Snack Smarter with Balance-#CraveFreely #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by the Mom It Forward Blogger Network and Balance Bar. As always my words and views are 100% my own. #CraveFreely

balance bar 3

Are you a chocolate lover? Do you crave a delicious snack every now and then? If you are like me, it may be a daily craving. We live in a world that makes us feel guilty if we indulge in those cravings. When we do, we can end up feeling bad and wishing we had not eaten whatever it was. I have always said the key to a healthy diet is moderation. I think we have all seen those who overdue it in one way or another. I am talking about those individuals that go on extreme diets not allowing themselves one grain of sugar and those that just indulge way too much and do not make any healthy choices.

balance bars

If we balance our choices, it won’t leave us with the feeling that we have to deny ourselves any foods or treats we truly enjoy. This is why I was so happy to see Balance. Balance lets us enjoy those snacks we crave, savor the sweetness we love but also give us the nutrition our body needs. With Balance I can snack smarter and still indulge my sweet tooth  in a way I don’t feel guilty about. Balance bars are a snack option with the perfect balance of great taste and energizing ingredients.  Available in four new flavors like Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle and Dulce De Leche & Caramel. These flavors are so good, they don’t’ taste like you are sacrificing anything, they are full of the decadent taste I crave along with the protein and fiber I need.

balance bars 2

Each bar has 190 calories or less and contains 5-7 grams of protein along with 5-6 grams of fiber. The new flavors come in a pack of 2 mini bars which make it feel even more like a candy bar to me. They even have single mini bars to help you snack easily on-the-go.

Balance is available at CVS, Walgreens, Amazon and select Walmart stores nationwide. You can stay in the loop with Balance Bar on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


Would you like a chance to win a box of one of these new Balance flavors? If so, just enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. Open to US residents 18 years and older. Good Luck!

Enter to win One 6-pack box of Balance in  Chocolate Caramel Peanut NougatChocolate Peppermint PattyDark Chocolate Turtle orDulce De Leche & Caramel varieties. We cannot guarantee flavor preference.



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Kitchen Renovations-What You Should Know

Kitchen renovations are much different today than they ever have been before. It used to be that when someone did a kitchen renovation or a remodel the only real options they had were the design and architectural features of the room such as arches/doorways, walls/ceilings, and flooring or additional space options.

These days, though, you have many other elements you can add such as smart appliances and products for a smartly designed kitchen. If you are curious about the different smart kitchen ideas available, consider reading the article below for some cool and technology driven ideas to make your kitchen more forward friendly, convenient and comfortable.

smart appliances

Smart Appliances For A Smart Kitchen

Most appliances in the kitchen are already pretty darn smart in terms of timers and knowing when to stop cooking a product. But, you also have a lot of other different “smart” options available to you, such as:

– Touchscreen Stove Tops: Not only is this a really cool type of cooking technology, but it can also be used in a kitchen with children as well, since it’s a very safe product to use. Essentially the cook top uses conduction to heat things like pots and pans. But, the other parts of the stove stay cool – to the touch. You can actually use the touch screen to browse the internet, look up recipes to make, check out cookbooks in digital format and more.

– Home Chat: This cool little app is meant for specific things like the fridge. It will essentially keep track of items and ingredients inside the refrigerator and you can ask it questions such as: Do we have butter and it will reply back via text yes two sticks or no we do not. This is really efficient because you can use the app even out of the house.

Smart Fridge

This is a really cool option but in the near future, we will also have an even cooler option (it’s a concept right now) that will actually order food, keep track of what’s in the fridge and alert you when you are running low, and do a plethora of other cool options. For now, though, you have these smart refrigerators. The LCD display allows you to watch TV, listen to the radio, check the news, leave memos for yourself or other family members, check out the calendar and leave notes on specific days and more. It’s quite expensive, at around $3600 but if you want a tech driven kitchen, this might be the addition for you… for now anyway, until that higher tech fridge comes along!

Pair 3D Design Application

Okay, this is a really cool app and unlike any other smart application above. It’s only an Apple App right now, though. Essentially what you do is you bring up the camera on your iPhone and the app will give you different furniture options for that camera viewer. In the camera viewer, you can see how that piece of furniture or an appliance would fit in your space, what it would look in a 3D manner and more. The app can also be used by brands and businesses as well. But it’s also a great design tool for home owners that allow you to set up a room in real-time.

