Archives For Heather

Motor Oil Matters Oil Change Checklist

Motor Oil Matters Oil Change Checklist

sponsored post image3

I grew up with a Dad who did most of his own work on the cars and when I got to driving age, some dinner table conversations revolved around Dad tips.

“Don’t ever drive with the car registering hot.”

“Check your tire pressure especially before a trip.”

“Keep your gas above half, so the old crummy gas isn’t dragged through your engine,”

 “Learn what kind of oil your car needs and how to read the dipstick.”

“Don’t go into shady auto places.”

Yes, those are just a few of my Dad’s tips. Haha! I love that guy. I always did use each bit of information sometime as I grew up.

I like knowing how to take care of my car. I want to be an educated consumer and I don’t want to have to trust someone who may be taking advantage of me and my money when I get auto work done.

Even with changing the oil. A cheaper “deal” may be more expensive, because you may not be getting quality motor oil and the type needed for your car. All Motor oil is NOT the same or equal. Your auto manual will list what type oil you should use.

This new MOM program tells you much of what you should know when you get an oil change.

MOM, a new consumer education and industry watchdog program by the American Petroleum Institute, was founded to stress the benefits of quality licensed motor oils and call onto the carpet those who engage in deceptive practices.

This Summer alone, I have gone on several driving trips by myself with the kids and I am always relieved when I pull into my destination with no troubles. Of course, doing routine maintenance helps ensure fewer surprises! In fact, AAA expects between the major summer holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day to aid over eight million motorists, and cautions drivers that auto maintenance is key to avoiding summertime travel breakdowns.

The experts at Motor Oil Matters (MOM) want to offer you a $50 gift card toward your next oil change! (US residents only)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What questions should you ask at your next oil change? MOM has provided this checklist. Take a look and even print it out to take with you on your next oil change. An empowered consumer is a SMART consumer.

Here are a few links that you may find helpful:

Motor Oil Matters website, Facebook Page and Twitter.

“The Motor Oil Matters information and a gift card for me for an oil change and a gift card for a reader has been provided by Motor Oil Matters.”

Breakfast Wrap with Udi's tortilla

Breakfast Wrap with Udi’s tortilla

sponsored post image3

During the Summer, I can get really lazy about breakfast. I mean, the kids are getting up later and at all different times and I am not craving something hot like I do in the Winter. Yet, ironically, Summer is when the family is super busy physically, going swimming and hiking and traveling and we need a healthy breakfast to get going.

I like to just go ahead and call our Summer breakfast “brunch.” Seriously, do not wake up kids if you don’t have to, right? But I do like to feed them decent meals…so we just start later in the day.

When I got an Udi’s Gluten Free Foods Sampler last week, I was glad to test out some new breakfast goodies.

Now, we are lucky in that no one in our home is officially celiac. But, I do have sensitivity to gluten, so I try to avoid gluten in general.

When I first tried Udi’s, I had been gluten free for over six months and I was thrilled to find something I could eat I did not have to bake for myself! (And the Udi’s bread and cookies I tried at the time were way better than mine).

If you or a loved one need to totally cut out gluten, many of Udi’s choices are very useful. All Udi’s Gluten Free Foods are certified gluten free. I wish they were organic as well, but most are certified kosher. Many Udi’s products are totally nut free unless clearly marked (like some granolas) and some are even dairy, soy and egg free.

I was expecting to try a new granola flavor or bit of bread so and I was pleasantly surprised to find a large number of new baked goods in my sampler.

Udi's baked goods

Udi’s baked goods…and they must know I have kids, some granola bars on top:)

When my children tried some out, there was definitely no contest about which baked goods they would try first. They ate all the muffins and cinnamon rolls right away that week. I thought the cinnamon rolls were good when heated. Not especially great for you, but a really nice treat! I really liked the muffins. A little less sweet than the cinnamon rolls and so moist, you would never guess they were gluten free.

Then, I was curious to try the tortillas. My family enjoys a breakfast burrito, with scrambled eggs with monterey jack cheese and onion and green pepper, rolled up in a tortilla. I wondered how a tortilla could really be gluten free and still taste good. When I made these, I heated the tortillas up individually in the skillet with a bit of butter. I did need to be delicate as the tortillas can break easily. Once they were heated up though, the wraps were almost more like crepes in texture and were very easy to work with. The breakfast burrito wraps were a hit!

