Category Archives: Sponsored

GIVEAWAY: 5 Non-Candy Easter Gifts for Kids

I don’t know about you, but every year I try to make sure that my kids get other things besides sugary treats in their Easter baskets. They do end up with a lot of candy of course, because of grandparents who love to indulge them, but as for myself I like to include toys, books, and other little trinkets. Here are a few ideas for non-candy gifts this year.

Every year we have the same dilemma…what to buy the kids for Easter. While there are many different types of Easter Candy available (all that are very delicious) I always like to have a few non-candy gifts to add to the kids Easter Baskets. SmitCo sells a ton of products for kids. So I wanted to highlight a few of their kid jewelry options they have available so you can add a few non- candy gifts to your Easter Baskets. They also have fun journals available too!

Stretch Butterfly Necklace, Ring, Bracelet Set

This set is made of strong elastic with small and light beads that will fit easily over the heads of kids. Most girls love jewelry so go ahead make her day with this fun non-toxic wooden bead set for kids 2 through 8 year old! (Look for the $1 off coupon)


Bear Stretch Necklace, Ring And Bracelet Set

The necklace and bracelet costume jewelry sets are easy to put on and remove by children because of the elastic and no clasps to fasten which makes it great dress up or play jewelry for girls when they need to change their accessories


Pink Stretch Bow Necklace, Ring, Bracelet Set

This set is super cute and made of strong elastic with small and light beads fitting for kids.

Silver Tone Rhodium Plated Hypoallergenic Studs For Toddlers or Kids

Unlike some other earrings that will make your little girl’s ears become infected, this set is nickel and lead free. which means it is HYPOALLERGENIC and safe for little ears of toddlers and kids. The earrings measure 1/2 inch in length and they are adorable!

Blue Stretch Play Necklace and Bracelet Set

Most girls love jewelry so go ahead make her day with this fun non-toxic wooden bead set for kids 2 through 8 years old!

The more you buy, the more you save! Check out these coupons available:

  • Save 15% each on bow jewelry set for little girls offered by SmitCo LLC when you purchase 3 or more. Enter code EH3U3P8U at checkout.
  • Save 10% each on Bow Jewelry Set For Little Girls offered by SmitCo LLC when you purchase 2 or more. Enter code S9WCJWH3 at checkout.

Candy is always part of Easter baskets but if you need a few non candy gift ideas for Easter baskets, you know they will love jewelry. Plus everything is right around $10!

Giveaway Details:

Ends March 3, 2018 at 1159pm EST

US Residents Only


My Advice for a Happy Relationship

When I was first asked to write this post, I had to think about it for a minute.  Yes, I have been married for over ten years, and they passed quickly.  We’ve had our share of ups and downs.  Even through all that and 2 kids later, I do still feel we have that special “spark.” I’m not sure if the advice I give will be relevant for every couple and every relationship, but here are some little things that work to keep Jared and I close.

Check in with One Another

Everyone has their things to do and people to see on an everyday basis.  While my husband works and I stay at home raising the kids, he still calls several times a day to check in on what we are doing and how the boys are behaving.  It really makes me feel like he’s thinking about me even when we are not together and that we are both in this parenting thing together.

Support Each Other’s Hobbies

While my hobbies might vary from time to time, whether it’s reading or shopping or clothes, my husband is really only interested in two things: sports and video games.  On his off days I give him time to play games if he wants to, and it’s easy for me to watch sports with him because I like to see his passion for the game.  He also encourages me to go off and have time by myself or with my sisters to do things I want to do.  Even if you don’t necessarily love the things your partner does, it’s important to make an effort to try or at least not openly insult the hobbies they have.  If the hobby does become an obsession that makes your partner ignore household and parenting duties though, it’s time to have a talk.

Don’t Hold Major Annoyances Inside

Which brings me to my next point–if you’re having an issue with your partner which is truly bothering you, say something!  Rather than letting your irritation build up to the point of anger which will erupt into a shouting match, directly and rationally communicate about what’s bothering you.  The goal is to get any problem out into the open–they might not even realize there is a problem! If the problem is something both of you are having trouble getting over, it might be time to bring in an outside party–I love the convenience of online therapy from

Make any Night a Date Night

Although we don’t always have the time or the money to go out on fancy dinner dates, we often just wait until the kids are in bed and have a little meal to ourselves with no distractions.  We’ll set the table with low lighting and a bottle of wine, and just eat and lazily chat about things.  We don’t have to get dressed up and hire a babysitter.  It helps us feel like people and not just parents, even though we inevitably talk about the kids!

