Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘moms meet’

California Water Challenge

Do you know a California teacher or a student in 4th-6th grade?  If so, then read on because there is some awesome Swag involved!

If you live in California, then you are probably familiar with the term “drought”.  You see the signs posted throughout your neighborhood, you get the notices on your door, you hear about the consequences all over the media.  It’s a little price we pay for year round perfect weather.

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But we CAN do our part to give back to Mother Earth and that’s by not being all greedy with all our water.

I try to explain the drought to my kids, but they don’t seem to care. Shocking, I know…I would expect more out of a two and four-year-old.  But, no, they seem to be more concerned with what color cup they are drinking from rather than environmental issues.

So, I have to do the next best thing – demonstrate water conservation.  I usually do this by turning the water off while we are brushing our teeth or only filling up the bathtub part of the way during bath time.  I also tell them that we only fill up our cups with what we will drink so that we don’t let any water go to waste.  And when it does rain (which contrary to popular belief, it does actually rain in Southern California.), I make sure they see the rain and explain how the trees and plants love all of the extra water.

Well what does all of this have to do with Swag??  I’m glad you asked!  Every year, the  West Ed/K-12 Alliance and North American Association for Environmental Education collaborate with the California Water Service to create the California Water H2O Challenge.

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What is it? The challenge is all part of a project-based learning initiative that is becoming more popular throughout classrooms around the world.  Participating classrooms must create and execute a 4-8 week-long project that is designed to explore water as a global resource while addressing a community-based issue.

Who are the judges? A panel of experts who work in the education and/or environmental field and will utilize an objective rubric.  The rubric includes water topics, project goals, action plans, outcomes, as well as several other relevant elements.

When is the deadline?  Registration ends January 31st, 2017 and submissions are due February 28th, 2017! So get signed up today!

You can watch last year’s video here!

What are the prizes??

Grand Prize
Class Celebration: Classroom tent-camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains with NatureBridge
Class Funding: $3,500 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
2nd Place
Class Celebration: A Pizza Party
Class Funding: $2,500 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
3rd Place
Class Funding: $2,000 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
4th Place
Class Funding: $1,000 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student
All Participant Prizes
Student Recognition: An official certificate of
participation for every student
Teacher Recognition: A teacher certificate
Teacher Gift: An AMEX gift card
Did you catch that last part?? Everyone gets Swag! And guess what?  Knowledge is Swag too! 😉  All middle-school students love a little appreciation and wouldn’t it be nice to score a gift card for your teacher? This is a great hands-on assignment that all students and teachers will enjoy!  There really is no reason not to enter this challenge!  Everybody wins including our Earth! 🙂
Learn more about the challenge and register here!
What are some ways that you conserve water?!
**I was given the opportunity to promote this project through the Moms Meet Blogger program.  All our opinions are my own.
~SM

 

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Go With Your Gut

In case you’re not familiar with probiotics, they are basically “good bacteria” that benefit your digestive system or all that junk in your gut.  You can find it in the form of pills, powders or certain foods, like yogurt.  I was excited to try Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotic Powder Packets since I’m not really good with taking pills and I kind of get burnt out on yogurt.

I was even more excited to receive my package because it came with…you guessed it…SWAG!

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The SWAG included a tote bag, a shaker cup, and Dr. Mercola’s own health magazine.

I was a little worried that the taste of the powder would be too grainy or fake, but I was surprised that it tasted like raspberry Kool-Aid!

I definitely recommend taking advantage of the shaker cup because if you just stir up the powder with water, there might be some tiny clumps.  You can also add it into juice, but I think it’s sweet enough to just add to water.

I didn’t really have any digestive health problems prior to trying Dr. Mercola’s packets, but I was interested to see if I would feel any different after taking them.  I took a packet each morning and after a couple of weeks, I definitely felt less bloated, which is pretty awesome since I tried these during the week of Thanksgiving.

Then, I let my daughter try the Kid’s version!  The main difference between the adults and kids packets is that the adult probiotic contains 270 mg of the active ingredients and the kids probiotic contains only 33 mg of the active ingredients.

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I have a pretty picky four-year-old so I wasn’t really expecting her to be interested in this new beverage.  But she proved me wrong by guzzling down her “raspberry drink” and then asking for more!  So I’m looking forward to adding this to her daily diet!