I think my favorite things of all were the bagels and the cinnamon bread. Oh my goodness, a bit of that bread, toasted, with coffee was delicious. The cinnamon bread tasted just like regular cinnamon bread, I thought.

 

Cinnamon Bread toast

Cinnamon Bread toast

And, the Everything Inside Bagel and the Mighty Bagel were very good.

The Everything Bagel has 7g of protein, 3g of fiber and non GMO canola oil. The Mighty Bagel has 8g of protein, 3g of fiber and some great flavors, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The kids loved these also except for the flax seeds. These would also travel well for a healthy breakfast.

While we were gobbling down the bagels, my husband quietly took the granola samples. He always likes Udi’s granola and I do buy the Vanilla granola for him. This time, the difference in the newer type of granola was that they have added Antioxidants and Omega 3’s to their Active Granola line. The bag is 11oz, just a teeny bit smaller than the older versions of granolas at 12 oz per package. My husband did like the Blueberry Cashew flavor and found it full of nuts and fruit.

You can find Udi’s even at Walmart, now, I see. You can also buy them online if you cannot find locally.

Don’t forget to check out the Udi’s Website. You can read many tips about Gluten free living and get tons of recipes, as well as get a $1 off coupon for Udi’s.

You can also find ideas for recipes on their Pinterest and on Facebook.

*I received Udi’s samples to review for this post. I have given my honest opinion and received no additional compensation.

Jibbitz sunglasses

Jibbitz sunglasses

sponsored post image3

I was happy to get a pair of the new Kids’ Jibbitz™ Comber Sunglasses to check out. You can see from the photo above, a little cutie I know was even happier!

I like the sunglasses because they are sturdy and have shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses and 100% protection from UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

Little cutie likes the sunglasses because they have a fun, cool shape with the reflecting lenses and he can personalize the Jibbitz™ Joint in the temples with his favorite Jibbitz™ charms.

He is wearing the Comber style with guitar and a police vehicle Jibbitz™ charms. The police car even has flashing lights! I did not realize that until the kids figured that out and they were delighted. There are tons of Jibbitz™ charms to choose from and kids can mix and match and change them out easily.

jibbitz kids sunglasses

jibbitz kids sunglasses

The sunglasses run $12.99 for most styles and the Jibbitz™ charms are sold separately. Other styles include the Launch and a more girlie shape, the Glam.

 

Polly Pockets Fun

July 5, 2013
Emma setting up Wall Party Polly Pocket playset

Emma setting up Wall Party Polly Pocket playset

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Polly Pocket. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”* #Sponsored #MC

Looking for a treat for a little girl this Summer? Look below for a great sale price on Polly Pocket Dolls and Sets!

These are always imaginative and fun for my kids. The little portable ones make it easy to bring dolls along on errands and the bigger sets seem to keep them entertained for hours.

The latest playsets can be used for play and décor! Just apply to a playroom or bedroom wall and the kids can play right there, which is adorable looking and also they get to leave their toys out!

I encourage you to check out the newest Polly Pocket Sets. If you want to buy one from my Amazon Social Store on this review, Just click below:

Through Sunday, July 7th, the Polly Pocket items promoted on my store have been discounted at LEAST to the following:

  • Polly Pocket Zip ‘N Splash Playset: Previously: $17.99 Now: $15.95
  • Polly Pocket Wall Party Tree House Playset: Previously: $19.99 Now: $11.99
  • Polly Pocket Wall Party Ultimate All-in-One Playset: Previously $74.99 Now: $47.99

This discount is only available for a limited time and is a great sale!

Emma playing with Zipline Adventure Polly Pockets

Emma playing with Zipline Adventure Polly Pockets

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Polly Pocket. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”*

We have had Polly Pockets dolls around our home for over 10 years now! My older daughter loved the Polly dolls when they were new and spent hours setting up her dolls with the little teeny outfits.

Over time, the Polly Pocket sets have grown and we still have a bunch of Polly sets. They are always imaginative and fun for my kids. The little portable ones make it easy to bring dolls along on errands and the bigger sets seem to keep them entertained for hours.