As I said, these are just a few ways my husband and I keep the gates of communication open and make each other feel loved.  We are by no means perfect but after being married for ten years maybe we do have a little bit of magic to share 🙂

If you and your partner are needing a sweet date night, check out the upcoming film Forever my Girl.

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.  Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.  This wonderful film is perfect for all of us who believe in courtship, romance, and love enduring all things.  It also has an amazing music soundtrack that includes hot CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Lauren Alaina, Travis Tritt, and Alex Roe who stars in our film as country star “Liam Page.” It releases in theaters on January 19.


Winter Weather and Chronic Illness

The seasons have changed once again, and winter is now in full swing.  In many parts of the country, heavy snowstorms are already happening, and we’re not even into the thick of winter.  We even got snow in Louisiana earlier this month!

What some of us may not realize, is that the dry, cold winter air can be harsh on those who suffer from chronic illness.  People with such conditions as emphysema, COPD, fibromyalgia, and mesothelioma–just to name a few–can find themselves with worsening symptoms at this time of year.  I’d like to share a few tips to help keep yourself more comfortable and healthy during this time of year.


Frosty air makes us turn our heaters on, and when the heat is blasting throughout our homes, it’s very drying to skin and our respiratory systems alike.  Heated air can cause flare ups of such skin problems as psoriasis and eczema, and dry out nasal passages and cause breathing issues.  Investing in a good humidifier can help alleviate some of these problems.  In the winter, it’s important to get a humidifier that has adjustable levels so your living room doesn’t end up feeling like an Amazon jungle.  Move the humidifier to the room you are in–when you go to bed, bring it with you.  When one of us is feeling stuffy, I like to add a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus to help us breathe better and get to sleep.


As I mentioned above, skin often suffers in the heated air as well–and cold winds, too!  Even if you don’t have a chronic skin condition, now is the time to bump up your skin care regimen.  Using creamy, rich body wash is the best way to begin moisturizing.  While you are still in the shower, you can also take the step of using the innovative new product called in-shower lotion, which glides on wet skin!  It truly does help seal in your skin’s natural moisture. If you prefer regular lotion or body cream, use that instead. For your face, consider using a moisturizing cream with SPF.  Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the sun has gone anywhere.  And finally, apply a lip balm several times a day.  Repeat the lotion and lip balm steps before bed as well.


Most importantly, follow any advice your doctor gives you in regards to the cold weather and your illness!  If he or she tells you you should not be outside when it’s cold, stay in!  If you are given the all clear to enjoy the wintry wonderland, take it outside but remember to pamper yourself when you come back in by taking advantage of the advice in this post.

Are you a person who has one of the chronic illnesses (Click here to learn more about mesothelioma) that might be affected by winter weather?  Please share your experience and tips in the comments.  

Interactive Learning With Mobile Apps

Lately, I have been hearing about learning apps on smartphones and I was really curious. Even though I am no longer in college, I realized that people like me can also benefit from these online learning apps to learn whatever we want from the endless lists of subjects and topics available for everyone.

These days, children learn to use electronic devices from a very early age. As we look around us, especially in public places, we see even toddlers stay glued to smartphones or tablets. Regardless of what the child specialists have said, parents are introducing their little ones and exposing them to these electronic devices. It usually starts with the parents allowing their little kids to watch the pre-school learning videos and cartoons as a means of keeping them quiet or occupied while the adults can enjoy a peaceful and undisturbed meal in the restaurants.

Since these little kids are so used to smartphones or tablets, they can easily pick up and learn through learning apps. Parents are now relying on the best online learning apps as a potent tool of learning for their pre-schoolers as well as elementary school children.

The trend of learning using smartphones, tablets, or iPads is fast spreading across the globe, affecting students’ learning habits. Students ranging from pre-schooler to college enjoy the benefit of free video learning apps to help them understand and remember easily.

Modern kids are very open to these learning apps, and parents and teachers alike are finding that kids learn faster through these apps. Teachers are now encouraging parents to allow their children to learn through apps to help their children improve on their studies. Educational information from textbooks is now stored in apps and the apps are designed in such a way to capture the children’s attention, such as using popular cartoon characters to draw their interest.

