Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Redbox Giveaway

Redbox is kicking off the summer by asking moms, "What's your favorite video game to play together?" Join in the fun by entering for a chance to win a giveaway for free video game rentals from Redbox and a chance to win $10,000 as part of the Redbox Summer of Fun & Games Sweepstakes.

It’s game time! Redbox, America’s favorite destination for movie rentals, is now renting video games in 21,000 kiosks nationwide for $2 a day. Redbox is truly a one-stop shop for affordable, family home entertainment with both games and movies.

As a family, we have a weekly movie or game night. For us, this usually means playing a competitive game on the wii. Even my 86-year old grandmother plays the wii! Our favorite game is probably Mario Kart because my kids love to race each other and we are big Mario fans. Sometimes it can get pretty tense when we're all trying to win. It's always fun though!

Does your family play video games together? If so, what's your favorite game? Leave a comment on my blogfrog discussion and you'll be entered for a chance to win 5 free video game rentals from Redbox. For one additional entry, tweet or blog about this giveaway and leave a link on the discussion.

Redbox is celebrating summer family time with a great line up of family-friendly titles, awesome savings and two chances to win $10,000 as part of the Redbox Summer of Fun & Games Sweepstakes.*


4 Easy Ways to Enter:

1. Enter your email address at www.redbox.com/summer

2. Rent a movie or game at a redbox kiosk (and provide a valid email address at checkout)

3. Reserve a rental online at redbox.com

4. Text 'SUMMER' to 727272

Enter to win today!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Redbox. The opinions and text are all mine.

*Each item rented earns one entry, regardless of how long it is rented, up to three entries per day. Limit 3 entries per day, regardless of entry method. The sweepstakes begins May 27, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. CT and ends on August 1, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. CT. No purchase necessary. See official rules at www.redbox.com/summer.



Monday, May 2, 2011

Libman Freedom Spray Mop



I have fallen in love... with a mop.

I received a Libman Freedom Spray Mop recently and have been using it almost every single day. This mop is amazing. With 6 young children who are running through the house all day long, my floors need frequent TLC. And I can't sleep when my house is a mess. It's a bad combination.

Up until now, I've always used a traditional mop and bucket to clean my floors. I don't like to use harsh chemical cleaners and I don't like the idea of using disposable products in my home. A reusable mop and bucket of water and vinegar (or a "green" cleaner) has always worked for me, although it is a bit more work than some other types of mops. Because of the time it takes to fill the bucket and the little curious hands that often find their way into my bucket, I've been guilty of not mopping as often as I should and instead settling for running the vacuum and wiping spots with a rag by hand. Yes, I am that crazy.

Now that I have started using the Libman Freedom Spray Mop, I'm mopping more often and spending far less time doing it. I am not ashamed to admit that I have fallen in love with this mop. Let me tell you why...

The Libman Freedom Spray Mop is unique because it lets you use whatever type of cleaning solution you want to use and it sprays it right where it needs to be-on your floor. You love good old-fashioned water & vinegar on your floors? No problem. You want to use a certain type of cleaner? No problem. You just want to use plain water? No problem. You want to use more than one type of cleaner for different types of floors in your home? That's ok, too. The Freedom Spray Mop has a refillable bottle that allows you to add your own cleaning solution. You can even get a second refillable bottle and a handy stand to hold a different cleaning solution so that you can easily switch back and forth as needed. It's incredibly convenient.




The Freedom Spray Mop is the perfect green cleaning mop. The cleaning pads are reusable and washable so there is no extra waste. These pads are tough, too. They are made of microfiber and have little layers of scrubby strips that help get up tough, messy spots on the floor. I have been amazed that my mop has cleaned up a sticky glob of peanut butter, smooshed raisins, and even a big splat of spinach and fruit smoothie, without any effort on my part. I just squirt, mop, and I'm done.

One of my favorites things about the Libman Freedom Spray Mop is that it is so convenient. The mop has a little hook that allows it to easily hang for storage. There are no batteries needed to make it spray. The mop head swivels for easy cleaning in hard-to-reach spots. The refillable bottle keeps cleaning solution ready to go so there is no bucket to fill and no measuring needed. I literally just grab the mop and start cleaning. My floors have never been so happy.

The Libman Freedom Spray Mop has a fitting name. This mop gives you the freedom to choose your own cleaning solution, freedom from batteries, freedom from having to buy any kind of refills, and freedom from the old mopping bucket. I have never been so excited about a mop.