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In addition to testing out the probiotics, I also read the magazine that came along with the packets.  There was some interesting information including lots of tips and guidelines for healthy eating.

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I had heard of some of the information before from other sources, but some of it was new to me.  Like the recommendation of occasionally skipping breakfast? And the Emotional Freedom Technique.  Overall, It was a pretty interesting read and even included a couple of worksheets.

As my first time really trying a probiotic supplement, I would say this is something that  I would continue to use in the future.  I like that the packets are easy to throw in a purse without the worry of refrigeration.  I liked the taste and I liked that there is a version for kids.  Dr. Mercola also gets extra points because my daughter actually approved of the taste as well! They are also soy-free and gluten-free which is great for people with allergies. You can learn more about Dr. Mercola on his website and also read more health related articles as well as shop for other products.

The Complete Probiotics Powder Packets for Adults (30 packets per box) retails for $41.97.

The Complete Probiotics Powder Packets for Kids (30 packets per box) retails for $29.87.

*Note: I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet Blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog.  The opinions posted are my own.

What do you think of probiotics?!

~SM

Not All Heroes (or Heroines) Wear Capes

What does the word “hero” mean to you?  Maybe you think of someone who fights crime, dresses in costume, or someone with an intimidating name.  Or maybe you think of someone who saves people, stands up for what is right or acts selflessly.  Either way, whether we know it or not, real life heroes and heroines are a big part of history and now we have books that highlight these special people.

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National Geographic Kids has compiled a list of real life heroes and heroines and conveys them in a way that is relatable to kids!  These hardcover books are aimed at kids aged 8-12, but I did try and discuss them a little with my almost 4-year-old.  And my almost 2-year-old enjoyed flipping through the books and looking at all of the colorful pictures.

And something else awesome happened….I enjoyed reading the books myself!  History is probably my least favorite subject, but I liked how the book was organized in a way where you could easily read all of the facts about each person.  I was familiar with most of the people in the book, but I was introduced to some new heroes and heroines as well!  I was also intrigued by many of the men and women in each book and it inspired me to learn more about their stories.

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I liked that the books highlighted important people from all genres, backgrounds and categories.  Some I had never even thought of as heroes and heroines before…like animals!  Yes, there is an animal section and I love it!

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Within the Heroes Book, there is a little section that highlights “Gutsy Gals” and within the Heroines Book, there is a “Daring Dudes” section.  I think this is an interesting aspect of the books that highlights the importance of each gender.

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And my daughter was super excited to see her favorite superhero showcased in the book!

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Yep, Wonder Woman!  She has a Wonder Woman costume from a couple of Halloweens ago, but she loves putting the costume on sometimes and pretending to save the day!

Another cool thing about the books is that they each end with an “Action Plan”.  Basically there are suggestions for kids about simple ways they can be real life heroes and heroines in their own community.

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While my kids are still a bit too young to really understand these books, I think they are good to have on hand so I can show them how real life heroes and heroines can be present in our everyday lives.

Overall, I think these books are a great learning tool and educational resources for kids.  They are great to keep in your book collection and they would also make great gifts!

What qualities do you look for in a hero or heroine? Try asking your kiddos and see what types of responses you get!

Each book retails for $14.99 and can be found in most bookstores and on Amazon: Book of Heroes and Book of Heroines.

*Disclaimer:  I received this product for free from Moms Meet , May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I have agreed to use this product and post my honest opinion. The opinions posted are my own.

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

 

 

Himalaya Toothpaste Review

My latest review is on Himalaya Toothpaste!  Who doesn’t love brushing their teeth?! (Besides maybe preschoolers or people with no teeth…hmmm.) Anyways, I was excited to receive my sample package from Moms Meet and see that it came with some….wait for it….Swag!!

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This is a beautiful pouch decorated with the traditional art form of block printing.  It’s also made with unbleached cotton and non-toxic or natural dyes.  You can learn more about the impact of Matr Boomie and view more designs at matrboomie.com/blockprint.

I also received a nice little tote bag…and we know that I love tote bags!

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This beauty is made from upcycled saris worn from the women of India.  Himalaya Herbal Healthcare supports Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) by sponsoring this amazing bag!  I think this is a fantastic partnership and I really love seeing collaborations like this!

