Friday, August 31, 2012

Fire Departments Seek Community Support for Ed. Programs

Fire Departments Seek Community Support for Ed. Programs
By: Chief Michael O’Brian, Brighton Fire Department and past president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs

Fire departments across the country need your help. Every year fire departments in the United States respond to more than 350,000 home fires, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths. In some cases, we see fire-related injuries that might have been prevented if the victims had received fire safety tips, installed working smoke alarms or practiced an escape plan.

In many cases, a fire department’s first line of protection is educating the community. Each year, during Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13, 2012), many local firefighters will be reaching out to the community with trainings for young children, the elderly and others. But with tight municipal budgets, the supply of the materials they use in these trainings is at risk. With the help of an online tool, fire departments are now able to invite others to purchase materials they need. Reaching kids and parents through these programs is critical, especially for volunteer fire departments, smaller departments and those located in more rural areas of the country.

To combat this problem, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created an online tool to help community members, businesses and others purchase materials for local departments’ fire education programs. This tool is called Sparky’s Wish List™ and it works a lot like a modern bridal registry. Fire departments register for the items they need (like DVDs, posters, stickers, etc.), and others go online to make the purchases. The materials ship directly to the fire departments.

In short, fire prevention education saves lives. Educational materials are essential for fire departments to spread their message of safety to classrooms and beyond, and this registry enables community members to come to the aid of fire departments asking for help. On behalf of NFPA, we urge your participation, and thank you for your support.  For more information, including how to help, visit

This is a guest post, no compensation was received. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When I was Young... I Wanted to be Barbie.

True story. I loved my Barbie dolls when I was a little girl. I was always jealous because Barbie had great clothes and shoes, and and awesome car too. 

I also remember when I first got to start picking out my own clothes. I was in second grade, and I had been begging my mother to let me choose my own clothes for quite some time. Finally I got that freedom...but boy did I make some mistakes! I think my mother would have been much happier if she could have bought me some clothes that were meant to mix and match well. 

Well, the new Barbie Clothing line does just that... fun items that are easy to mix and match! You don't have to worry that your daughter will come out of her room wearing plaid pants with a flower print shirt..LOL (yes, yes, that was me). 

My daughter is very girly in many ways. She LOVES to choose her outfit, and she will even match her pacifier to her outfit! She doesn't always make perfect choices, but she sure loves to dress herself. 

The new Barbie Clothing line is available from Kmart and available in 2T-5T...perfect for that little girl who is learning to be independent! We received two adorable outfits from the Barbie Clothing line to try out.

Annabelle will be two in October, and she just started wearing 2T clothing. We were sent a 2T outfit, and a 3T outfit. These outfits seem to run small, and both fit her very well. I was pretty surprised! So, if you plan on purchasing these for a special princess, I would recommend having her try them on before buying if possible.

Annabelle loved the outfits. She was very drawn to the black sparkly skirt and the frilly pink shirt. Both outfits looked absolutely adorable on her, and she even made her own outfit out of the pieces we received.

Outfit #1-

Outfit #2
"I'm Twirling!"

Annabelle's Choice-
What do you want me to do?

Annabelle really liked the leggings, but she liked the skirt, she wore them both!

I loved that the skirt had shorts underneath, since little ladies aren't always so lady-like!

Here is our little fashion show video. Annabelle loved dressing up, but she thought that the only way to show off her style was to spin... so we took some still pictures so you all can see the outfits better but you'll see her twirl at the end!

Since the clothing seemed to run a bit small, Annabelle did need some help getting dressed. She still really enjoyed wearing the clothing and I think she looked so adorable! We love the TuTu Dress and Leggings! I love that the Barbie clothing allows little girls to embrace their independence and allows for them to have choice, while still making sure that the girls look great.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Barbie Clothing. I received a sample package to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lunch on the go.....

Oh.My.Goodness.  How many times have you been in need of a fast lunch...only to be faced with choices that either take too long, or are horrible for you? Yeah, me too. 

One thing I hate about my lunch breaks is that they are only 30 minutes long. I personally am not a fan of cold lunches every day. If you actually have to take time to make a warm meal it doesn't leave much time to enjoy a break. Well...what if I told you you could have a delicious hot meal that is actually a healthy choice and it would only take 60 seconds to make. Oh yes.

The new Barilla Microwavable Meals are amazing. I was given the chance to try these 5 new meals and I couldn't have been more impressed.



Making these great meals are so easy. Open the package, peel back the top corner of the package, pop the meal in the microwave for only 60 seconds, hold the sauce tray with one hand and remove the top and then pour sauce on the noodles! 