Besides all of the benefits of being green, the Freedom Spray Mop also saves money. There are no expense cleaning solutions or costly refills. There are no disposable cleaning pads. And you can even get a rebate coupon to buy the mop. I am still amazed because it's actually cheaper than my regular, old mop and bucket! Visit the Libman website for coupons.

You can enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer and a Freedom Spray Mop from Libman. Just leave a comment telling me any great cleaning tips you have to share. Check out more cleaning tips from Libman and enter for more chances to win at BlogHer.






Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.



This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.








Visit the Official site




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Birth Matters Giveaway


I am giving away a copy of Ina May Gaskin's new book, "Birth Matters." Ina May Gaskin is America's leading midwife and the author of several books. Her latest book explores modern maternity care in the U.S. and the underlying causes of our poor maternal and neonatal mortality rates. It's an eye-opening exposure of how birth impacts our culture.

For a full review, please check out my main blog.

To enter to win a copy of "Birth Matters," leave a comment on this post.

Giveaway Rules: -No duplicate comments. -You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post Giveaway ends on May 8, 2011 and winner will be selected at random, using Random.org.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Newman's Own Organics

I have been a fan of Newman's Own Organics ever since trying their "Fig Newmans" cookies a few years ago. In general, we don't buy many packaged foods but there are exceptions-especially when we're on a road trip and need portable, easy snacks. While I knew about Newman's Own Organics cookies, I had no idea that there are so many other tasty treats.
Like chocolate, for example.

When cruising the aisle of my local health food store, I can across a shelf of assorted chocolates. I had no idea that Newman's Own Organics made gourmet chocolate bars. For the record, the espresso is my favorite. Heavenly.
When a box of samples arrived on my doorstep, I was shocked. There were almost more snacks in the box than my kids had eaten in the last year! I was delighted to find various organic dried fruits. We mixed the dried fruits with some pretzels and added some seeds and dried coconut that we already had in the pantry. It made a delicious trail mix!

I rationed the chocolate bars and told the kids that they were just for Mommy. They were just too rich to share. The kids got to enjoy several different kinds of cookies though, so they didn't really mind.

One of my kids' favorite snacks was a structural engineering work of art. We used a bag of Newman's Own Organics pretzel rods to construct a log cabin, held together with peanut butter and apple slices. It was as much fun eating the log cabin as it was creating it!
Newman's Own Organics is a division of Newman's Own and Paul Newman has given over $200 million to charities since 1982. The Newman's Own Organics products are all certified organic. They have coupons available on their website too.


I received a box of samples from Newman's Own Organics.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Petunia Pickle Bottom Abundance Boxy Bag