So on to the toothpaste!

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I was able to try out six different flavors as well as a 100% bamboo toothbrush.  I was really curious about the bamboo toothbrush, I mean how can bamboo be comfortable to brush with?

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Well, I was pleasantly surprised because the entire brush was very lightweight and the bristles were incredibly soft!  It felt like I was brushing my teeth with a pillow!  I find this especially pleasing because I have sensitive teeth so some toothbrushes can be a little rough.

The first flavor I had to try was the cinnamon.  I love cinnamon on EVERYTHING…I seriously can’t get enough so of course I had to go for the cinnamon toothpaste first.

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I could not believe how amazing this tasted!  It was like brushing my teeth with a pack of cinnamon Trident gum!  Now, I know cinnamon is not for everyone and many people are allergic…but for you cinnamon lovers out there, this is a must for your toothpaste collection. –I don’t know if anyone actually has a toothpaste collection, but you get the idea.

Then I tried the spearmint, mint, and peppermint flavors.

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The unique thing about this line of toothpaste is that it is gluten free, SLS free, carrageenan free and fluoride free.  I know there is some debate on whether or not fluoride is good for you, but if you are completely against fluoride then I definitely recommend this line for you.  –You can do your own research on the pros and cons of fluoride.  What I was most surprised about was the taste of all of the toothpaste flavors.  They tasted just like any popular brand toothpaste.  I was expecting it to taste a little bland, but was shocked at how good they all were.  I will say that there was a slight “fake sugar” aftertaste, but it wasn’t strong enough to be deal-breaker.

Then I tried the Whitening toothpastes!

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I was a little bummed that there wasn’t a cinnamon version of this one, but the mint and peppermint tasted just fine, too.  The flavors were more subtle than their non-whitening counterparts, but still tasted just like any of the popular brand pastes. Again, I have sensitive teeth so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the whitening products.  But, after a few brushes there was no irritation or sensitivity.  Win!  As for the whitening aspect, I’m not sure I used them long enough to see an effect.  I will have to continue using them for a while and then report back with an update.

Overall, I was pleased with this product and I like the idea that it doesn’t contain a lot of the harsh chemicals that can be found in other products.  You can learn more about the ingredients here.

You can also get a free sample for yourself by visiting this link –> http://himalayausa.com/complete-care-mint-toothpaste-opt

What do you think?  Is this something you would try?

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

 

San-J Review

My latest review is for San-J, which is a brand that makes Tamari soy sauce and other quality marinades and gluten free products.  Again, I was provided this opportunity through the Moms Meet blogger program.

When the package first arrived, I was pretty stoked to see….you guessed it!  Swag!

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My package came with three different flavored sauces, a brush, a cutting mat, an adorable San-J shaped thumb drive, and a canvas tote bag.  I was excited to see a lot of fun stuff that I can actually use!

First, I tried the orange sauce (60 cals per 2 tbsp.) as a marinade on some chicken.

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This was my favorite marinade out of all three.  I liked that it just had a subtle hint of orange and wasn’t too sweet.  I would definitely use this one again as a marinade or as a dipping sauce.  The brush was also helpful and it’s a handy little tool that I plan to use with future recipes.

Then, I tried out the cutting mat!  At first, I thought it was just a flimsy little thing and I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of it.  But I quickly changed my mind after learning how easy it was to use!  You just chop everything up, fold and pour into your pan, pot or even crockpot!  It was extremely lightweight, but thick enough to get the job done.  The food also slid off and didn’t stick like some cutting boards tend to do.

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Then I tried out the Mongolian sauce (70 cals per tbsp.). I’m not really a big beef or steak eater so I used it on some chicken and vegetables.

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I really liked the hints of ginger and garlic in this one and I think it would be great to use on more stir-frys or even some salads.

Lastly, I tried the Thai Peanut sauce (80 cals per tbsp.).

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I knew it was going to have a little spice to it, but I was kind of surprised at how spicy it actually it was.  It wasn’t inedible, it just wasn’t pleasant.  I probably would not use this one again just because of the spiciness. Obviously, you could go Pinterest-crazy and find some really awesome recipes to incorporate these sauces!  I just kept it simple with chicken, veggies and rice so I could really taste the product.

