Saturday, December 28, 2013

Amber For Babies: Amber Teething Necklace Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent an Amber Teething Necklace in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

As a mom, one of the hardest parts of my "job" is having to watch my kids in pain. I will do just about anything I can to help them feel better. Unfortunately, both of my kids have dealt with extreme pain from teething. Once, during a particularly bad week as one of Grace's molar was coming through, I actually had a pediatrician tell me that the reason Grace was in so much pain couldn't be teething because teething doesn't hurt at all. I laughed in his face. 

When my kids are about to pop a tooth, they are miserable. Grace finally got all of her teeth at about 22 months and I got a few months break before Connor popped his first one at 5 months. It seems like his teething pain has been fairly constant since then and nothing seems to help. When Amber for Babies offered to send me one of their Amber Teething Necklaces, I figured it would be worth a try!

I've heard of Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces before and even seen friend's kids wearing them, but I didn't know too much about the theory behind them. Amber for Babies sent me their Honey Raw Beads Necklace to try.



When the amber comes in contact with the warmth of your baby’s skin, it unlocks the natural healing properties within each stone. Since amber is the fossilized form of tree resin, it has special properties unlike any other piece of jewelry on the market and releases healing oils that reduce the pain and redness caused by teething. This makes the entire ordeal as painless as possible for your child.

This necklace is made with true Baltic amber, which is the best source of amber in the world. In addition, each piece is made entirely by hand, and we attach two knots on either end of each bead to prevent them from scattering or falling off in the event that the chain breaks. This ensures that each amber necklace is as comfortable and as effective as possible for your baby.


I have to admit that I'm a bit of a skeptic about most "natural remedies." While I'm all for avoiding medications if possible, I thought the hype was just that, hype. But like I said, Connor was miserable from teething and I was willing to give it try. I read up a lot about the safety of teething necklaces and was happy to read that all necklaces from Amber for Babies have knots between each bead to ensure that if the chain breaks, the beads will not scatter.



I only let him wear it while he is awake and supervised. It is meant to be worn under clothing to prevent children from chewing on them, I just took this picture with his shirt off to show how adorable it is! Surprisingly, Connor doesn't even seem to notice it. He is the king of putting things in his mouth, and he has yet to try to chew on it or even pull on it.

So the real question is, does it work? Honestly, I think it has helped. He doesn't seem to be drooling nearly as much and he has been happier since he started wearing it. We will definitely be using this necklace on a daily basis. 

To find out more or to buy a necklace for your child, visit AmberForBabies.com or their Facebook Page


Giveaway

One Moments That Take My Breath Away reader will win their choice of either the Honey Raw Beads Amber Necklace or the Lemon Raw Beads Amber Necklace. 

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Monday, January 6th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US residents only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent an Amber Teething Necklace in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care


Our mantel is ready for Christmas morning!

We're spending a quiet day at home today while I finish last minute wrapping. I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kidoodle.TV: A TV App for Kids

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

As much as I want to limit screen time in our house, sometimes it is a necessary evil. When I need to make phone calls or get an important project done, I end up plopping Grace down with a show to keep her busy for a bit. The problem is that on our TV, she has no options to select another show if (as often happens) she changes her mind about what she wants to watch in two minutes. If I give her the iPad, she is able to go between her apps, but I'm not able to control what she ends up on. 

I was excited to hear about an app called Kidoodle.TV. A TV application designed for kids under the age of 12, Kidoodle.TV offers kids the opportunity to choose which show they would like to watch with no ads. Grace loves watching Pound Puppies, Paddington Bear, and Madeline.



As a parent, the best part of Kidoodle.TV is the ability to create up to 5 different child profiles in the "Parents Room." After creating the child's profile, you can select which age appropriate shows you want your child to be able to choose from and can even set up time limits for their screen time (such an amazing thing for Grace who would watch TV all day if she had the choice!)

You can try Kidoodle.TV for free now through December 31st! If you sign up for your free trial by the end of December, you will be entered to win one of ten tablets or one of ten year long Kidoodle.TV subscriptions! Just follow the onscreen directions at Kidoodle.TV to set up your trial. 

For more information about Kidoodle.TV, visit their Facebook and Twitter pages! 