If you have ever had twins (or more than one child in diapers) you know that there is never enough space inside the average diaper bag. A "simple" outing requires packing a bag full of diapers, wipes, two changes of clothing, snacks, a random toy or two, and the entire contents of your purse. It's just not pretty. Only now it is pretty! Enter the Petunia Pickle Bottom Abundance Boxy Backpack. It's the newest bag from the company known for chic bags, unique designs, and attention to detail. They make diaper bags look beautiful. The Abundance Boxy Backpack from the 2011 Spring Collection is their first bag designed specifically with mothers of multiples in mind. (The bag pictured above is the Wistful Weekender from the Spring 2011 Collection.) I jumped at the chance to try one of these gorgeous new bags with my crew of multiple multiples. Diaper bags are no stranger to me. I have had at least one child in diapers for the last 8 years and at least 2 children in diapers for the last 6 1/2 years. In fact, when my second set of twins were born I had 6 children under the age of 6 and 5 of them in diapers. Diapers have become part of my life... and to make things even more interesting, I've always used cloth diapers. When you have multiples, you just can't pack light. When faced with the possibility of two (or more) hungry, crying babies needing a clean diaper, you have to be prepared. I always have a loaded diaper bag in my van so that I don't have to worry about running out of diapers or needing a spare outfit when one of the little ones makes a mess on himself while we're out. I pack an extra bag for outings so that we have snacks, extra diapers, and all of the necessities in a bag that can be put into the stroller. Petunia Pickle Bottom's Abundance Boxy Backpack is the perfect solution for moms of multiple little ones. The bag can be worn as a backpack (to keep hands free!) or carried using the messenger strap. One of my favorite features is that the bag can be used with Petunia Pickle Bottom's Valet Stroller Clips so that it can be securely attached to the handle of your stroller. For me, this is a big deal because our stroller is a Quad Runabout and doesn't have the traditional under seat storage of a standard stroller. There is only one storage basket under my stroller so the ability to hang my diaper bag from the stroller handle is a huge benefit. I can pack everything I need without worrying about carrying a loaded diaper bag. Like any good diaper bag, the Abundance Boxy Backpack includes a detachable changing pad and the entire bag has a wipeable exterior fabric (that is PVC-free) for easy cleaning. The front of the bag actually unzips to reveal an entire diaper changing station, complete with the changing pad, a Petunia Pickle Bottom wipes case, and numerous pockets for organizing diaper changing supplies. I love the way this part of the bag is organized because I can keep my wipes solution right where I need it. I store my dry cloth wipes in the wipes case and add a bit of diaper wipe solution from my squirt bottle. The interior of the bag even includes a removable (velcro) zippered diaper pouch. I haven't used the diaper pouch for dirty diapers because I carry a larger, separate wet bag for our cloth diapers but I have found the pouch is perfect for holding my sunglasses so they don't wind up at the bottom of the bag. The interior of the Abundance Boxy Backpack is roomy enough to hold clothes and diapers for several little ones. I love it! This is the perfect diaper bag for multiples. I can easily fit enough cloth diapers and extra clothes for my youngest set of twins, sweaters for my older set of twins, several board books, a bag of snacks, 6 apples, 6 stainless steel water bottles, and the entire contents of my purse. The 4 bottle pockets are perfect for our water bottles and there are so many pockets inside the bag that it makes it easy to stay organized. Plus, there is a key clip at the very top of the inside of the bag so that I will never have to dig for my keys again. If you have ever stood in the rain, searching for your keys at the bottom of your bag while your children wait for you to load them into their car seats, you know you need that feature! And while they may not be a necessity, the chic design and modern fabric choices make this bag a fun and fashionable choice for any mom. Having multiples elevates many new moms to instant celebrity status and with a diaper bag like this, even more heads will turn. I actually feel like I have it all together when I leave the house with my Petunia Pickle Bottom designer diaper bag. (I don't, but it's still a good feeling!) Are you a mom of multiples or do you have several little ones in diapers? Tell me what you think you'd like about the new Abundance Boxy Backpack from Petunia Pickle Bottom and you could win one!







Giveaway Rules: -No duplicate comments. -You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post Giveaway ends on March 25, 2011 and winner will be selected at random, using Random.org.
Congratulations to Tracy, winner of the Petunia Pickle Bottom bag!
I received an Abundance Boxy Backpack from Petunia Pickle Bottom for this review, in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So Delicious Coconut Milk

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and So Delicious.



In my never-ending quest to feed my family fresh, healthy, organic foods, I've found a new secret ingredient. Coconut milk! Actually, I have used coconut milk before, but I had never realized that there are so many uses for it and that it even tastes good as a substitute for regular milk.

Several years ago, my oldest son went on a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. At the time, it was extremely difficult to find alternatives to dairy products that my son would actually eat. These days, we don't have the restrictive diet but we still limit dairy for various reasons. The problem is that many of the dairy-free products just don't taste that great.

I am so excited to have found So Delicious Coconut Milk! Coconut milk is naturally gluten-free and cholesterol-free. It's also a good source of calcium and Vitamin B12. It can be used in place of milk, but it is completely dairy-free. Many dairy-free products use soy (and we avoid soy) so I was very happy to see that coconut milk is a healthy alternative to soy milk as well. So Delicious Coconut Milk is Kosher, vegan and it's made from verified non-GMO organic coconuts. Coconut milk is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are good fats that your body can easily burn and turn into energy instead of storing as fat in the body. (A natural energy boost? I am sure I'm not the only person who could use some of that!)



In the past I have used coconut milk for cooking. It's perfect for making Thai stir-fry or for drizzling over oatmeal in the morning. But, until now, I'd never thought of using coconut milk as a replacement for cow's milk. So Delicious Coconut Milk is light and creamy and has the same consistency of cow's milk-it's not thick like the canned coconut milk I usually use. I decided to do a little experiment and see if I could completely eliminate regular milk from our diet for a week.

Here's how I used So Delicious Coconut Milk 7 ways in 7 days...