Radiant Flooring

In a lot of cases, you see radiant flooring done in a bathroom. But, since more and more people are also using porcelain in the kitchen as well (its durable, budget friendly and beautiful) some manufactures have started to make radiant flooring options for the kitchen too. This is a perfect option for any flooring in the kitchen, but especially stone or tile like porcelain because even though it does have a lot of benefits, one of the disadvantages are that it can get quite cool to the touch in the winter. In order to fix this, you can use radiant heating underneath the flooring to warm it up before you ever set foot on it.

Radiant flooring can be set on a timer so that it turns on every morning before you wake up to make the floor nice and toasty so when you come down for breakfast or coffee the floor is already heated up. You can also use Wi-Fi with a lot of radiant flooring systems so as soon as you wake up you can turn on your app – and have the floor heated so by the time you make it downstairs it’s warmed. Tile flooring like porcelain is a great conductor of heat. In fact, the two best materials to use a radiant floor on are porcelain and wood. Porcelain is a really good option though because it won’t expand as it warms and cools which means it won’t crack which means your flooring will last for longer!

radiant flooring

There you have it, kitchen renovation ideas that you should know before you start your project.

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Journey To Space Blu-ray #Giveaway-3 Winners

Last month the film Journey To Space that was so popular at IMAX theaters and science centers all over the country was released onto Blu-ray. This is such a great film, the footage is spectacular and the movie si family friendly. It is narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart.

Journey To Space blu ray

Journey to Space offers spectacular space footage and gorgeous views of Earth. This dazzling film shows the magnificent contributions made by daring space pioneers, and illustrates how exciting and ambitious NASA’s next era promises to be, including space travel to Mars and capturing asteroids.

You can view a clip of the History of the Shuttle Orbiter and Testing New Space Exploration , as well as the  trailer. If you want some hands on fun you can download Science Experiments HERE! These experiments are excellent if you are a homeschooling parent or teacher.

Giveaway-3 Winners!!!

Would you like to win Journey to Space on Blu-ray? I thought you would, we are not picking one winner but we will be drawing 3 winners! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and thanks to Shout Factory for sponsoring this great giveaway. Open to US residents.



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Filed under Attractions, Education, Giveaway, Movies

Share Your #LiveUnlimited Moment To Support The MDA

Do you live your life unlimited? I want to share a very special campaign to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Now through July 31st, a generous partner will donate $1 (up to $30,000) to the Muscular Dystrophy Association for every #LiveUnlimited moment that is created and shared via the web too. You can help this great cause by creating your own image and sharing. Get started now by clicking HERE!

Live unlimited


To celebrate the campaign launch, 18 artists (including X Ambassadors, American Authors, and James Dupre!) are sharing live performances throughout the day. You can see updates here. There are also amazing MDA family stories there.

In addition to the Endorphin Warrior bracelets (where $6 of each sale goes to MDA), there are also t-shirts, where $7 of each t-shirt sale goes to MDA.

Live unlimited bracelet

t shirt

I was generously sent an Endorphin Warrior bracelet and one to share that I gifted to my good friend and business partner who is also committed to #LiveUnlimited.

Please let me know if you created and shared an image via the MDA web tool. Thanks so much for your support of this great cause.


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Teaching Kids Empathy To Prevent Animal Cruelty-#TeachEmpathy

red rover logo

In 2012 a 17-year-old boy in West Sacramento took a can of lighter fluid, dumped it on a cat, and lit the cat on fire. When people in the nearby park saw the ball of fire moving across the grass, they had no idea that there was an animal in pain under all those flames.

The cat was rescued by a non-profit organization headquartered in Sacramento, California called RedRover. Sadly this did not have a good ending for the poor cat who had to be put down as the extent of the burns was too great. The child was caught, and later when the police asked him why he did it, his response was “I just wasn’t thinking”.


I hate sharing such a horrendous story,  but it was the moment that made Nicole Forsyth, CEO of RedRover decide that the only way to prevent animal cruelty, was to stop it before it ever happened, and to do that – they had to teach children empathy for animals. The RedRover Readers program was born, and has since trained hundreds of teachers and educated thousands of students in classrooms across the country through stories and games to have compassion for animals.

This past May RedRover launched an innovative app that is designed to help kids ages 7-11 practice empathy skills. The Restricted Adventures of Raja includes an interactive graphic novel e-book and a game, both with English and Spanish language options.

The app uses curriculum from the highly successful RedRover Readers program. Parents and educators can use questions woven into the story to help kids identify the behaviors and emotions of animal and human characters and imagine how the characters are feeling, skills necessary for empathy. The app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

The innovative  has already helped kids understand the behavior and emotions of animals and people and has developed empathy skills in classrooms across the continent. You can stay in the loop with RedRover on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.
red rover graphic 2

I hope you check the app out and share this post so that we can help RedRover reach as many people as possible. Thank you for your support.