Overall, I was pleased with San-J!  I like that they keep their sauces free of preservatives, artificial flavors, GMO’s and gluten.  I will definitely use these  (except probably the peanut sauce) in some future recipes!  What special recipes would you use for San-J?!

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Can’t wait for the next review!

~SM

 

Homestyle Ragu Sauce

My latest review comes courtesy of the Moms Meet Blogger program.  I am able to receive certain products for free in exchange for an honest review. It’s a great website to discover new and healthy products that can benefit the whole family!

This time, I was selected to try Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce.  I received free coupons to purchase the product on my own as well as a recipe to go along with the sauce.

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I didn’t care for the supplied recipe, so I just made spaghetti with vegetables along with the sauce all in the crockpot (because the crockpot is the only thing in my house that doesn’t need my undivided attention.)

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The sauce is available in five different varieties, but I went to a small Vons near my house in Southern California and only found these two flavors.  I did also look for this sauce at my military commissary, but they didn’t have it in stock.  So with a little chopping and mixing and simmering, a pretty easy dinner was in the works.

The sauce had an Italian aroma and a fairly thick and chunky consistency. I was really excited about this sauce because it is supposed to be healthier than other sauces. I like that it doesn’t contain artificial colors or high fructose corn syrup and it is only 100 calories per half-cup serving.  So another hour passed by and BAM – spaghetti!

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Then it was the moment of truth!  Was this new sauce everything that my dreams were made of?  Healthy sauce in a jar?  Could it be? Welllll….yes and no.  I liked everything about it, except I wasn’t quite sold on the taste.  It almost had too much Italian flavor, to the point that it took away from the vegetables and sauciness of the meal.  I typically add in my own spices and flavors when making spaghetti so I wasn’t quite ready to relinquish control of my spice levels to this new sauce in town.  But my one-year-old felt differently and totally embraced it all.

Overall, I wouldn’t proclaim this new product as awesome-sauce (get it?) But, I like where Ragu is going with this new line and perhaps the recipe could be slightly tweaked.  I would be even more excited if they came out with a less-flavored version of this healthy sauce.  I can’t wait to see if this new Ragu gains popularity!  What do you think of the new sauce?  Have you tried it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Can’t wait to try out the next product! *As a reminder, I was given this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

~SM

 

 

Lightlife Smart Dogs Review

Recently I became a blogger for Moms Meet! This means I receive products for free to try and share as well as review on my blog. The first sample I received to review was from Light Life Smart Dogs


These are similar to hot dogs except they are completely plant-based, which means not one stitch of meat. Great for vegan hot dog lovers as well as those who are looking for a healthier alternative to a summertime favorite. One great thing I like about Lightlife is that they are easy to find in your local grocery store by searching the online Store Locator. You just enter your zip and a list of stores carrying the product will pop up! Keep in mind, vegan items are usually stocked in the produce section so don’t be surprised if you don’t see them sitting next to their meat-filled companions. They also run about $4-$5 (Southern California pricing) depending on the location.

I decided to prepare my hot dogs on a hot dog roller machine (think food court/gas station)…I also cooked them along with some regular beef hot dog. Can you spot the Lightlife hot dogs?


As you can see, there is a bit of a difference in appearance compared to beef dogs, but I cooked them both for the same amount of time with no issue. They also rolled just fine. 😉 

So then it was the moment of truth!


Once you add some toppings, you could barely tell you were eating a veggie hot dog. They were less plump than regular hot dogs and also had more of a smoky taste to them. I would say they weren’t as juicy as regular hot dogs as well, but the taste overall was not much different. Interestingly enough, the kids had opposite opinions. My 3-year-old daughter was not a huge fan and only took one bite. My 18-month-old son finished the whole thing no problem. So I’ll have to work on the 3-year-old a bit more as she is quite picky. 

I did ask a few vegetarian/vegan friends how they felt about veggie hot dogs and their overall opinion was that they did not like the taste of hot dogs in general, therefore, they had no interest in trying plant-based hot dogs. I have tried other brands of vegan hot dogs and I will honestly say that Lightlife is the best brand so far! Check them out and let me know what you think!

They also pair well with Mac-and-cheese!


*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

~SM

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