stay more enjoyable. The owners for instance will be happy to tell you, they have sand toys, highchairs, cribs, etc to help families out by not having to pack those things.  Staying at vacation rentals is  supporting the mom and pop businesses and feeling more like extended family then just a reservation.  Another perk of vacation rentals is that they are usually pet friendly and most hotels are not, so this is great for families taking beloved Fido and Fifi along.  There is often much more square footage with a vacation rental than a hotel.  This is great for big families or it can allow friends to split the costs.  Most vacation rentals have multiple bedrooms, living area, full kitchen, patio or deck and a yard.  Often the rentals have bbq grills, bikes, boats, fishing gear, and even perks like sunset cruises depending where you are staying and what the climate is.

Vacation rentals vary in price and can be more expensive than hotels, but given the perks and the fact that the extra space can allow families to split the cost, helps to make it manageable.  Each rental will vary on what they supply and you have to understand that some require you bring your own linens, towels and cleaning supplies but many will provide all of that.  In addition, most vacation rentals have on site laundry so that really is convenient, especially when traveling with kiddies.  If your vacation rental is near a state park or beach, most rentals will include a season pass to those attractions so that comes in very handy.  Some vacation rentals will charge a cleaning fee and other do not.  Like any type of lodging you need to do your research and read lots of reviews.   Do internet searches and just don’t rely on reviews on the owner’s site.  If you do your homework, then you can make the decision which will work best for your family.  We booked with a vacation rental and I will be taking you along every step of the way, in the hope I can enlighten the novice as to what vacation rentals are like.  If you are a savvy vacation renter then be sure and post your tips here.

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Finding The Perfect Beach Bag.

We are soon going on vacation and I need to find a huge beach bag that will allow me to carry most of our stuff easily.  I saw the Whale Beach Bag online today by Saltwater Canvas.  It looks pretty good.  It says it can hold six beach towels and suits.  It is mesh so supposedly all the sand falls through the tiny holes.  Does anyone have this bag and what do you like about it.  Anyone have other recommendations?

morgan and riley at the beach with whale bag

This really looks like the size of the bag I need.  My husband will probably say I could fill up 4 of them, but he always says I pack too much stuff.  It is really nice because it was designed  for families. The colorful mesh is weatherproof, strong, and easy to see through. Sand and water shake out easily, and the bag dries quickly. It has 8 pleated pockets hold toys, magazines, paperbacks, sodas, food, diving toys, sunscreen and more. The inside holds a hefty 6 towels with room on the top for the beach ball. Newer models have a ninth inner zippered pocket and carabiner hook for keys. The wide doubled shoulder straps run the entire length of the bag for unbreakable strength. The Whale Bag measures 15″ across, 15″ tall, and is slightly oval. Machine washable.

So what do you think?

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Road Trips, Reviews, and Give-Aways!!!

Our Scentsationals give-away ended and Donna Woody is our winner.  Congratulations Donna, I know you will love this warmer and wax set.

So, we are planning our vacation.  We are driving down first to Georgia and then to Florida and staying for a week in beautiful Dunedin.  I have been planning and list making for this trip down with 2 toddlers.  We have a nice van so the kids are comfy, and they are kept pretty entertained with the DVD player.  I plan to bring their magna doodle pros because they really love them.   So, I was thrilled when I got a package in the mail to review of Jack Hartmann’s “Get On Board the Transition Train,” transition songs that teach.  I have listened to this cd at home and  cannot wait to play it on our big road trip.  The kids love it!!!

I cannot believe the amount of great and educational songs that are on this CD.  There are 28 songs on this CD!!!  This is great for long trips in the car to sing-a-long to and learn from.  This would also be great for anyone that runs a home daycare, nursery school or for home-schooling parents.  The quality is top notch and you should take a look at the website.  http://www.jackhartmann.com. Jack Hartmann’s Hop 2 It Music is a great site and resource.