This Google play homework app can be easily downloaded onto any electronic device. Once downloaded, it is available at all times for students to have access to educational videos whenever convenient. Most of the learning apps are user or child-friendly for  little children to learn how to control the app. The lessons provided are very interactive activities, and children will not be bored with the different activities such as word games, coloring games, or even origami.

With guidance from their parents, children can benefit from the wide variety of online learning programs provided through these learning apps.

Custom Birthday Invitations Made Easy with Basic Invite

My older son’s birthday is right around the corner, which means it’s time for me to start looking at party invitations! I love to make them myself, but it’s not always easy coming up with the right graphics, font, and design for the theme I’ve chosen.

This year, I will be checking out the party invitation maker Basic Invite!

With Basic Invite, it couldn’t be easier to make the perfect party invitation for birthdays or any event.  No matter what event you need an invitation for, there are hundreds of choices!

Here are a few of my favorites.


I think my big boy, a guitar player, would love this one!









Hands down, the best thing about making birthday party invitations with Basic Invite is the fact that almost all of the work is done for you, but you still have complete control over the final product.  Let’s say you find a style you like, but you don’t like the colors of the graphic.  You can change it! With just a couple of clicks you can choose from over 180 color variations for any part of the design.  I also love that the wording of the invitation is already done to match with the theme you’ve chosen–no more having to come up with witty, rhyming quotes to make your invite cute 🙂

If you’re still not 100 percent sure you’re happy with the invitation you’ve created, Basic Invite will send you a printed sample of the finished product before you place an order.  They want you completely satisfied before you get ready to send those invites out!

Basic Invite is the best place to choose and design everything from birth announcements, to save the date cards for your upcoming wedding, to totally unique quinceanera invitations.  Don’t forget that the Holidays are coming up on us fast–and yep, they’ve got designs for that too! Get a head start on your personalized cards with Basic Invite.

Campus Book Rentals–Making Students and Kids Smile

When I was in college, everybody would line up at one of our two tiny bookstores on campus and practically kill each other in a mad rush to get to the limited number of used books we needed for our classes.  Even when we did find them, buying used textbooks instead of brand new ones only saved on average about $15 per book.  If you haven’t had the need to buy a college textbook, you will probably be shocked to learn that the majority of them can cost upwards of $100.  When you have 5 or 6 courses you need books for, it’s not unusual to spend $800 or more on one semester’s books.

Needless to say, I totally wish I would have known about renting textbooks while I was in college!  You pay a MUCH lower fee, and then you don’t have to worry about selling back your books at the end of the semester.  Oh yeah, did I mention most of the time when you try to sell your book back to the store, they won’t take it because a new edition will be coming out for the next year?!  ARGGGGGGHHHHHH.

So, today I’d like to share with you the awesome Campus Book Rentals.  What are the benefits for you?  Check it out:

-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices

-free shipping both ways

-you can highlight in the textbooks

-flexible renting periods


Let me give you an example of how much you can save by renting a book instead of buying it!

Taking Psych 101?  The book you need will probably be something like this:

As you can see, the cost to rent that book for one semester is only $32.26!! Or, you can buy it on Amazon:

For upwards of $150.  I wasn’t a math major (I was Criminal Justice, with a double minor in English and Spanish, if you were wondering.  I know you were.), but I’m pretty sure that’s a huge percentage difference.  Yeah…I think that’s a no-brainer.

Need more info?  Here’s a video telling you more!

Campus Book Rentals has also started a new program called RentBack, where you can make money by lending your fellow students your own textbooks!  This is awesome because using RentBack can make you 2-4 times more money than you would get by just selling your books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

Check it out:

But, I still haven’t gotten to the best thing about using Campus Book Rentals.  For every book rental, Campus Book Rentals will make a donation to Operation Smile!  Operation Smile is an awesome organization that performs life changing cleft lip surgeries on children whose families could not otherwise afford it.

So, saving money on books you need and helping change children’s lives in the process?  It’s a win-win situation!  Check out Campus Book Rentals for all your textbook needs.

*DISCLAIMER:  I was compensated for this post by Campus Book Rentals, but I fully stand behind the company and would not endorse any service I wouldn’t use myself.  My thoughts and the text are my own.