The newest Polly Pocket sets even surprised me. First of all, they now have Polly dolls that can change color in water temperature and the sets are more adventurous in nature, like the Zip ‘N Splash playset we got to check out.

Polly Pocket zip and splash playset

Polly Pocket Zip ‘N Splash playset is great for bath time

On top of that, the latest Wall Party sets can be used for play and décor!

Seriously, this is a GENIUS idea. I always say, the “floor is not a shelf,” and my kids laugh and pick up their toys (or fuss and pick up their toys). But the latest sets from Polly Pocket can be applied to a playroom or bedroom wall and the kids can play right there, which is adorable looking and also, they get to leave their toys out! My daughter loves these and I think they look really cute in her room.

Emma setting up Wall Party Polly Pocket playset

Emma setting up Wall Party Polly Pocket playset

I really only share things I like and I think these are fun. They are just plain fun and do encourage imaginative play. Plus, this wall décor idea is really new and entertaining, I think.

Need some toys for a car ride, birthday gifts or presents for your daughters, granddaughters or neices? I always seem to and I get to give you a DISCOUNT!

I encourage you to check out the newest Polly Pocket Sets. If you want to buy one from my Amazon Social Store on this review, it should be really easy. Let me know if you have any trouble.

Just click on this link:

 

Through Sunday, July 7th, the Polly Pocket items promoted on my store have been discounted to the following:

  • Polly Pocket Zip ‘N Splash Playset: Previously: $17.99 Now: $15.95
  • Polly Pocket Wall Party Tree House Playset: Previously: $19.99 Now: $11.99
  • Polly Pocket Wall Party Ultimate All-in-One Playset: Previously $74.99 Now: $47.99

I have seen that these prices may go even lower – click that store link to see. Right now, the Zip ‘N Splash is showing under $10. That is a great price. This discount is only available for a limited time and seems like a great sale!

Family time fun at Busch Gardens

We had so much fun that day at Busch Gardens being outside and playing, from my 8 year old to my 18 year old.

How is your Summer going? Ours has been a mix of great fun and some quiet indoor days. I am not a super outdoorsy person and I definitely feel guilty when I am not out and about with the kids, doing outdoor activities.

Yet, most of my kids are pretty content to watch movies and play online, so while that mitigates my guilt, I still feel it IS better for kids to be outside, being kids, whether that is just going to the pool or running around the neighborhood.

Just recently, we all got off our electronics though! I had a “Mommy and Me Meetup” at Williamsburg, Busch Gardens. This ended up being a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy time with my children.

Note: “I attended an event on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Busch Gardens. I received free admission to the park as a thank you for participating.”*

Once we got there, we had an awesome breakfast buffet and meeting. I loved how the Busch Gardens team prepared for our kids. They know little kids need to have stuff to do, and the tables even had paper and chalk for drawing and little buckets with toys.

Busch Gardens Breakfast

Busch Gardens Breakfast

While the kids were eating and playing, Stacy from Mom Central Consulting and the Busch Gardens Team gave a fascinating presentation about how our children are described as the generation of digital natives. We heard about a study of 900 Moms, which showed that most mothers struggle to find a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor play.

I totally agree. I know I ran around outside crossing our little creek and climbing around in the woods as a kid. I wish my kids had more natural outdoor fun, but where we live now it just is not as easy. I have to worry about safety and neighbors, and the kids want to play video games.

 “According to a just-released survey of nearly 900 moms conducted by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Busch Gardens®, kids spend only two hours during the week participating in natural, unstructured activities such as playing tag, riding bikes, and exploring nature, and these activity levels increase only slightly on the weekends to a little more than two hours.”

It is almost as though, as parents, we really need to work to help our kids play outside and have that old fashioned fun. And some days I do try hard to set up more outdoor play. But, it really is work for me though I know it is worth the time to get.

With the meetup focus, we heard about how Busch Gardens is trying to help fill that need for outdoor natural fun for whole families. It makes sense. They have over 100 acres of lush land at this location. They have been voted the world’s most beautiful theme park for the past 23 years! I took a few photos from the The  Aeronaut Skyride because the trees and foliage are just gorgeous.