I couldn't believe that these cook up perfectly in just 60 seconds, and there are no preservatives, 100% natural ingredients and only 320 calories! There are also two whole grain options, one of which you can see in the pictures above. You don't even need to add water... so all you need is a microwave. You can find out more about all 5 meal variations at Barilla.

The packaging of Barilla's meals allow for the meals to be stored at room temperature for up to 12 months with no added preservatives. No worrying about keeping a meal frozen while on your way to work! Barilla meals also keep the sauce separate, which means if you prefer light sauce you can customize how much sauce meets your needs.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Barilla and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

MAM Perfect Pacifiers are... well, PERFECT!

I have to say, I never thought I would change my mind about what brand pacifiers I purchased for my children. I was brand loyal...and it wasn't to MAM. But, I am always open to trying a different product, so when I was given the chance to try MAM's new Perfect pacifiers I said sure. I'm glad I did.

The MAM Perfect Pacifier is amazing. As most parents know, babies are born with a natural sucking reflex... a pacifier can help fulfill this need and sooth the baby. The MAM Perfect features an orthodontically correct nipple that allows little ones to safely satisfy their sucking reflex while maintaining proper jaw and tooth alignment.  The MAM Perfect has a thinner and softer nipple neck than those of comparable pacifiers. Since the pacifier's nipple neck is extra thin it puts less pressure on the baby's jaw and teeth. 

The MAM Perfect is available in two sizes, 0-6 months and 6+ months and available in blue, pink and green.  The pacifiers are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free, CPSIA-compliant and microwave and dishwasher safe. In fact, the package of the MAM Perfect doubles as a pacifier sanitizer!

The box holds the pacifier in place, you simply fill the box with water, clip the pacifier in, close the box and microwave for three minutes. Perfectly sanitized pacifiers! 

I really think Luke likes the textured silicone nipples of the MAM Perfect. I didn't think he'd take to a different brand of pacifiers, so I was shocked when he took them immediately and even seemed to prefer them. Luke keeps the MAM Perfect in his mouth and sucks on it more than his previous pacifiers. We will definitely be sticking with the MAM Perfect.

I received the MAM Perfect Pacifiers free of charge so that I could post this review. I received no monetary compensation and all opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nuby Teether Tugz!

Teething is a difficult time for baby, so teethers can be super helpful...but when they are even more than "just a teether" it's even better. Nuby's Teether Tugz are a super bright, fun, toy and teether in one. 

The Teether Tugz has a lot of different colors, textures, and patterns to entertain small babies, fun ears (or wings) that can be tugged through to make funny looking characters, and soft teething areas on the end of the ears/wings.

The Teether Tugz are appropriate for children 0+ months...definitely a good investment. Luke, 2 months old currently, enjoys looking at the bright colors and patterns. As he gets older he will discover the different textures of the cloth and chew on the teethers. Annabelle, our almost two year old, really enjoys playing with the "Tugz" part of the Teether Tugz. This toy definitely has the ability to grow with the child, and that is something I really like in a toy.

Teether Tugz can be purchased at 

I received the Teether Tugz at no charge to facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh no, the scale says I've gained. #cinchspiration

Sadly it's true. The last couple weeks have been nuts. If you remember from my last Cinch update post, my husband had some major back surgery just a couple weeks ago.

My weight had been holding steady at 208, but as of today I am 212.2. Although, I am happy to report that my measurements say I have lost! 

Oh yes!  Total inches lost to date... TWENTY! Woot Woot! 

I honestly think the weight gain has to do with "Aunt Flo" who just arrived today. I have also been super craving chocolate... but not the Cinch kind. REAL, not-good-for-me-because-I-can't-eat-it-in-moderation chocolate. 

The last couple weeks have been so much different for me. I am a working mom...of seven. I relied heavily on my wonderful husband, but now he needs to rely upon me and heal. My husband can't help me with the kids, or the chores, for a few months... so I'm on my own (except when my mother-in-law so kindly does the dishes I leave in the sink from dinner!).  I have been so busy!  I am much, much more active. Aside from walking to work every day, my exercise includes running around taking care of the chores and kids. I've been so busy I have even skipped some "meals", usually my lunch shake/bar. I have found that it hasn't helped me lose...and I am wondering if it is making me gain, so I need to get back to the program and remember to do both my meals.

Really though, Cinch makes it so easy. The shakes and mealbars are very simple to make/grab and go. I am also SO excited because Shaklee has added a new product to the Cinch line... 


I cannot explain how happy this makes me...really. There's so much sweet in the Cinch Inch Loss Plan that you really crave some salt. The Crisps are a much needed addition! 

Okay... and here is my Cinch Shake recipe of the week...

Banana Bread Shake

10oz Almond Milk (Original)- or whatever milk you prefer
3/4 Banana
4 Ice Cubes
A sprinkle of Nutmeg
A shake of Cinnamon

Blend and Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thank you, Wet Ones!