When I have my morning coffee (or should I say coffees) I always use a bit of milk. If I make an espresso drink, I use even more milk. Instead of regular milk, I have now been using coconut milk. I chose the So Delicious Coconut Milk's vanilla flavor for my coffee and it is perfect. It tastes just like regular milk but adds a slight hint of vanilla that makes my coffee taste even better! So Delicious also makes an Original and Unsweetened version of their coconut milk.
For breakfast, my children often have oatmeal (made on the stove or in the slow cooker) or cereal. Yesterday I made a huge pot of oatmeal on the stove and switched up my usual recipe. Instead of using water, I used coconut milk in place of 1/2 of the water. It made the oatmeal deliciously creamy and (in all seriousness) my oldest son declared that it was the best oatmeal EVER. That extra bit of creaminess from the milk was just right.

I often use milk in baking recipes and our family usually has pancakes one morning on the weekend. Again, I substituted So Delicious Coconut Milk for regular milk and ended up with perfect pancakes. They looked and tasted just like regular pancakes but were dairy-free thanks to the coconut milk.
Although we don't drink milk, we do use milk on cold cereal. The ultimate test was to see if I could swap out regular milk for coconut milk in the cereal bowls. It worked. My kids actually preferred the coconut milk over the regular milk. I am really happy about this because I've often considered going completely dairy-free again but knew it would be tough. We do such a good job of limiting it already that I know I could make the switch to coconut milk and feel better about the health benefits.

When warmer weather rolls around I am going to try making smoothies with So Delicious Coconut Milk. Once the berries are in season I can mix up some sweet frozen treats! In the meantime, we are embracing the cold weather and enjoying hot chocolate instead. I made an entire batch of homemade hot chocolate on the stove, using organic cocoa powder, organic sugar, water, and coconut milk. For an even richer taste, I tried the vanilla flavored coconut milk and the hot chocolate was even more creamy and delicious.


One of my favorite dinners (and the first to introduce me to coconut milk) is a Thai-inspired stir-fry. I use some combination of fresh ingredients from my CSA produce box-onions, cabbage, sunchokes, broccoli-whatever I have on hand. I chop the onions and cabbage into thin slices and cook them in oil until they're soft. Sometimes I add some chicken. I mix in a few tablespoons of organic peanut butter and a cup of coconut milk. Then I toss in whatever other vegetables I'm using and cook until they're soft. I serve the whole mixture over noodles. My kids even like it!

So Delicious Coconut Milk makes it easy to enjoy milk and be dairy-free at the same time. You can find more recipe ideas and coupons at SoDeliciousDairyFree.com.

How will you use So Delicious Coconut Milk? Tell me your favorite recipes or uses for coconut milk by leaving a comment below and you could win a $100 Visa gift card.

Giveaway Rules:

-No duplicate comments.

-You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this
post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 72 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be selected. Giveaway ends 3/20. Visit the Official Rules for more information and visit BlogHer for more chances to win.

You can also visit So Delicious on Facebook and enter to win their surprise-a-day giveaway "100 Days of Change." It's a 100 day sweepstakes with a prize each day, leading up to a grand prize 14-day trip for two to the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Thailand. The giveaway ends on May 10, 2011 but you can enter daily for a chance to win.















Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GE ecomagination Challenge

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and GE.


In my continuing effort to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, one challenge is to reduce our energy consumption and look for ways to conserve energy. This is not easy, particularly in a large family and with the huge amount of technology that relies on electricity to work.
In my area, we are very fortunate that our electrical provider offers a "Green Power Program." This program uses renewable energy from wind, biomass, low impact hydro, and solar energy sources. By signing up for this (optional) program, consumers can put their energy dollars to work and support the effort to move to greener power sources.

The biggest energy challenges in my home mostly stem from the use of household appliances and electronics. While we can take small steps toward conserving energy (like hanging laundry to dry, washing clothes in cold water, unplugging appliances that aren't being used, baking more than one thing at a time when using the oven, or using energy-efficient LED light bulbs) there is much left to be done when it comes to improving energy use at home. These small things that our family does can have a big impact when every household does them. GE believes that the widespread use of clean energy starts in the home. What changes have you made in your home to make it more energy-efficient? How do you optimize your home energy use?