The Aeronaut Skyride

Anyway, Busch Gardens wants to share that “Fun Grows Here”

outdoor fun clip

they have a kind of triple play of gorgeous nature, animals and rides. So, any family can find their niche while enjoying being outdoors together.

The Aeronaut Skyride

I think that is fabulous and I love that Moms and Dads can have the fun also. My kids love it when we play with them and this trip made it so easy to just go play outdoors!

It was, overall, such a relaxing, enjoyable experience. At the beginning of the day (and at the very end) we had some rain showers. I freaked out and figured we’d have to go home, but there was no lightening and the kids could have cared less.

girl at Busch Gardens with Umbrella

A teeny bit after I calmed down, the sun popped out and the weather was fantastic most of the day…and no one got sunburned.

We got our maps and those of us with smart phones had the Busch Gardens App, which is great because it shows where you are, directions to rides and such and even updates the showtimes around the park. It proved to be a useful App.

The older kids got to run around on the roller coasters and thrill rides, while we did some of the younger kids things, marked as KIDsiderate with our youngest:

Kids roller coaster at Busch Gardens

and then we all met up, throughout the day, to do some rides together, watch some shows, have some treats and check out the animals.

The pompei ride at Busch Gardens

The kids on the Pompeii ride

Dad even found a new ride he liked:

Europe in the air ride

 

As we walked through the park I did test some of the employees {grin} I knew I would be writing a review and I wanted to be able to share the truth of our experience. I had been told that the Park employees with animals were friendly and if I asked, would tell us all about the animal. So, we talked to several park employees who were with animals. We first hung out with the sheep in Scotland and learned tons about the baby sheep and border collies and Clydesdales. My daughter was so into that!

girl and Clydesdales at Busch Gardens

I was impressed with the employees knowledge and willingness to chat with us. We also went to the pet shenanigans show, and I liked how after the show, people were encouraged to come up and talk to the people and visit with the animals.

Pet Shenanigans show at Busch Gardens

Again, my eight year old enjoyed that very much. We also spoke with a woman with the most adorable little owl and she gave us so many facts, Emma could write a report.

Busch Gardens Owl

The roller coasters were my teenagers favorites and they rode those over and over, as the wait times were not bad at all. My children declared Griffon® the “best ride ever”.

Griffon Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens

One thing they noticed was that many of the coasters and thrill rides like the Battering Ram and Da Vinci’s Cradle had accelerometers on the rides, and they were curious to do some of the educational activities when they came back again.

I loved it that I did not push them to do the educational stuff, yet they became curious and want to follow up for themselves. Now, THAT’S natural learning.

I hear that Busch Gardens is homeschool friendly, with many new homeschool opportunities coming up.

For example, they have a Launch Into Physics: The Mars Mission program where kids can learn about momentum, acceleration and g-forces.

I see that this Summer there will be NASA Exploration Days (Aug. 2 – 3) and they have ongoing Conservation programs. You can check out their website to read about how to do Behind the Scenes Tours with groups of 15 or more. As a homeschool Mom, I will be keeping a watch for these things!

Anyway, we meandered through the park and ate crazy good ice cream cone sundaes in France and fat pretzels in Germany (the pretzels in Germany are the best get yours there). I felt like a kid myself.

ice cream at Busch Gardens

As a parent, it is so much fun to watch your kids enjoy themselves! I got a kick out of doing some old school rides like the bumper cars…

IMG_2233

and the carousel…

Busch Gardens carousel

Haha! We made Big brother go with us

and we planned our day to culminate at the Celtic Fyre® a show with singers, musicians and Irish dancers, which was so enjoyable and a great end to the day.

I didn’t have time to do everything. I missed taking the Rhine River Cruise, which sounds beautiful. Next time around, I want to try the Escape from Pompeii® and Roman Rapids®. There is so much to do!!

I know that this trip is something all of my kids that went with us will remember forever. It was just that fun and doing it all together made for a great memory.

You can find more information on the Park on the Busch Gardens website. You can also follow Busch Gardens Facebook. An upcoming event that looks great is the return of IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens® Encore.

So, that was our experience. Here’s to enjoying outdoor fun as a family! #NaturalFun and #MC.