These educational songs for children focus on the following curriculum skills:
Starting & Ending the Day – Lining Up Quietly – Good Listening – Cleanup Fun – Circle Time Learning – Positive Behavior – Playground Rules – Zero the Hero – Washing Hands – Phonemic Awareness – Bathroom Do’s & Don’ts – Calming Down – Gross Motor Fun – 100 Days of School – Positive Lunchtime Behavior – Exercising & Fitness – 60 Beat per minute Brain Building – Crossing the Mid-line.

Transition Train

Get On Board the Transition TrainTM
Transition Songs that Teach

Jack Hartmann’s new CD

You can see the 28 songs and listen to them on the website–http://www.jackhartmann.com/cdproducts/transitiontrain.php

 

To enter the give-away, leave me a comment on my Facebook Mommy Ramblings page of why(http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382?ref=ts) you would want this CD.

For additional entries:

Share the give-away on your Facebook status and leave me the link to your page on my Mommy Ramblings Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382?ref=ts)

Share on Twitter and leave me the link on  my Mommy Ramblings Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382?ref=ts)

Some of my readers have given up Facebook for lent so you can leave your comments on this post and it will count.

Give-away ends 12am EST April 2, 2011

Good luck everyone!!!

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Mighty Casey is a Mighty Good Book!!!

I love books, love to read, love to read to my kids and love finding great children’s books.  My husband will tell you I have too many books.  I know it is all moving to electronic readers but I have not fully embraced that yet.  One area I really feel the need for a real book is when I read to my kids.  I mean it is so engrained in me from being read to as a child, to being read to in school.  We had this great librarian in elementary school and she would always end our library day with reading us a book.  She made a very big production and would light a candle and when she was finished the story, she had one of those brass candle snuffers to put it out.  This was very cool for a 7 year old and I would recreate that scene many times as I played school as a child.

I have always loved reading to my kids and started when they were born.  Actually I read a lot when they were in utero.  I even had the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh Baby, The Places You’ll Go!” which was written to read to our children in utero.  My older kids loved to go to book stores more than toy stores and we went often.  We would come out with armfuls of books and everyone would be so happy.  Unlike me, my older kids can read in the car without getting sick and you would never find my daughter without a book.  Her love of books was so memorable that her brother who was a little more than 18 months younger wrote a story in 4th grade about how she had packed way too many books on a flight to our vacation and the plane crashed.   When we crash landed, the bag of books fell on her 3-year-old brother’s leg and broke it.  It was a funny story and since they had the same 4th grade teacher, she could not help but laugh because she knew how true the story could be.

Anyway, so now the two little ones are in that great stage of loving being read to.  Last weekend I went to a favorite store of mine, that is a book goldmine.  I was by myself and took a long time perusing over the many children’s titles.  I got some books for their Easter baskets but I also got some nice story books.  I have not gotten to read that many of the new books because my 3 year old is obsessed with one of the books.  I knew when I saw it he would like it because it was about baseball, but I did not know how much he would love it.  We read it a few times and then he pours over the pages himself.  He knows the names of the kids on the team.  In the stands we have to find Daddy, Mommy and all his brothers and sister.  We talk about the various things the kids are doing and I cannot tell you how much he loves this book.  Luke (2) likes it too but Ethan just loves it.  The funniest thing was when my husband read it for the first time to the kids, he started tearing up at the end.  I mean it is a feel good story about an underdog team of pretty bad players coming through in the end.  If you have a little sports fan, you should check out this book.  It is great for us because Ethan is about to start his first season of T-ball.  I highly recommend this book.  It is titled, “Mighty Casey” and it is by James Preller and illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

 

 

 

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Spring???

Where did you go???  Last week was so beautiful.  I was able to fitness walk outside instead of on the treadmill, but than wham we got slammed with some snow.  I am not really bummed because it is Spring, it is the end of March and we are moving into April.  How long can it last?  Even today was mild albeit snowing at some points.  Oh, and I did get to see the flowers bloom.  Crazy, you think I am crazy?  I really am not that far gone yet.  : ) My Hibiscus tree (inside) is blooming and it just gives everyone a taste of Spring, even my husband, who usually will complain about my houseplants.  He complains because he is often the caretaker who gets stuck watering them.  However, today he pointed the beautiful blossom out to me.  The dogs enjoyed romping in the snow and the kiddies enjoyed playing in the fresh air on the porch.  We have a few cool days but they will be nice and sunny.  I am hopeful next week we will see higher temps and greener pastures.  Until then I am enjoying the crackling fire and feeling cozy with my family.