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CVS and Pampers: Fuss Free Savings for the Holidays Giveaway

Christmas is 6 days away and our family celebrations actually start this weekend. I know that life is about to get crazy for us and our little ones schedules are going to go out the window. With long car trips, family dinners, and lots of celebrating, the last thing I want to have to worry about is a leaking diaper. That is why I only trust Pampers diapers in our house.

In the 3 years that we have been using diapers, I have discovered that Pampers work best for my kids and I love that they are now offering even more features in their diapers. They now include 12 hours of overnight protection! After spending hours trying to get Connor to sleep in an unfamiliar place, I know that his Pampers diaper will keep him dry all night long.

As much as I try to prepare for our trips and our outings during the holidays, I have a tendency to be a bit scatter brained. I blame it on mommy brain, it's a very real thing! Two years ago, for a trip to my parents house for Christmas, I packed what I felt like was the entire house. But when we arrived, I realized that I hadn't packed any diapers. All I had was the couple that were in the diaper bag. That was definitely not going to last us the entire trip! Thankfully, there was a CVS nearby and we were able to quickly grab a package of Pampers. CVS carries the entire Pampers line of products and I know I can always head there to find what I need. 


CVS is my favorite drugstore and I shop there regularly. I love that I can get in quickly and get what I need and go. Grace loves that they have carts with Cozy Coupes on the front! There aren't long lines and as a couponer, I love that the cashiers know their policies and never give me any trouble during my big coupon trips (I always have problems with cashiers at other stores.) They even have a machine that prints coupons in the store that you can use immediately.  Then they tell me how much I've saved on my receipt. Yes, I am a couponing geek.

The CVS closest to my house is open late and is great for the late night "we're out of diapers" emergencies. We also have one about 15 minutes away from our house that is open 24 hours. 

If you love Pampers diapers like we do, go to your neighborhood CVS for fuss-free savings!

Giveaway
One Moments That Take My Breath Away reader will win coupons redeemable for a package of Pampers diapers (value 13.99) and a container of wipes (value 3.99.)

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Friday, December 27th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US residents only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ricola #Swissherbs Soothing Relief Kit & $30 Visa GC Giveaway!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ricola. I received a promotional item and Ricola products to facilitate my post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Cold and flu season is here and it's hitting hard this year. We've already passed a cold around our house and I spent last week finally getting over the nasty cough that dragged on for what seemed like weeks. Thankfully, Ricola offered to send me a Soothing Relief Kit to help me reach Chruterchraft.

Chruterchraft is Swiss for Ricola’s secret magical blend of 10 herbs that is in every cough drop. It stands for efficacy and enjoyment, incorporating all of the Ricola values into one word. All Ricola products are created using naturally cultivated farming methods and contain no pesticides, herbicides, artificial colorings or flavorings.


To help combat even the strongest cough, Ricola has added a new Extra Strength product to it's line of herb drops. I was excited to try it, because honestly I've never found cough drops to be that helpful.


These herb drops work! They are soothing and they don't taste too mediciny. I will definitely be adding them to our medicine cabinet in the future! 

As a side note, Ricola wins the best box ever award. As a blogger, I get quite a few products in the mail and  I have never gotten a box like this. When I opened it, I heard "RIIIIIIIIIIIICOLA!" If you've ever seen one of their commercials, you know what it sounds like. It made me smile and my almost 3 year old daughter was obsessed with it. She carried it around with her all day and I frequently heard "RIIIIIIIIIICOLA." She would break out in giggles every single time. After we finally took it away, Mike ripped apart the box, put most of it in the recycling pile and put the part with the sound effect in the trash. Every time I opened my trash can for the next few hours I heard "RIIIIIIICOLA." I seriously couldn't stop laughing. So props to them for making this review a great experience! 


Giveaway
Ricola has generously offered to give one Moments That Take My Breath Away reader a Ricola Soothing Relief Kit and a $30 Visa Gift Card!

How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Friday, December 27th at 11:59 PM CST! Open to US residents only. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen.

The first entry is mandatory- Visit Ricola and leave a comment on this post telling me which Ricola product you would like to try. Once you complete this entry, the widget will give you the option of completing the rest. Complete more steps for more chances to win!

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ricola. I received a promotional item and Ricola products to facilitate my post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My wishlist + $200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!!

