Allergies, Oil Love, and That Time I Was On TV

What are you up to today, lovelies?

Me? Oh just sitting with  my oldest while she watches Sleeping Beauty (thank you, Netflix!), working on marinading some pork chops for dinner tonight, unpacking my props from earlier today when I was on television.

You know, normal stuff.

:-)

So yeah, I totally went on TV today to profess my love for Young Living Essential Oils, especially as a great resource for allergy relief! Check me out; you know you want to know what my voice sounds like, anyway!

WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather

 

Allergies are no joke around here, you guys, but my family is breathing easy!

If you want more information about essential oils, I’ve got you covered!

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

Trying Essential Oils as a Skeptic

Natural Allergy Relief

DIY Shower Disks for Congestion

Taking the Kids to Orlando: Must-See New Attractions

So thrilled to be partnering with Eileen from TakingtheKids.com, today. Eileen is an “Orlando with kids” expert! I’ve been taking copious notes, as we are planning our first vacation there this fall! Leave a comment if you’ve ever visited these sites, or if you are currently planning a trip to the Orlando area! 

Relax!

You can’t see it all in Orlando — no matter how hard you try — especially because there’s always going to be something new. That includes places to stay. In late March, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens with moderately priced family suites and rooms in an elaborately retro-themed hotel while in August, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney Resort will open its doors for those seeking a luxe experience.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s new at the Orlando parks this year:

legoland-florida-duplo-valley

  • DUPLO Valley at LEGOLAND Florida brings LEGO’s DUPLO characters to life with an entire new farmed-themed area designed for kids ages 2-5 with miniature tractor rides, water play and a place to build with DUPLO bricks. The central feature will be a DUPLO Train that toddlers can board on their own (or with parents.) LEGOLAND Florida also recently unveiled The World of Chima.

uor-diagon-alley-vert

  • Universal Orlando is expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by building a Hogwarts Express train to the London Harry Potter fans know from the books and movies. London’s Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Studios Florida, adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the Wizarding World, complete with Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, exists. Younger kids will love the new 3-D Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride where you can join Gru, his daughters and the minions on a new adventure.

WDW-toddler-characters-fantasyland

  • Walt Disney World Resort is set to finish the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history –the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster at the New Fantasyland. The Coaster will tell the story of Snow White with mine cars that rock back and forth, animated figures and music from the movie. At Magic Kingdom, a new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade featuring characters and music from classic movies including Peter Pan, Cinderella and more recent ones like Brave and Frozen.

seaworld-penguin_King_vert (1)

  • SeaWorld Orlando celebrates its 50th anniversary with A Sea of Surprises, such as animal ambassadors going through the park offering special encounters, Surprise Squads giving away free souvenirs, and spontaneous pop-up entertainment around the park.

May is an especially good time to visit Orlando; great weather, travel deals and fewer crowds so you can see more for less. The hardest part is deciding where to go first — your tried and true favorites or the new attractions?

Eileen is the author of the syndicated column Taking the Kids and the “Kid’s Guide to Orlando,” part of the Kid’s Guide Series from Globe Pequot Press. 

Tiny Prints: EVERYTHING is 20% off!

Affiliate links included. I only promote what rocks! 

Heads up, everyone! Tiny Prints, makers of SOOOOO many cute things (invitations, announcements, thank you cards, address labels, just to name a few) is having a very unusual sale right now: EVERYTHING* is 20% off. I can’t think of the last time that they put EVERYTHING on sale! Use code APR20SW at checkout. There is no minimum purchase, and you can put together as random of an assortment of goodies as you want…it’s all on sale! But hurry, it ends at 11:59 pm (PT) tonight!

eggs_aplenty-easter_party_invitations-magnolia_press-charcoal-gray

*Just 4 exceptions to the “everything” being on sale rule: gift certificates, calendars, photo books and Erin Condren weekly planners are excluded. But that’s it!

 

Bathroom Recycling, Donating Via App, Twitter Parties, and Coupons! Healthy Essentials

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.
photo credit: kingdesmond1337 via photopin cc
Tim and I have gotten pretty good at recycling. We purchased a large recycling bin (the same size as our city-issued garbage bin, but in a different color) and that has given us an opportunity to find more things to recycle, because now we have a large bin for storage (our recycling is only picked up twice a month, so the small bins we were issued weren’t cutting it). I’m totally in the zone about recycling stuff as I sort through mail and as I use up stuff in the kitchen.
But I tend to be a bit more forgetful about products in the bathroom. I’m not sure if it is because it is upstairs, and away from where I usually deal with recycling, or if it is because the bottles are smaller, and so my mind rationalizes that recycling those things isn’t really “worth it.” Worth what? The effort to walk down the flight of stairs you go up and down 100 times a day, already? Girl, puh-leeze.
HealthyEssentials.com, one of my favorite websites for finding REALLY good coupons for bath, beauty and personal care products, has some great tips for recycling in the bathroom that I recently checked out. I learned there that only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle bathroom items.
I’m going to stop being one of those 4 people. Will you join me? If enough people make the change, we can reverse the statistic, so that only 1 out of 5 DON’T recycle bathroom products. That would save thousands of TONS of plastic from landfills, people!
I appreciate the thoughtfulness that Johnson & Johnson is putting into how it makes their products, and the fact that sustainability is a key peace of their product design. They are really being great role models, in my opinion!