Don’t forget our Scentsationals give-away ends soon so be sure and get your entries in.  I am warming some cinnamon vanilla now and it smells so good.  We have so many great reviews and give-aways coming up so make sure you subscribe to the blog and like us on Facebook so you don’t miss any.  Happy Spring everyone!!!

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ScentSationals Warmer & Wax Review and Give-Away!!!

I was delighted when I heard ScentSationals wanted me to review a warmer and wax.  I got to pick a warmer and I chose the Antique Greek as I loved the pottery look and felt it would go well with my decor.  I picked three wax scents and chose, No Place Like Home,  Black Raspberry Vanilla and Vanilla Bean.   My warmer and wax arrived shortly after and I absolutely love the design of the warmer.  It definitely has that pottery feel and look I love.

The warmer uses an included 25 watt light bulb to heat the wax and that really appealed to me because with little ones around, candles can be dangerous.

The top of the warmer has a well for holding the wax cubes as they melt.   The top is very nicely glazed so when you pour out the wax all you need is to wipe it with a paper towel and it is clean and ready for the next use

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The warmer has a nice length of cord that allows you options in placement.  The cord also has a switch to turn the warmer on and off without having to unplug it.  I set it up in my kitchen and the first scent of wax I chose to use was the “No Place Like Home.”  You simply break off 1 wax cube and put it in the warmer and turn it on.  In no time the wax starts to melt and release a fabulous aroma that filled my whole house.  I loved the smell of the “No Place Like Home” the comforting essence of sweet cinnamon, warm clove and fresh nutmeg accented with subtle nuances of fresh basil and eucalyptus filled my home with a pleasing aroma that made me feel comfortable and cozy.  I went out for a walk and upon coming home it was the first thing I smelled when I opened the door and it made me smile.

 

The great thing is the fragrance lasts and the instructions tell you if you put it on for an hour in the morning and an hour at night, that your home will have lasting scent.  This is true but I love mine so much, I keep it on even longer.  When you are ready to shut it off you simply pour the wax back in the tray and it will harden and you can use it again until you feel it does not have scent left.  The next day I tried the ” Vanilla Bean” and that had a wonderful aroma that just made my home smell so pleasing to us all.  The following day I tried the “Black Raspberry Vanilla” and loved that too.  I immediately went to http://www.ScentSationals.com and ordered 4 more scents.  I truly love this warmer and use it everyday.

Take a look at their website and see all the warmer designs and wax scents they have.  I think you will be very impressed.  The price of the products is very affordable and much less then similar companies.

The ScentSationals Company is sponsoring a give-away for my blog readers.  One lucky reader will receive the Antique Greek warmer and the three scents of wax I mentioned above.  All you have to do is visit the http://www.ScentSationals.com page and tell me a product you would like to try then leave the comment on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382).  You can get a second entry if you like ScentSationals on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ScentSationalsWicklessCandles?sk=app_4949752878) and comment on my Mommy Rambling’s Facebook page that you liked them.  You can get a third entry if you share this give-away as your Facebook status and comment with the link to your page on my Mommy Rambling’s Facebook page.

If you have given up Facebook for lent you can leave your comment here and it will get you an entry in the give-away.  Give-away ends March 26th at 12 am EST.   Good luck everyone!!!

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Winners!!!

Our winners for the Kimber Cakeware Batter Babies are:

Rhonda Coffman Bates

Emily Harris Hemming

Sarah Ostergaard

Emily is a very lucky lady she won our last give-away for the personalized book.  I use Random.org for my drawings so luck is on her side.  Our next give-away is going to be the Scentsationals Antique Greek Warmer & Wax.    Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to everyone on the upcoming give-aways.

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Batter Babies Review & Give-Away!!!