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Celebrate God’s Gifts With Your Child!!! #FlyBy #Giveaway #AllThingsBrightAndBeautiful

If you are looking for an inspirational and gorgeous picture book to share with your children, grandchildren or Sunday school class, All Things Bright and Beautiful is absolutely perfect. This large, hardcover book features the lyrical words that were first published in 1848 by Cecil Frances Alexander.

Katy Hudson is the talented artist that brings new joy to the well-loved words. Katy’s fresh and engaging watercolors will sweep readers away as they follow three young children who delight in a day filled with the discovery of  All Things Bright and Beautiful! This striking book is a reminder to all of us that every good thing we see is a gift from God.

all things bright and beautiful book


This book is such a treasure and I love reading it to my kids. I know it will become a family keepsake and I can see it being read to grandchildren some day. The beautiful illustrations just make this book one that you will reach for again and again. Its message is so needed and one we can never hear enough. “He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful:the Lord God made them all.” 

This book can be purchased on Amazon. Would you like a chance to win a hard cover copy of this gorgeous book? I thought you would. You can enter below but please be sure to read the rules.

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!  Open to US and Canada residents. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  **If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

All Things Bright and Beautiful Book Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:


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MAM- Making Life Easier For Parents & Babies for 40 Years! #Giveaway

I find it hard to believe, but MAM is celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year! Can you believe it? This is a very special milestone for one of the world’s most respected brands of infant products. The research, design and development that goes into their products is the key to their growth and success.

mam 40 years

MAM started as a small company in Vienna, Austria in 1976 and has grown into a leading global brand in five continents with over 50 million products sold in 60 countries! “We understand and love babies.  For the past 40 years our top priority has been the development of products for the well-being, safety and health of babies that make life easier for parents and allow them to focus on the joy of family,” said Jennifer Mitchell, CEO, MAM North America.

MAM bottles are designed jointly with medical practitioners and developmental psychologists to meet baby’s feeding needs at every stage. The bottles are available in an assortment of colors and fun designs,and are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-compliant. All of the bottles utilize MAM’s patented, skin soft silicone nipple. This nipple provides an easy transition from breast to bottle for baby. Leak proof caps minimize mess and keep nipples clean when not in use. Easy care and dishwasher safe these bottles are specially formulated to withstand steam sterilization in the microwave.


The MAM bottle Collection Includes:

Anti-Colic Bottle-Anti-Colic Bottle -Ideal for newborns, the innovative bottle helps reduce the stress associated with newborn feedings. Patented ventilation holes in the bottle’s base regulate the pressure balance of baby’s milk, allowing it to flow evenly without bubbles or air pockets for reduced gas and colic symptoms. Bottles are available in 5 ounce or 9 ounce size.

Easy-Active Bottle-For babies 2 months old and up, these lightweight bottles fit  comfortably in baby’s hands. The functional design and wide opening makes the bottle easy to fill and clean, too. Available in a 9 ounce and 11 ounce sizes.


MAM’s nipples are available in 4 types:

  • Slow Flow
  • Medium Flow
  • Fast Flow
  • Extra Fast Flow

Crystal Girl

MAM’s pacifiers are designed with the same cutting-edge technological innovation and trendsetting design.  Developed by leading pediatric dentists and developmental psychologists, MAM pacifiers provide maximum comfort and style for babies of all ages.

All MAM pacifiers feature an orthodontically correct nipple design that allows little ones to safely satisfy their sucking reflex while maintaining proper jaw and tooth alignment. MAM pacifiers feature an easy-to-grasp front knob and a curved shield for a comfortable fit that’s gentle on baby’s skin, thanks to generous air holes and MAM’s patented interior surface.

MAM pacifiers are available in a wide selection of colors and designs and all feature the patented anti-slip Silky Soft™ Silicone nipple. Like all MAM products, they are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-Compliant.

The MAM Pacifier Collection Includes:
The MAM Perfect Pacifier– provides a perfect start, especially for newborns. Its innovative design incorporates an extra thin, super-soft and flexible nipple specially engineered to reduce the risk of misaligned teeth.  Extra small and lightweight, MAM Perfect is available for babies age 0-6 months and age 6 + months.
MAM Pacifiers and MAM Personalized Pacifiers– feature a symmetrical nipple ideal for baby’s jaw and tooth development. MAM offers a variety of pacifier sizes that suit a range of developmental stages to create a perfect fit for baby. Each nipple individually adapts to baby’s mouth so it is always in the right position. MAM Pacifiers are available in three sizes.