In addition to having some great information about recycling, the Healthy Essentials website also has some SWEET coupons up right now, including the following:
  • Save $1.00 on any JOHNSON’S® Baby Intense Moisture Cream
  • Save $1.00 on any LUBRIDERM® product (6oz or larger)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) CLEAN & CLEAR® product (excludes trial and travel sizes)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) NEUTROGENA® Sun product (exclude trial size)
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) LISTERINE® SMART RINSE Anti-cavity Mouthwash, 500 ml
  • Save $1.00 on any (1) REACH® Total Care Floss, or REACH® Gentle Gum Care Floss, or REACH® Dentotape® or REACH® Access® Flosser
  • Save $2.00 on any (3) NEOSPORIN®, BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive bandages or JOHNSON and JOHNSON RED CROSS® Brand products (excludes all trial and travel sizes, First Aid Kits, 10 ct Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages, and On-the-Go First Aid Kits. Must buy (2) different brand products to qualify for this offer along with a third product)

Donate A Photo

donate a photo

You’ll also see on the website information about the Donate A Photo (DAP) app. For every photo shared through Donate A Photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to one of its non-profit partners, and you even get to choose which one! I’ve downloaded this app because it is such an easy way for me to help get some much needed funds into the hands of organizations doing great things. This month I’ll be focusing on donating to environmental causes. What would you donate to through your photos?

Twitter Party

Do you love to party on Twitter? Join me for a great one all about HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® this Thursday at 1pm EST. There are going to be 15 prize packs, each worth $50! You can find all the details  and RSVP here:http://twtvite.com/jnjearthday . And don’t forget to use the #Moms4JNJConsumer hashtag! See you there?

 

 

How to Remove Crayon from Painted Wood

Anyone else out there have a budding Picasso? Layah is quite smitten with crayons, and despite being told approximately 9.5 MILLION times to only color on paper, the child can’t seem to help herself. I’ve already shown you how to remove crayon from plastic, and today I’m going to show you how to remove cray from painted wood. Once again, this post is born from necessity. I had to find out for myself, so I thought I’d share my findings!

how to remove crayon from painted wood

So Layah painted on the wooden ledge of one of our downstairs windows. I noticed it probably 30 minutes after she did it. And then I let it sit there for about 2 weeks before I tried to remove it. I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t go after it the second it happened, so if you have older crayon stains, no worries!

The solution is really quite simple, and in my case, this took care of about 90% of the discoloration, which is good enough for me! :-) All you need is a baby wipe. I tried it with two different kinds, and both were effective, so if you don’t have kids in diapers at home, you can just pick up the cheap Target or Walmart brand on your next trip (I’ve used the Target ones to remove makeup in a pinch, FYI, and they work!).

how to remove crayon from painted wood

Like I said, I could still see a faint amount of green after I was finished, so perhaps in the future I will do additional research to see if I could try something else. But for now, this took care of enough of the problem to satisfy me, and it was really easy!

I’ve also read some folks online say that baby wipes will take crayon off of painted walls. Layah also painted on the wall right next to this ledge, and at least for me, the crayon on the painted wall didn’t budge AT ALL. So of course we’ll have to do a whole other post about that when I get around to figuring how to remove it! :-)

I hope this helps other parents of little artists in training, too!

Fun (And CHEAP!) Gift Idea for Teens and Young Adults

Affiliate links included. I only promote what I love, as always! 

Last week I was painting my toes and I realized that I had more nail polish than I could possibly use up before it was going to go bad. So this got me thinking about what I could do with some of my nail polish in addition to painting my nails. I realized that very small painting projects were a possibility, and that led me to dig some binder clips out of my office drawer. I thought they could use a little makeover for Spring!

uses for old nail polish painted binder clips

I pulled 3 of my Julep colors because they are pretty and remind me of this time of year. Julep is a fun nail polish subscription service, and they are offering a FREE box to new subscribers, so if you want to take this project from cheap to totally free, you need to jump on this! :-)

Julep Maven Subscription - first box free

Anywho, back to my fun project! Here are the supplies I gathered: nail polishes that needed to be used, binder clips, and pencils to hold the binder clips in place while being painted and while drying.