Kimber Cakeware (http://www.kimbercakeware.com/) sent me some products to review, and yesterday I tried out one of them.  I used the Batter Babies.  Batter Babies allow you to make one of a kind cupcakes of two flavors or colors.  This neat little gadget works really well and is very easy to use.  You just put the Batter Baby in the cupcake liner that is in the pan.  You put one kind of batter on one side of it and another kind on the other side and remove the Batter Baby and bake.  The result, is a cupcake that has different colors, flavors or both.  It is really neat for making special cupcakes.

You could do pink and purple for a princess party, or use school colors for a sporting event, the possibilities are as vast as your imagination.  To make this really neat and easy you can put the different batters in squeeze bottles and it makes filling the cupcake molds very easy.  I did not do that because I was in a bit of rush and my cupcakes still turned out great.

Kimber Cakeware is sponsoring a give-away for my blog readers.  We will be giving away 3 sets of these to 3 lucky winners.  Each set contains 6 Batter Babies.  So get ready to bake some cool cupcakes and your friends will be wondering how you did it.  All you have to do is leave a comment on my Mommy Ramblings FB page ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382) of what you think would be the first combination you would bake if you won.  That will get you one entry, you can earn another by visiting Kimber Cakeware on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kimber-Cakeware/146735632016017?ref=ts) and liking their page and leaving me a comment that you did that on my Mommy Ramblings FB page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Ramblings/142284565832382).  Give-away will end Monday March 21st at 12am.  Give-away is open to residents of  USA & Canada.  Good luck and happy baking!!!

A friend let me know she really wanted to enter this give-away but gave up Facebook for lent.  So I am modifying the rules that you can leave the comment on this blog of what combo you would bake first if you win the give-away.

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Glorious!!!

That is the word I would use to describe the almost 3 mile walk I just took.  It was very mild here and although it was not sunny, Spring was definitely in the air.  While I have walked on mild days in January there are many differences today.  Today, the smells are different, and like I can smell the coming of the first snow in Autumn, I can smell Spring.  I can’t tell you exactly what it is but it is unmistakable and fills me with a hope and faith that is hard to describe.  This walk did as much if not more for my mental fitness as for my physical.  I walked with Sassy and Zoey, not daring to take Delilah, who would probably decided a few hundred feet into the walk, that she did not want to continue.  She is truly too heavy for me to lift up and I had no stroller to wheel her home in, if I somehow managed to lift her.   When I take her, Jimi and I will need to go together and if she decides to just lie down and not move any more, one of us will have to run back home for the car.

Anyway, I walked with a smile on my face, so grateful for the chance to walk in the beauty that surrounds me.  As I get older I know too well just how short life is.  How we never know if it will be our last day or a loved one’s last day on this Earth.  Given the tragedy in Japan, I do not take lightly the fact that I can walk, breathe fresh air and feel safe.  Sometimes I feel like Heidi, but I love “my mountain.”  It will not be long until the remaining thin layer of ice on the lake melts, until the water is full of boats and kids and life.  While I was thinking of why it felt so different to walk today than say in January on a mild day, it hit me!  The birds, the beautiful songbirds, our snow birds who take off to spend their winters in the south were back.  Not only were they back but they were singing loudly and it was so beautiful to hear.  As we came upon a house on the other side of the lake, a man who was putting up sheet rock inside a house stepped outside.  It was near quitting time for him and he was putting some of his tools in the bed of his truck.  He saw Sassy first and called to his co-worker in the house, “Hey, a little dog!”  Then he saw Zoey and I approach.  He was adjusting things in his truck and he said, “Wow, more people walking around here then cars.”  I don’t know if he expected this small private lake to be like the Indy 500, but he said it, like it almost annoyed him.

I replied, “Well, it’s a beautiful day!”

“Could be better”, was his flat reply.

I thought for a moment, maybe he was having a bad day.  Maybe he was the kind of person who felt everything could be better.  Maybe, he had a fight with his wife or lost someone close to him.  However, I told him that is was good enough and that it will get better.  He muttered something and I thought a moment and as I passed the house I turned and looked over my shoulder in his direction and called out, “I’ll take it!”

 

The day lilies breaking through the ground.

Who says you can’t bury your head in the snow?

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