Old Guys Rule


Don’t you just love it when an old guy or an old gal comes back at something and teaches the youngsters a thing or two? This often happens in sports and, obviously, happens much more in some sports than others, but it’s always fun to see.

One of the sports where this hardly ever happens is in tennis. There have been a few great names of the past who have done amazing things at relatively advanced years. Illinois’ own Jimmy Connors was something of an evergreen player – with a career spanning two decades. In fact, Jimbo carried on competing really well against far younger players, staging one of the most remarkable come-backs in any sport ever when reaching the semi-finals of the US Open in 1991 at the ripe old age of 39.
Things like this just don’t happen in tennis! It’s a young guy’s game.

But the same might be happening right now. Roger Federer is surely the greatest male player in the history of the game and in the modern era when it’s all about power, few guys go on much beyond 30. So at 32, Roger is no spring chicken any more. But this is a man with record-breaking 17 Grand Slam wins under his belt.

And although Roger has been sliding down the rankings over the last 12 months in particular, he clearly isn’t done yet. He’s reportedly been working very hard on his fitness and the next year will be fascinating. At the time of writing, he’s reached the Australian Open quarter-finals where he’ll play Wimbledon winner Andy Murray.

He’s a 12-1 shot with Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange, to win the whole tournament. This probably accurately reflects his chances of winning. And a small bet on Federer to win in Melbourne might be a good fun punt.

With Betfair, you can also lay bets back, so if he beats Murray, you could lock in a profit whatever happens next. But it’s not just about this game so much as the rest of the season. To see him get back to anything like his imperious best would be wonderful, and if Jimbo could get close at 39 – the best ever can get a lot closer at 32-33. Watch this space!

REVIEW: November 2013 Citrus Lane Kids Subscription Box

I’m definitely in love with subscription boxes, so I was really thrilled to find out that there are fun sub box options for kids!  I got the opportunity to receive a box from Citrus Lane for my 5 year old.

Citrus Lane sends a box filled with snacks, toys, and crafts for children from newborn up to five years of age.  When you start your subscription, you put in your child’s age, and each month they send a box picked especially for your child’s age and ability level.  I like that the boxes are chosen by age in MONTHS, because every mom knows that a few months can make a big difference in the things a young child can do.


My son was really excited to get a package in the mail!  The box was nicely decorated and when I opened it, we were greeted by a bright yellow tissue paper.  It was kind of like opening a gift!


In this box, we received five products.


Good Boy Organics OrganicaSaurus Cheddar Cheese Corn Snacks

Retail Value: Not Sure

These are organic, gluten free, non-GMO low fat snacks shaped like dinosaurs!  They are really cute, and a good size.


They have a light texture and big crunch.  N wasn’t too crazy about them, though, but he is an exceptionally picky kid.


Bumkins Bags Reusable Lunch Bag

Retail Value: $12.95

This is super adorable with the little alligator print!  It’s also quite roomy.  I wish my son was able to pack his own lunch for school so we could use this every day.  But it’s great for all day road trips, which is what I’m sure will be its’ primary use.


Green Toys Build-a-Burger

Retail value: $8.50

This is a really cute toy that lets kids’ creativity shine through.  N loved taking mine and his dad’s orders and then building the burgers with what we wanted on them.



The parts of the burger are made from 100% recycled milk cartons, so I thought that was pretty awesome.

Faber-Castell Jumbo Beeswax Crayons and Doodling Pad

Combined Retail Value: $7.50


The box of crayons comes with 12 colors.  We had never used beeswax crayons before, so this was a new experience for us.  N liked using the crayons, but we will probably be passing them on to a younger cousin because he already can use normal sized crayons pretty well.  We will for sure be using the notepad, though!  N would much rather free color and draw than stay within the lines of a color book.


Altogether, the products were valued at approximately $28.95.  The box costs $25 monthly, so the value of the products was a bit more than the cost of the box!

Check out Citrus Lane for a special offer to get your own subscription!

*DISCLAIMER: I received a box for reviewing purposes.  This does not affect my review in any way, and my thoughts, words, and photos are my own.

SAHMS: Take time some time off online

Image by Jinx!

For most moms, the idea of staying home with the kids is an idyll, and for those moms who are able to stay at home, they know that they are blessed – most of the time! Some days, though, you can feel impatient and irritable and yearn for a little escape from the daily routine that forms around little ones. You don’t always want to be ‘mom’ all the time.