All you need to do is paint the outsides of your binder clips (I recommend two coats) and leave them on the pencil to dry. I gave each coat 10 minutes to dry.

uses for old nail polish binder clips finished

I think these would be adorable in a teenager’s Easter basket, or as part of a graduation gift for someone heading off to college this fall. I even like them for my office; gives my (boring) paperwork a bit of a pick-me-up!

More About The Free Nail Polish

Here’s a tip for you about the free nail polish offer from Julep: shipping at Julep is free with a $50 purchase. The free box has a value of $40, so if you add $10 in product to your free box order, you’ll get the 3 nail polishes and $10 worth of other great products for just $10 total! Basically it’s like getting that extra $10 of stuff at 50% off, because otherwise you’ll have to pay $5 in shipping. I’m looking out for you, ladies. ;-) Don’t forget to add code FREEBOX to take $40 off the bill, too!

Do you have any clever uses for nail polish besides making your nails lovely? I’d love to hear about it!

Honest Company Bar Soap: An Honest Assessment

Referral links included. I only promote what I love, as always! 

I’ve really been looking forward to telling you about Honest Bar Soap. It is one of my very favorite products in their line, but you need to be VERY CAREFUL with how you purchase it! I’ll explain in a minute.

First, if you are new to The Honest Company, you need to hook yourself up with some free samples before placing an order. I’ve got the scoop on how to get Honest.com products free. Go ahead and check that out; I’ll wait here!

Ok, on to the soap review!

honest bar soap 1

Honest bar soap is one of my favorites because it is PERFECT for gifts. The packaging is really pretty, which makes it a really nice element in a hostess, housewarming, or any other type of gift. Who doesn’t like to get fancy soap? The dark splotch you see on my package is not part of the aesthetic…just a perk of getting to live in my house with my kids! Lucky soap bar! ;-)

It comes in three scents: juniper sage, lavender, and tangerine vanilla. I’ve tried them all and would recommend them all, but my very favorite is tangerine vanilla. It is such a unique scent to find in a soap, and it is really invigorating for morning showers.

I’ve found the cleaning power of the soap to be right on par with other nice bar soaps. No complaints!

How To Buy (and How NOT To Buy) Honest Bar Soap

honest bar soap 2

Ok, so you know I’m a fan, overall, of the Honest.com essentials bundles. You can save money by committing to purchasing 5 items at once, and I love how they are flexible about when you can ship things out (I’ve moved orders WAY up before, and I’ve also put orders on hold for a few months before…they have NO problem with that!). Anyway, one of the bad things about the essentials bundle is that if you aren’t paying attention, you could actually overpay for items. So much for saving money! Honest bar soap is one of those items. It retails for $4.95. The per item price of anything in your bundle is going to be $7.20, so if an item retails for less than $7.20, it shouldn’t go in your bundle.

With that said, you are allowed to add up to 3 extra items to you bundle purchase, and those extra 3 items are offered at 25% off. This is how you want to buy your soap. Make it a +3 item, and then you will get it for $3.71! Additionally, you can just place a non-bundle order and pay $4.95.

What do you think of Honest Bar Soap? Are you a fan like me? 

Want to see more Honest.com product reviews? I’ve got you covered! Click here for a (growing) list of Honest assessments!

Madison Reed Hair Color Giveaway!

Affiliate links included. I only promote what I love! 

Happy Monday, friends!

Anyone else out there feeling the almost tax day blues? We are finishing up our taxes this afternoon and I am NOT looking forward to sending off the check. Some of you may be feeling similarly, so let’s do something fun to get our minds off it, ‘k?

How about a Madison Reed Giveaway?!?!

Remember Madison Reed? That are that fantastic at-home hair color company that offers beautiful shades, custom color advice, and none of those harmful chemicals (like ammonia) that you typically find in hair dye. Here’s my Madison Reed review if you’d like to take a closer look!

madison reed giveaway

While your bank account might be crying from the tax bill it just paid, at least your hair can look fabulous (and it WILL look fabulous!).

Win it!: One lucky Stuff Parents Need winner will received a Color Kit and a full size shampoo and conditioner set from Madison Reed!

Be sure to enter my other current giveaways, found on the sidebar of my page.

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Ancestry DNA: Why It Rocks

You guys.

YOU GUYS!!!!!

I have something so cool to show you! It’s my Ancestry DNA results! Want to see where my people come from? Check it out!

Ancestry DNA results

I have been wanting to do one of these DNA kit things for FOREVER and I want to tell you all the reasons why I’m so glad I went with the offering at Ancestry.com.