MAM Pacifier Wipes are non-toxic wipes that safely and naturally clean pacifiers, teethers and toys. The wipes are made with the safest ingredients for an on-the-go solution to dropped pacifers, teethers and toys.

pacifier wipes

Made with Xylitol, a natural, plant-based ingredient, the wipes contain no harsh chemicals – no alcohol, dyes or parabens, and are soft and gentle on baby’s skin. Xylitol discourages harmful bacteria that can eventually lead to tooth decay. MAM pacifier wipes come in a convenient package of 40 wipes with a recloseable lid.

Giveaway For A $30 MAM Gift Package:

MAM is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a $30 Gift Pack of Pacifier Wipes and Pacifiers! Thank you to MAM  for the review products and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

$30 MAM Gift Package Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Baby, Baby Gear, Giveaway, parenting

Learn How To Make Your Space, Any Place!

As a mom of 5, I know life throws us the unexpected. However with so many things we can’t control, it is nice when we can eliminate others easily. Have you ever been faced with an unexpected layover at the airport and your kids want to play on the filthy airport floor? Forget your chairs for you child’s soccer game? No space at the picnic tables in the park? Now you don’t have to sweat those things because the Monkey Mat is an ultra-compact mat that fits in your purse or diaper bag. It is perfect for so many things, use it at the beach, lawn concerts, camping and hiking, sporting events and so much more! You can see more on their website.


As an added incentive My readers get to save! Use coupon code “USFAM” for $5 off + Free Shipping! Click HERE to get your coupon!

monkey mat beach

The Monkey Mat was seen on Shark Tank and comes in different colors and prints. This is a mat I would not want to be without!

Monkey Mat

The Monkey Mat is a clean, portable surface you can take EVERYwhere!

For all ages, all places, all year long.  

  • 5′ x 5′ mat – large enough for several friends or family!
  • Attached pouch – so nothing separate to keep track of!
  • Ultra compact – no more bulky blankets!
  • Ripstop nylon – durable, but still soft to the touch (no plasticky feel)!
  • Lightweight – only 12oz, so really can go everywhere!
  • Machine washable – of course 🙂
  • Water repellant – spills, grass, sand, dirt, etc shake right off!
  • Corner weights – super lightweight, so keeps it from blowing away in the wind!
  • Corner loops  – use stakes, shovels or whatever you have for extra grounding if needed, or tie multiple Monkey Mats together for even more clean floor!
  • Center fun tabs – attach and keep track of toys, keys, dog leashes, etc!






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Filed under Baby, Baby Gear, Family, Home & Garden, Outdoor, Outdoor Fun, Review, USFG

A Healthier Way To Slow-Cook Your Food! #Giveaway

Did you know that many slow cookers and crock pots leach lead into food when heated up? Lead can cause many detrimental health issues. There are safer ways to slow cook your food. The VitaClay is the Smart Top Rated Clay Pot Cooker. This cooker has computerized, electronic technology that makes it easy to use. It works with hundreds of recipes and best of all it is a healthy way to cook.

multicooker 1

The secret is in the centuries old, slow-cooking, organic clay pot, combined with the perfect computerized balance of temperature, fused to bring out the textures and flavors that will please the health conscious first timer or pro.

The clay pot is non-stick and chemical free. This cooker is perfect for everyone whether you are vegan, vegetarian, health-conscious or just like great food and awesome kitchen appliances.

multicooker 2

We recently tested out the  HIGH-FIRED VITACLAY® SMART ORGANIC MULTICOOKER -in the largest, 8 cup size with a 4.2 qt. capacity. This multicooker also is a Slow Cooker, Steamer, Rice Cooker and Yogurt Maker.

multicooker 3

The VitaClay was designed for the passionate, healthy cook. The award-winning VitaClay®Chef Gourmet Rice and Slow Cooker Pro is now updated to a Smart Organic Multicooker! The cooker features a natural, unglazed, Zisha clay pot that enhances the flavor of food and preserves nutrients, vitamins and enzymes.

The clay pot is free of any non-stick glazes, chemicals or aluminum. To season the pot all you have to do is make rice! That’s right you cook white rice in it for about 2.5 hours and your pot is seasoned. That is very easy to do! The multicooker is programmable and has settings to let you cook stews, soups, all kinds of rice, pot roast and other meats, beans, vegetarian dishes, and even probiotic-rich yogurt.