It’s reasonable enough to feel like this – you’d have to be some kind of superhuman not to. But when you’ve had a few minutes to relax by yourself and unwind, ask yourself, would you really trade places with the many women who have to drop their child at the crèche on the way to work and don’t get to see them again until the evening? Not likely!

The key to being a good stay at home mom is to allow yourself some time for you during the day. People who go out to work in an office get that – even if it’s just a short lunch break, or during the time that they’re commuting to and from the office. It allows them to clear their heads and then when they go back to their desks, they’re refreshed and ready to go again. Just because you have the luxury of being at home doesn’t mean you should be denied a little ‘me’ time now and then. And the break benefits are just as important for a SAHM as they are for people in an office environment.

Of course, the breaks a SAHM can take are fleeting. You have to work around your child’s routine, and time your rests with theirs. When they’re napping or watching their favourite TV show, this is a great time for you to put your feet up too. So what can you do in such brief periods? The internet is a great source of diversions, of course, for any time of day. You can catch up on the news headlines, see what’s going on on Facebook or Twitter, or check your emails. You can also do some gaming – which can be a great way to clear your head. If you don’t know what to play, take a look at online bingo – one of the most popular online games around.

Online bingo is entertaining and with games only costing a few pennies at a time, it’s great value entertainment. There’s nothing you need to learn to play bingo, it’s an easy game that doesn’t really need a player to do more than buy a ticket. And you don’t even have to do that. Free games and attractive promotions are on offer from many big names in the industry. For example, once you’ve made a deposit you can play Costa Bingo’s free bingo games every half hour without paying for the privilege. And with jackpots of up to £50 that’s a free game you don’t want to miss out on.

It doesn’t really matter how you choose to spend your little time out breaks; the important thing is to make sure you have them – at least once or twice during the course of the day. That way, you can carry on being a great mom for the other 23 hours in the day!

REVIEW: La Fresh Travel Wipes

I am the mom of a 5 year old, so that means I am on the go a ton.  I always carry multipurpose wipes in my purse and my car, because you just never know what my boy will get into. So, I was very enthused about trying a selection of travel wipes from La Fresh!

La Fresh offers a wide variety of different beauty, travel, and pet wipes for almost anything you could think of!

Here is a bit more about the company:


La Fresh makes a difference in people’s lives through its performance, convenience and conscientiousness.

Our products are designed with exceptional ingredients and packaged to deliver chic style with less substance making the world better, brighter and more beautiful for all of us.


  • To offer every human [and friend of human] the freshest experience possible
  • To make great products with great design at a great value
  • To fulfill the need for modern-day convenience
  • To treat every resource like a precious commodity
  • To deliver better products with better design at a better value for a better world


 I was lucky enough to get to try a little of everything.




Some of the types pictured: Nail Polish Remover, Antiperspirant for Men & Women, Lens Cleaning, Shoe Shine, and Insect Repellent wipes.



Though the wipes are neatly folded into small, easily portable packages, they are still a very nice size.  One wipe covered my hand and then some.



Let me tell you about my fave La Fresh wipes!

–Lens & Screen Cleaning Wipes


I wear glasses on occasion, and I am also always glued to my Nexus tablet or computer screen, so these were the first wipes I used.  They are some of the best screen cleaning wipes I’ve ever used.  The wipes clean in one wipe and leave no streaks or lint.  I used one wipe to clean my glasses, then also used it on my Nexus!


–Nail Polish Remover Pads


No one likes taking their nail polish off, but this wipes is a great alternative to the traditional bottle of remover and cotton ball method.  There is no danger of spilling, and though these wipes do contain acetone, the smell seemed less severe to me than that of bottled polish remover.  Plus, isn’t it great to have these in your purse for polish emergencies?


–Antibacterial Wipes


As I mentioned, I have a boy and that means being ready to clean him up at a moment’s notice.  I love antibacterial wipes because I know he is getting clean even when we don’t have access to soap and water.  He loves fishing and baseball, and I know we will be using a lot of antibacterial wipes come this spring!


Visit La Fresh to see all varieties of wipes offered, and to learn more about the company’s eco-conscious methods!

You can also see more on their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.



**DISCLAIMER: I was offered free products in exchange for this review.  Nevertheless, this does not affect my opinion, and the thoughts, words, and pictures in this post are my own.