1. The thorough analysis. Ancestry.com’s DNA analysis looks at over 700,000 genetic markers to try to trace my ancestry. Um, yeah, that’s a lot!

2. The explanations. They give a LOT of information about your results, and how to read them. And I appreciate their honesty about how they are only giving estimates, and that they can rarely be 100% sure. In fact, of all my genetic markers, there is only 1 group that they are 100% sure about for me, and that is Irish. I happen to know that some of their other markers are also correct based on what I know about my family tree. And there were a few surprises, as well (Scandanavian? The marker for Native American being this low?). Those trace regions gave me some hints about where ancestors might have migrated to Western Europe from several hundred years ago. And they showed me where some of those vague, “We are part Native American” statements in my family are grounded, and where they aren’t (sorry, Mom). And that is SO fascinating.

ancestry dna kit

3. The connection with others. Now that Ancestry has my DNA results, it can connect me with other people who have also taken the test and who they believe are relatives of mine. And you guys, they have connected me with over a hundred people that they have 95% confidence are relatives! Just like that! Boom!

4. The desire (and ability) to keep working on my tree. I showed you some of my initial findings with Ancestry.com when I started working on my tree. Having DNA test results with the company is going to help me fill out my tree even faster, as the test results came with many more hints and possible connections. I feel very motivated to steal away for an afternoon, head to a coffee shop with my laptop, and do some serious mapping. Based on my experience with Ancestry.com, I will be able to learn TONS in just a few hours!

AncestryLogo

Basically, Ancestry.com was already my jam, but doing the Ancestry DNA profile they offer took it to a whole other level. The sheer volume of information and connectedness that Ancestry.com can offer makes it a no-brainer for me. If you are wanting to see where your ancestors came from, I highly recommend this kit. They send you some instructions and a vial in the mail, and you just have to send them some saliva and wait for about 6 weeks to get your results. They come to you via the website and an email notification is sent to you as soon as they are up.

Where Do I Go From Here?

ancestry DNA ireland

photo credit: Franck Vervial via photopin cc

I am planning on integrating more cultural awareness activities for my children based on my results. Yes, we will start to make a bigger deal out of St. Patrick’s Day, but we will also aim to learn more about the culture of Ireland, as well. And now that vague desire to see Ireland “one day” has become a very real goal, and I want my children to get to see it, too!

What do you know about your ancestry? Have you been able to visit the area(s) where your ancestors lived? How do you incorporate cultural appreciation into your children’s lives?

Controlling Your Thermostat: There’s an App for That! (Giveaway!)

Complimentary review and giveaway products provided. All thoughts are my own, as always. 

Until last week, I had a very typical looking digital thermostat. It was nothing to write home about, but it was just fine. An upgrade from the really old-school types where you manually adjust with a dial, I suppose.

We have always had Honeywell thermostats in our homes. They are a very reliable brand; a gold standard for thermostats, if you will. Our thermostat was installed in 2007 when the house was brand new. But can I show you what a new Honeywell thermostat looks like in 2014, just 7 years later?

honeywell thermostat

Check out the Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat. I never thought I’d be wowed by the beauty of a thermostat, but this one is definitely a looker!

There are SO many things I love about this product. I’m going to highlight a handful of them now, but trust me when I say there’s even more to love than what I tell you about!

1. Installation is easy. I personally get intimidated by any type of work that involves dealing with electrical stuff. Honeywell has an installation video that walks you through the process so you can install with confidence. We had our old thermostat removed and our new one installed in just 15 minutes.

thermostat app

2. Manage your house temps from your phone or tablet. Oh yes, there’s an app for that! When we travel we like to keep the temperature in our house such that it is unlikely to need much heating or cooling, and with the app, if we forget to make those adjustments before we leave, it is no problem. What I love even more is that we can get our house to start cooling down or warming up while we are on the road coming back home. This past winter we were gone for 7 full days, and we kept the temperature really low, but when we got home, we were freezing for several HOURS while the heater worked overtime to try to get the temps back up. This app makes that problem a thing of the past!

color changes for honeywell thermostat

3. Pretty colors. I know the color background should be the least important aspect, but it is the feature I play around with constantly. You can customize the color so that it blends with your decor, or even with your mood. I just swoon over that, you guys!

4. See the outside temps. The thermostat connects with the internet to provide the temperatures outside the house. This is SO nice, you guys! You can even get the 5 day forecast right from your thermostat.

So it turns out that Honeywell, our favorite thermostat company, has some models in their line that will really blow you away and show you that not all thermostats are created equal. This one is pretty much a dream! To find where Honewell Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostats are sold, click here.

Win it!: One very lucky Stuff Parents Need reader will win a Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat!

Be sure to enter my other current giveaways, found on the sidebar of the page.
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