We are in the single digit countdown to Christmas! My holiday shopping is done. None of it is wrapped of course, but at least it's done! Now that I have kids, I find it really hard to think of things that I want for myself. But I searched and found some things that I could definitely use.


1. Otterbox case- I have a generic case but I'm not loving it. So I need an upgrade!
2. Any and all of the Disney Cricut cartridges. They are expensive.
3. The add on pieces for my Willow Tree Nativity set. It's the centerpiece of my Christmas mantle.
4. A new duvet cover. I am obsessed with all of the designs from Crane & Canopy.
5. I love this sweatshirt from Out of Print clothing. They have so many things I want....
6. I need this new paddle attachment for my KitchenAid mixer! Plus an extra bowl and a pouring shield.

Are you still shopping for holiday gifts? Do you need ideas? Coupons.com has put together four gift guides that are sure to help you find great gifts for anyone in your family!




There are gift guides for Moms, Dads, Teens, and Kids. The Coupons.com Holiday Gift Guide for Kids features great products that I know my kids would love including Carters clothing, the Sleeping Beauty Castle Play Set from the Disney Store, and the Cozy Coupe 30th Anniversary Tikes Patrol Ride-On from Walmart.

The best part of the gift guides? Coupons.com has created an amazing Coupons.com Holiday Sweepstakes! Each gift guide has giveaway of a virtual gift basket filled with e-gifts cards from the retailers in that guide. Each basket is worth a total of $500!! Check out each of the 4 gift guides to enter! 

I know everyone would love a little extra spending money for Christmas, so I've partnered with some other great bloggers to offer a $200 Amazon gift card giveaway! Happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of  Coupons.com.  All opinions are 100% mine.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

We've made several different Christmas crafts this week and I wanted to share them tonight. None of the crafts are complicated enough to need a tutorial, but I thought I'd post pictures since I know I'm always trying to find ideas simple enough for preschoolers and babies.

Several days ago, I got brave and pulled out the finger paint. The last time I tried to get Grace to paint with finger paint, it was a disaster. It turned into a major tantrum. So this time I decided to let her paint with a Q-tip. I've seen it on other blogs and thought she might enjoy decorating her own Christmas tree by making "lights and ornaments."

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers

While I was doing this with Grace, Connor got bored with my attempted distractions (Cheerios and a mixing bowl) and instead wanted to dive into the paint.

That was my nice mom moment of the day. Because honestly I was horrified by the mess he was making. But I let him go and he was thrilled. During that time, Grace decided she wanted to paint with her hands too, so we decided to make a Christmas tree with her hand prints!
Christmas crafts for toddlers
It certainly wasn't our cleanest day ever, but thank God for Crayola washable finger paint! It comes out of clothes and carpet :)

Today, we made Rice Krispie treats for the first time together and we used cookie cutters to cut out Christmas trees. She had the most fun decorating them with sprinkles and M&Ms. Of course, I'm not sure how many M&Ms went into her mouth vs. on the trees, but it's hard to blame her. She got my sweet tooth! I think she's figuring out that her mom is a blogger, because as soon as she was done she yelled "Mama, take picture! Cheese!"

I've got a week and a half left to cram all of the Christmas activities in that I can (I love them!) Any cute suggestions?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Santa Question

The holidays are in full swing at our house. During a recent trip to Hobby Lobby, Grace was excitedly looking at all of the Christmas decorations when she pointed at a Santa Clause figuring and asked "Who is that?" I told her it was Santa, she said OK and we moved on. Now every time she sees him, she yells "TA!" I haven't really told her any more about him, because honestly I wasn't planning on doing Santa in our house.

I didn't grow up believing in him, so the idea seems weird to me. I know some people believe that I'm probably ruining the magic of Christmas for my kids by not doing it, but I never felt robbed of any Chirstmas spirit growing up. When she gets old enough to start really asking questions about him, we will talk about the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus' birth, and about St. Nicholas. She already loves the VeggieTales version of St. Nicholas so it won't be hard to add in more details. But trying to make her believe in the north pole, flying reindeer, and a fat man that comes down the chimney to bring presents? I just don't really get the point. We will talk to her about not ruining it for other kids though. I don't want her to be THAT kid!

But this year, she's excited by Santa, so we decided to go take her to see him and see if she would sit in his lap. She was so thrilled to get to wear her pretty Christmas dress and go meet him.


