Category Archives: Uncategorized

How low can you go? Our Home Energy Audit with #ProjectEnvolve

I’m writing this post as a Project Envolve™ Ambassador. I have not been compensated for this post, but I did receive a promotional item to facilitate energy savings in my home.

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It’s #ProjectEnvolve time again! I can’t believe it’s time for Mission 5 already. As usual, we’re still talking about ways to cut energy usage each month and reduce your electric bill. But this month, all I had to do was sit back, relax and let the PE team take care of the heavy lifting! They sent a building analyst over to my house to do a Home Energy Audit. You might be wondering what that is (I didn’t know either…) Continue reading

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10 Creative Ways to Use Peeps #Peepsonality

This post about Easter crafts featuring Peeps was brought to you by…Peeps! I received samples to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Peeps

You might be surprised to see Peeps popping up here on my page. Yes, we’re a dye-free household, but there’s no denying that some foods – especially seasonal ones – can have tons of nostalgic value. Nothing reminds me of my Dad and my childhood Easter celebrations more than a pack of brightly colored marshmallow Peeps, and honestly it just wouldn’t be Easter without them! So, what do we do? We get crafty!

Peeps Crafts Easter #Peepsonality

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Filed under Crafts & DIY, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food, Uncategorized

How to Make a Dye-Free Pink Ombre Cake

I’m a little behind. My baby girl’s first birthday was over a month ago, and I still haven’t written a thing about it here! I’m blaming the snow that threw off our party schedule for 3 weeks.

I did post some photos, though, and I got more than a few questions about her pink ombre cake, so I thought I’d share how I made it. So many parents are avoiding artificial food dyes these days, and it’s so important for us all to know that giving up those chemicals doesn’t mean we have to give up the fun of a brightly colored birthday cake!

For my wee one’s first, I settled on a pretty pink cake in graduated ombre tones, colored entirely with the juice of a beet. Here’s how to do it (it’s easy!) along with some of my favorite cake decorating tips that I picked up throughout my years as a cake decorator. I hope you find them helpful!

Dye Free Pink Ombre Cake

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Stretch Your Tax Return with a Cheap Wireless Plan! #FamilyMobile

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This #MaxYourTax post about unlimited talk, text and data from Walmart Family Mobile has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. After all, who doesn’t want to know about the cheapest mobile plans, right?

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I’m glad I have online access to my bank account, because I’ve become a serious stalker. My tax return should be here any day! The arrival of that check used to mean a shopping spree, but these days we’re a little more frugal (because kids.) Now, we plan carefully so we can stretch those dollars. For example, each year, we invest $100 in 10 new blueberry bushes, because we know that in the long run, that money will multiply like crazy and cut our food costs. Here are a few of our new babies from last year:

blueberries

This year, in addition to our blueberries, I’m looking to cut our monthly bills down. You may have already seen how we’ve cut our electric bills using tips from #ProjectEnvolve! Next up: the cell phone bill. I pay a lot. About $130 a month. It’s nuts, I know. So we’re investing part of this year’s return in the Walmart Family Mobile Plan with unlimited talk, text and web/data for only $40 a month. Big savings, right?

Walmart Family Mobile #FamilyMobile #collectivebias

Not all Walmart stores carry the plan, so it’s a good idea to call first. Or, you can just look for the blue section in the Computers & Accessories aisle. It’s easy to spot.

Walmart #FamilyMobile #collectivebias

Walmart not only offers the Family Mobile Plan AND wide selection of phones for under $100, but you can get all your phone accessories on the cheap there, too. I got my new Samsung Galaxy Exhibit for only $98.99, along with a ton of accessories and only spent a little over $200. A car charger, a bluetooth for the car (safety first, folks), some microfiber cleaning cloths, and a Sport Sleeve armband.

Walmart #FamilyMobile #collectivebias

The armband was a splurge instead of a “need”, but the price was right. Now I can wear my phone at the gym! (The membership to which, I might add, I can afford now that I’ve cut down my wireless bill.)

Walmart #FamilyMobile #collectivebias

Setting up my phone was easy, which surprised me because I took both kids with me to Walmart and I expected a total meltdown. As it turns out, you can set the whole shebang up any time you want online at home! (You can do it in-store or on the phone, too, if that works for you.) You just have to purchase a Starter Kit with a SIM card for $25 and you’re ready to go.