The Waterproof Bible

May 15, 2013

waterproof Bible

Waterproof Bible

A Waterproof Bible?

Just after Easter this year, I ran away from the snow in Virginia and headed to the beach off the Georgia coast. Right before I left, I got a fabulous review item in the mail from Bardin & Marsee.

So want to guess what I got that turned out to be so great? I bet you’ll never guess.

It was a Waterproof Bible, an ESV version that included the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs, to be exact.

Weird, right? I love it! I got my waterproof, durable and sweet pink Bible from a company that specializes in rugged Bibles. You can find all kinds of information, including pricing on the website, http://www.bardinmarsee.com/.

They carry many different versions, for example, the KJV, NIV, ESV, NKJV and NLT. And every Bible is 100% waterproof inside and out. They are made from synthetic materials for longevity and extreme conditions. The pages have a nice, study feel to them. They are not too slippery or thin and the cover feels very solid and durable.

I took mine on my travels and I was pleased with the size. It fit easily in my tote, so I could keep it out of my main luggage and with me, making it easy to use often. I did miss the Old Testament, but the entire Bible is available also, I just did not get that one and the slim size of this one does work well.

I left my main Bible at home and did not have to worry about losing that. The synthetic pages of this waterproof one can be written on as well, so I started up with new notes.

I brought the Bible to the beach with me and purposefully treated it a bit roughly, just to see what would happen. I did not submerge the Bible, as I read many people have done. That made me nervous! Apparently though, I totally could have and it would dry up just fine.

Waterproof Bible at Beach

Waterproof Bible at Beach

I did get mine a bit wet and full of sand. The moisture dried off quickly and all the sand slid right off. I also was able to stick it in my beach bag without worrying. I can imagine this Bible would be super handy to have in many circumstances.

I love mine and definitely highly recommend the Waterproof and Outdoor Bibles!

waterproof bible logo2

Visit the Barden & Marsee Publishing website to find out more. You can also find them on Facebook.

@WaterproofBible #MosaicReviews

*I received the Waterproof ESV New Testament in order to facilitate this review. I have given my opinion.

my short hair

Time to examine my thoughts on my experiment with Weight Watchers 360, the online version of Weight Watchers. First of all, I want to stress that this is my opinion. While the site and the mobile apps had interesting and useful features, I just did not use them very much and I never felt like I enjoyed the online community.

For example, I had a lot of trouble finding all my foods in the online food tracker and I rarely could get the barcode scanner to scan my stuff.  I also joined a group in the community, yet never got more than one message from the group. I think I was supposed to visit the group site more and chat up people. I am just too introverted and busy to mess with that.

As I am already on the computer as a blogger and involved in forums, I suspect I personally need to get away from the computer and spending time online in order to really change my lifestyle. As I mentioned in Day 7 of my Weight Watchers Diary, I feel like using the fitbit to keep you honest about your true exercise habits and being more active on a daily basis will help me more than just watching my food intake and changing some habits. All of those together of course, are great, but I already know much of what WW 360 is telling me, I am just not DOING the things. I did just notice that Weight Watchers looks like they are promoting a new item that will track your movements, called the activelink. Interesting. I may have tried the Weight Watchers 360 too early.

Anyway, if you are interested in using Weight Watchers and Weight Watchers online, I really recommend doing a trial of the online version but also visiting a local weight watchers group. You can see if you really need to be in a physical group for support or if the online fits your lifestyle. You can also do both an online and local support group at the same time, and the cost varies depending on what you choose.

I do like the Weight Watchers magazine, so I ordered that. I like the recipes and the how to prepare food videos that are available on the ipad app, that is part of the WW 360.

So, I guess my final thoughts on this are that they do have some really useful information, especially on how to prepare food in a healthy manner and how to make changes in your habits. Yet, I did not feel supported by the online forums and I didn’t love the food tracking app available for smartphones.

In the end, I think Weight Watchers 360 has lots of good information and decent apps, but I need more live accountability, myself.

Right now, there is a two week risk free trial showing up on the Weight Watchers site. So, now would be a decent time to try and see what you think!!

*I received a complimentary 3 month subscription to Weight Watchers Online.“People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.”