The all-natural clay pot promotes uniform cooking and the double lid design creates micro-pressure that gives you the most tender meats and flavorful food you can imagine. It also cooks in less time and with less energy! A whole meal can be made in this in as little as 30 minutes!

multicooker 4

After seasoning our pot, I decided to try a chicken recipe in it. I initially thought I was going to make Chicken Cacciatore but I ended up with a slight variation which was a delicious chicken and vegetable dish served over angel hair pasta. The chicken when it was done was so moist and shredded so beautifully. All of the vegetables and colors were delicious and vibrant.

It was simple to make, I just cut up onions, carrots, bell pepper and celery and put in the bottom of the pot. I added some sliced mushrooms and then seasoned with some pepper and garlic powder. I put the skinless, boneless chicken breasts on top of that and then added tomato sauce and Italian style stewed tomatoes. After that I took fresh Italian parsley, basil and oregano from my garden and added that.

multicooker 6

multicooker 7

We cooked it for about 2.5 hours and it was just so delicious and perfect for summer because we literally turned it on and left to go swimming at our dock. When we came back after swimming and were famished, everything was ready! I love how it keeps food warm for up to 12 hours without drying it out or overcooking it. That is so nice when you have a large family where everyone may not be eating at the same time. It is also great for those second or third helpings an hour or so later!

multicooker closed

multicooker with cheese

The multicooker came with a nice recipe book and there are more recipes on their website. However you can basically cook all your tried and true slow cooker recipes in it. It has a nice design and does not take up too much room on the counter. It is easy to care for and is something we are going to be cooking in a lot. I will update as I try new things in it.

Enter The Giveaway:

Would you like the chance to win the same multicooker I reviewed? I thought you would, just enter below and good luck!!!



  • All natural unglazed pure clay pot intensifies flavors of your favorite dishes
  • No aluminum, lead and non-stick chemical coating contacting your food!
  • Up to 4 times faster than conventional slow cooker
  • Easy whole meals are ready in under 45 minutes
  • Food is simmered in its own juices
  • Preserves natural juices, important nutrients, enzymes and vitamins
  • Makes probiotic rich Greek yogurt or yogurt or yogurt cheese
  • 10 minutes up to 5 hours programmable cooking time with 10 minutes increment!
  • Delay timer and automatic Keep Warm
  • Push-button controls and an easy-to-read LCD display / Clock eliminate guesswork
  • Rice paddle & measuring cup included
  • UL listed, FDA, CA Prop 65 and RoHS laboratory tested

 vitaclay logo


VitaClay is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win an 8 Cup VITACLAY® SMART ORGANIC MULTICOOKER !  Thank you to VitaClay for the review product and for sponsoring this awesome giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

VITACLAY® SMART ORGANIC 8 CUP MULTICOOKER Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Cooking, Giveaway, Health, Home, Home & Garden, Kitchen, Recipes, Review

How To Live The Life You Never Expected- #lifeweneverexpected #FlyBy #Giveaway

As we go through life, I have found that many things we worry or have anxiety about never happen. Then sometimes in life something totally unexpected, the curve ball hits us, and knocks us for a loop. It was that way when my teenage son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

It was completely unexpected and certainly not anything the surgeon who removed his enlarged lymph node even felt was a remote possibility. When she called that morning it was obvious she was as shocked with the pathology report as I was. Thankfully my son is a survivor and his cancer was caught so early that it did not show on the Cat Scan or tests he had prior to the removal of the lymph node. I was very aware after his diagnosis how life can turn on a dime at any instant.

Life We never expected cover

Andrew and Rachel Wilson were hit with something unexpected that turned their lives upside down when both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. It was not something they thought was in the realm of possibilities either when they started a family.

This book takes a very honest look at what it is like for them raising two special needs children. The highs and lows, coping with all kinds of suffering, their personal stories and the encouragement that keeps them going that is rooted in the truth of God’s word.  Andrew and Rachel focus on lessons they learned when fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials. They focus on how Christ, the One who promises to make all things new has been such a support to them on this journey.

the life we never expected back cover

The authors tell it like it is, this book is raw and very helpful in showing the very real side of raising children with challenges. Even if you do not have a special needs child, this book is powerful in helping you to understand the trials and suffering your family members or friends may be facing with their child. It can help you be a support to them and lend them compassion and comfort in weak times. I think everyone can benefit from reading this book.

You can find this book is available on Amazon. For a chance to win a copy, just enter the giveaway below.


One lucky blog reader will win a copy of  The Life We Never Expected.  Giveaway Open to US residents. Cannot win on more than one blog giveaway. All winners subject to approval by the sponsor.  Good Luck!!!

The Life We Never Expected Book Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Books, Giveaway, Life, Review