I started at 6:45 pm and by 7:30, I was signing in to Facebook on my new phone.

Walmart #FamilyMobile #collectivebias

Of course, you might be even faster if you don’t get interrupted by bored little ones. I spent the rest of the night playing around with new apps, picture messaging, sending emails. I’ll admit, I get a little bit giddy over new devices. Especially affordable ones.

Other plan perks:

  • Pay your bill online.
  • Get your phone at Walmart, or bring your own.
  • No annual contract.
  • No credit check.
  • No deposit.
  • Live support 24/7.

The only issue we’re having is that we don’t get strong service from home, but we don’t get service through Verizon, either, so it’s no surprise. Walmart let us know that up front, so we knew what to expect. I need this phone for when I’m away from home, and the wi-fi works on my network so we’re good. The plan works on the T-Mobile network, and you can easily check wireless coverage in your area on the Family Mobile website.

There are definitely some areas where this plan is not the right choice due to lack of coverage. But if your part of the map checks out OK, you could be saving a ton of money each month. I’m pretty thrilled to have a new phone, all my accessories, and an unlimited monthly plan for way less than I would have paid anywhere else. That means a little bit of our tax return will be left over for fun things like this:

Sesame Character Collage

…and of course, more blueberry pancakes for everyone!

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Technology, Uncategorized

Spring Forward with Natural Probiotics #NaturalProbiotic #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This post about natural probiotics and digestive system balance has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

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Coffee is not breakfast. I know this. And thinking about running is not the same as actually hitting the pavement. We all know this, too. But, like so many time-starved, too-busy parents, I’ve let a lot of my healthy habits slide down to the bottom of my to-do list this winter. It’s a slump, and I want out!

So, as we spring forward into Daylight Savings Time, I’m embracing the energy of the upcoming season and stepping away from the hot chocolate mug in favor of things like longer runs, longer sleeps, actually taking my prescriptions meds (oops) and getting back to a fresher diet that makes me want to dance through my garden with my babies. (Smoothies full of tiny fresh spinach leaves, please!)

Insync Probiotic #NaturalProbiotic #shop

And, because my family has a history of digestive problems, I’m making some changes to my diet that should help balance my system. In short, more probiotics. Good bacteria = a healthier, happier gut! The great thing about this new promise I’ve made to myself is that there are so many yummy ways to get those good “bugs” in your belly!

#shop #NaturalProbiotic

I think the most obvious way to get probiotics is to eat yogurt. Homemade yogurt is the easiest thing ever, and so delicious when piled high with odds and ends from around the kitchen. Mine is different almost every day, including things like you see above: almond butter, homemade jam, bananas, pumpkin seeds, Greek yogurt chips and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

#NaturalProbiotic #shop yogurt bowl

The truth? Despite the benefits, I do tend to get yogurted out quickly. That’s why this will be my first year of fermenting! I’ve been reading a lot about making probiotic-rich homemade sauerkraut, and I’m determined to make it happen this year. If I have luck, I may even move on to kimchee. I’ll admit, the idea of live things in my food really did bug me out a bit at first, but now I’m just fascinated. I can’t wait until our fresh cabbage is up!

BUT, I know all too well that sometimes the yogurt doesn’t yogue, the cabbage harvest tanks, or the kids simply do not allow ANYthing but Play-Doh, and for those times, there’s Insync Probiotic (available at your friendly neighborhood CVS.)

Insync Probiotic #NaturalProbiotic #shop #cbias

Insync Probiotic contains B. infantis, which is doctor-recommended. Because probiotics are delicate living organisms that promote better digestive health, it’s important that they land in your digestive tract alive and well. Insync Probiotic uses GI Guard®, a gradual release system that ensures your friendly bacteria don’t get killed off by heat, moisture or even your own stomach acid. (Because who wants to bother taking them if they don’t arrive alive, right?)

Insync Probiotic #NaturalProbiotic #shop #cbias

To learn more and join the conversation about natural probiotics, connect with Insync Probiotic on Facebook and Twitter.

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