Sorry for the picture of a picture. While she may not have been smiling at that moment, her face lit up when she saw him and she ran over and let him lift her on to his lap. I couldn't believe it. When she gets really excited, she starts concentrating and she ends up looking really serious. This picture shows one of those times. She hasn't stopped talking about sitting on "Ta's lap" since. Connor obviously didn't have much fun, but that didn't surprise me at all.

We'll see how the Santa thing goes next year. For now, I'm just enjoying watching her eyes light up whenever she sees anything related to Christmas.

Do you do Santa with your kids? Why or why not?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas in the Park

I love Christmas and the holiday season is so much more fun this year because Grace really gets it. She's excited by all of the decorations and she talks about "Mas (her word for Christmas)" all the time. So when a friend told me about Christmas in the Park, a huge lights display in our city, I knew we had to check it out. We decided to go early in the month, because the line can get 1-2 hours long closer to Christmas. Waiting that long would not go well for us....

We got the kids in their PJs and loaded into the van.


Grace was so excited to go see the lights. While Connor may look excited here, he had a rough day that day and actually ended up falling asleep about 2 minutes after we left the house. He slept through the entire trip.

We drove right in and were greeted by toy soldiers at the entrance:


Grace couldn't contain her excitement. The entire time we heard "Mom, look! Daddy snowman! Look!!" It took about 15 minutes to do the entire loop to look at all of the lights and she loved every minute of it.

It made for a pretty amazing night and all she could talk about the next day was the "pretty lights." It is now going to be something we do every year. I just hope that Connor will be awake to enjoy it next time!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting

I have gained a reputation in my husband's family for bringing cake to every holiday. So I knew that I needed to find a great new recipe for Thanksgiving. I'm not a pumpkin fan (Thanksgiving blasphemy, I know!) but I thought apples would make a great fall substitute. I spent way too much time on Pinterest and finally found the perfect recipe at A Hint of Honey for Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting


This cake is just as delicious as it sounds. It's moist and rich with great flavors. I used our favorite apple cider which made the frosting amazing!

INGREDIENTS
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups light brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup caramel sauce (homemade or jarred)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
Apple Cider Frosting:
8 cups confectioners’ sugar (to desired consistency)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour two (9×2 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a second large bowl, beat sugar and oil together with an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add applesauce, caramel and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, and continuing to beat until well combined.
3. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 10 minutes, then gently loosen cakes and turn out onto a cooking rack; set aside to let cool completely.
4. For the frosting, put sugar, butter, cider, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Arrange one cake on a large plate and spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Arrange second cake on top then frost top and sides of entire cake with remaining frosting. Set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow frosting to set before serving.
Makes a tall 2-layer, 9-inch round cake.
(Adapted from A Hint of Honey)
I actually made an 8 inch cake instead of 9. Because of this, I was able to make a few cupcakes with the extra batter for our second Thanksgiving meal of the day. They didn't take long to bake, I can't remember the exact amount of time, I just checked on them fairly often. I will definitely be making this cake again!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shopping online?

Disclosure: This post contains my referral link. This means that if you sign up through my link, I earn a small amount of cash. 

My UPS and FedEx men probably hate me right now. I have done all of my Christmas shopping online this year and of course I have done the majority of it in the past week. I think I had 8 boxes arrive today!

If you do your shopping online like I do, make sure to check out Ebates!
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back


It's a site that offers coupons and cash back simply by clicking through to your favorite retailers. If you shop at places like Target, Amazon, Walmart, Lowe's, or Kohls, you can earn a percentage of your purchase total back. We bought a microwave from Lowe's last night and received 5% cash back! I have earned over $50 so far this year for my online shopping. This is totally legit and safe. They send a check in the mail. Ebates pays you for shopping. I'm mad at myself for not signing up earlier because I missed so much free cash!

To learn more and sign up, visit their website now!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cotton Ball Snowman Craft

After seeing the movie Frozen last week, Grace is now obsessed with snowmen. When we woke up this morning and daddy told her that there was a little bit of snow outside, she exactly ran to the door yelling "SNOWMAN!!" We had to explain to her that the light dusting of snow was not enough to build a snowman, and she spent several minutes pouting. So after daddy went to work, I turned to Pinterest to find a fun toddler friendly snowman activity. I found one and we set to work.