The effort to move toward smarter energy consumption benefits us all. Do you have even bigger ideas about saving energy? GE’s ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home is an open call for ideas from businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, students and every day people with breakthrough ideas for home energy creation, management and use. The ecomagination Challenge is GE's way of reaching out to entrepreneurs, innovators, students, and anyone with big ideas about home energy technology. The first phase of this challenge generated more than 3,800 ideas from all around the world and GE and their partners have committed to investing $200 million dollars into supporting these new ideas. There is still $100 million dollars up for grabs in the second phase of this challenge and it ends on March 15, 2011 so submit your ideas now!

Share with me what your energy use challenges are at home or share an idea that you submitted to the GE ecomagination challenge, for a chance to win a GE energy smart light bulb. The GE energy smart LED light bulb lasts for more than 20 years and ultimately saves you $85 in energy costs. Now that's smart!

Giveaway Rules:

-No duplicate comments.

-You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this
post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw and will be notified by e-mail. You will have 72 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.

Find more discussion about the GE ecomagination Challenge at BlogHer and at the ecomagination Challenge blog.

You can also check out the ecomagination Challenge on Facebook, Foursquare, and YouTube.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheerios Blogger Circle: Breakfast Bar Recipe from The Kitchen of Twinsanity

Here's a simple, easy recipe that is healthy and fun! You can mix it up by using different fruits as well. It's still winter here in the Pacific Northwest, so I used raisins in our breakfast bars but dried cranberries, blueberries, or strawberries would be delicious too.
Ingredients:
2 cups Cheerios
1 cup instant oats
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup shredded coconut



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. (I use an olive oil sprayer.)
2. In food processor (or blender) combine 1 cup of Cheerios, oats, nuts, and cinnamon. Blend until mixture is smooth.
3. In large bowl, whisk eggs and mix in honey, vanilla, and sugar.

4. In small bowl, combine flax meal, wheat germ, and remaining 1 cup of Cheerios. Stir until blended.
5. Add cereal mixture and nut mixture to egg mixture. Mix well.
6. Add raisins and stir to combine.
7. Pour mixture into baking pan, spread flat, and sprinkle with coconut.
8. Bake for about 20 min.
9. Allow bars to cool and then cut into bars.

10. Enjoy!



I am part of the Cheerios Blogger Circle and did receive a gift pack for participating. No other compensation was received.







Thursday, January 27, 2011

Power of Two Marriage Program

After blogging about my own marriage and my husband's recent return from Iraq, I received an email from Power of Two. Power of Two is a marriage enrichment program that aims to improve communication and trust in your relationship. This unique program lets you participate in the comfort of your own home.

I have been using the free trial at Power of Two for several weeks now. I was immediately impressed with the amount and quality of the content on the website. There are videos, interactive quizzes, and worksheets to do alone or with your partner. The program includes a checklist from a "coach" that suggests activities to work toward a goal that you set.

In my case, I am trying to reconnect with a spouse who was gone for more than 20 months. We have many young children. We are not always the best at communicating with each other under stress. We definitely don't have time for traditional marriage counseling. This program is a perfect fit for us. I'm working on calming my emotions and we are both working toward better communication. In general, I'd say we already have a great relationship. (We have survived nearly 10 years together and having two sets of twins-and 6 kids in 5 years!)

The Power of Two program is a flexible program that can help uncover barriers to open communication that you may not have even realized existed. The program aims to help you work together with your partner to improve your relationship without ever leaving your house. Check it out online at www.poweroftwomarriage.com.

ETA: There are scholarships available for military couples! See the first comment on this post for more details.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Products for Good

Shortly before Christmas I received an email from Products for Good, asking me if I would honor a veteran that I know by giving them a commemorative coin. I was intrigued and agreed to pass along the gift to a special veteran- my husband.

The coin arrived in a beautiful velvet case and was accompanied by a certificate. The certificate explained that the coin was a real Iraqi coin. It was a perfect gift to honor my husband, who had just returned from a deployment to Iraq. It seemed a fitting way to remember his service and the sacrifices our family made during his deployment.
Products for Good sells these coins to honor veterans. With each sale, they donate 20% of the proceeds to charities that support military families. In addition, they have a special Honor One in a Million Project that aims to distribute 1 million coins to veterans across the country through various military service organizations. You can purchase coins to be donated to veterans to thank them for their service or purchase a coin for a special veteran in your life.

Products for Good aims to thank the more than 20 million veterans who have served our country. They even have gifts to honor law enforcement and firefighters, as well as gifts for every branch of military service. Their coins and shadowboxes make unique, thoughtful gifts for the special person in your life.


I received a free commemorative coin in exchange for my honest review.