Snowman craft

I drew the basic snowman shape onto a piece of paper, covered the shape in glue and let her go at it with cotton balls.

Then we made the snowman's accessories. She helped me cut out a hat, arms, mittens, eyes, a nose, and a smile. She picked out puffs for buttons and got to help glue everything on.

It's a simple, cute, quick project. She is so proud of it and it is now in the spot of honor on the fridge.
My phone did this feature somehow and it made me smile so I had to share!

Do you have any fun toddler crafts for Christmas? Please share any ideas you have! I'd love to try some new ones in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Adventures at the Park

Winter has finally reared it's ugly head in Kansas City. We had a gorgeous few days with close to 60 degree temperatures and today it dropped into the 30s, blah. I am not a fan of winter. So knowing about the impending temperature drop, yesterday I decided to take the kids out for one last park trip to get some energy out. We decided to try a new park by our house.

The city totally ripped out the old equipment and had promised a great new play area. Well, I can say that they certainly accomplished their goal. It is AMAZING. I think every other parent in our area had the same idea because it was packed. This climbing structure had at least 20 kids on it and there was still plenty of room for more. Grace wanted to climb on it, but I decided we need to wait a few more years before she can tackle that.

There is a crawl and play area for little ones. Connor loved this space. Normally a park trip involves him being stuck in the Ergo with few brief minutes in the swing or a couple of trips down a slide. But here he got to crawl around and explore.
He stayed in this log for at least 10 minutes. He had several little "friends" come up to the hole to play with him and he thought it was amazing. Grace joined him several times.
Most of the time while Connor was hanging out in his favorite log, Grace was running around with some other little girls. She loves simply running around in circles with other kids. It's so funny to watch how excited she gets.


There was a slide next to the baby area that is "built in" to some rocks. She loved climbing up and around various ways to get to the slide.
The park has several pieces of equipment that I have never seen before! Including a rope swing big enough for several kids to lie in:
She wasn't completely sure about it, but she kept asking me to push more so I guess she liked it.

Her favorite thing at the park was this merry go round. It's certainly not like the metal contraptions we had growing up! There are ropes around it with small openings to that kids can get on and off. This is where we spent the majority of our park time. She laughed and giggled the entire time she was on it.

After being pushed for a while by parents and some older boys, she and another little girl decided that it would be fun to push it. Pure joy!

We will definitely be going back to this park next spring. Both kids were asleep within about a minute of getting in the car. That's the sign of a successful park trip for us!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Connor's 1 Year Pictures

I got Connor's 1 year pictures taken a little late due to a bit of confusion with a local photographer. I had won a free session months ago that I planned to use, but after some mixed up communications, we decided to use that session for Grace's 3 year pictures in January instead. So I decided to go to JCPenney's portrait studio for Connor's pictures. Honestly, I have had mixed experiences with JCP. But luckily I've found an amazing photographer at our local studio who is great with my kids. Connor didn't want to sit still at all, but I'm still pleased with what she got. He refused to do a real smile and only did his open mouth laugh.

I love his long eye lashes

She kept trying to get him to hold the 1, this is what he thought about that:
Lovely face, isn't it? It made me giggle.

I didn't have anyone who could babysit Grace during his session, so I brought her along. I honestly thought that it would be a disaster, since she has hated anything having to do with getting pictures taken in the past. But I dressed her up with a bit of minuscule hope that she might actually decide to join in the pictures. And sure enough, as soon as we got there, she happily sat down with Connor. Unfortunately her eyes are half closed, but beggars can't be choosers right?

She was actually mad at me that I wouldn't let her be in more pictures. I had to hold her to keep her from jumping in the shot. She liked the photographer and was having a great time. Still, I was shocked when I went in the other room to change Connor's outfit and she happily stayed in the studio and followed the photographers instructions. She still has some separation anxiety and stranger danger, so this was a huge deal for her! The photographer got some AMAZING shots. Seriously they are the best pictures we've had of her in.....years may be? She wouldn't let go of her baby that she takes everywhere, but I think having her included is kind of sweet.

I think it was the easiest photo session we've had since the kids were born. Of course, we tried to go take our Christmas pictures the next day at the exact same studio and it was a disaster. I will share those later in the month.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

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