You know what back-to-school means to our house? Back-to-being-sick. NOT my favorite thing that the kids bring home from school, that's for sure. And, although I remind them every day to wash their hands often, sometimes it just isn't reasonable.

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes are the perfect thing for times when kids don't have the option to wash their hands.

I love the perfect individually packaged wipes that you can just toss in their lunch bag, their coat pocket, or their backpack... then it's there when they need them!

You can also enjoy the last bit of sunshine and warmth before Autumn sets in and take Wet Ones  with you on a late summer picnic! I particularly like the wipes because they can actually remove dirt instead of just rubbing it around on your hands like gel hand sanitizers do. And, Wet Ones are just as effective as gel hand sanitizer with 99.99% of germs killed with use.

I also like that Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes are hypoallergenic and very gentle on the skin. None of my kids had a reaction to them, and I have a couple of very sensitive kids. I think I will be taking some Wet Ones along with me when shopping this Fall as well... I always feel germy after shopping just because of the sheer number of people who have touched everything I touched.  I also put a few in my glovebox just because you never know when you'll need one.

Wet Ones offers the Antibacterial Wipes in a 40 count canister, 15 count travel pack, 35 count Big Ones, or 24 count individually wrapped wipes... there are also two scents to pick from, Citrus or Fresh Scent!  I'd definitely recommend picking up the individually wrapped Wet Ones as they have been very helpful to us!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Wet Ones. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Magic Tap

Have you ever been in the middle of something when your child said, "I'm Thirsty, can I have some Juice?" knowing that if they got it it would end up on the floor? The truth is, most juice, milk, and water jugs are just too heavy for children, especially young children.

So... what to do? Well, you can try The Magic Tap

The Magic Tap allows your child to be more independent and allows you to worry less about a mess! 

The Magic Tap is a battery operated straw. All you have to do is attach it to the juice, milk, or other beverage bottle! When the lever is pressed down, the straw sucks up the liquid and dispenses it in a nice stream- right into what you need it to. No bulky bottles to lift, and no worries about a gallon of milk being wasted!

We found that it was PERFECT for movie night. We brought the juice out and was able to place it on our coffee table. The kids were able to help themselves and we didn't have to worry about them pouring and spilling the juice on our carpet. The kids all really enjoyed having the independence to get their own drink when they wanted it. 

The Magic Tap is also great to have in a gallon of milk. Simply place the gallon on the door shelf in your fridge and your child can use The Magic Tap to add milk to cereal!

When I first saw The Magic Tap on TV, I didn't see that it was run by batteries. So, when I received The Magic Tap and realized that it needed them, I was concerned. Things with batteries usually go through a lot of batteries in our house. I'm happy to say we've been using the same batteries in our Magic Tap for about a month now! 


Friday, August 17, 2012

How to wash your child's hair....

Are you a parent to a young child? Yeah? Well... does your child hate having his or her hair washed? Mine, too.

For years we've used a cup to rinse shampoo out of our kids' hair. For years we've dealt with our children screaming that they don't like it. We've tried washcloths, we've tried using our hands, we've tried "the dunk", all of it has been fairly ineffective.

Well, Nuby has a tool for parents like us to use. It's the Tear-Free Rinse Pail.

Ah yes.... see that "lip" that is different colored? Well, it's a soft edge that conforms to your child's forehead allowing you to pour water over just the child's hair. Genius, right?

I was very excited to try this. I currently have 2 children who are in the stage of hating their hair being washed, so I was hoping for great things. The first try wasn't as successful as I had hoped, honestly. Mostly it was fear...the kids wouldn't stay still. They expected water pouring over their face when I held up the Rinse Pail.  It took a good few tries for them to realize that if they were calm and let me do it, it would be better. Once they understood that things went much more smoothly!

Even when I'm not using the Tear Free Rinse Pail for rinsing hair it is still useful for rinsing off with! And, kids LOVE playing with it, too!

I would definitely recommend using this right from the get-go if you can! Even if your child doesn't currently have an issue with their hair being washed.... they may at some point.

The Tear Free Rinse Pail is available from Buy Baby Direct currently for $5.99.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bounciest Giveaway Ever!

Mom Powered Media proudly presents the Bounciest Giveaway Ever!

The Castle Bounce N' Slide w/hoop is a spacious bounce house with castle top keeps your kids active all year round. Compact size allows it to be used indoors, such as in the basement, during cold or rainy days. Attractive bright colors perfect for parties. Jumping area of 77 in x 77 in and slide length of 60 in. Inflated basketball hoop attached.

  • Inflated size 12 ft x9 ft x7 ft H.
  • Velcro opening for safe and easy access into and out of the bouncer.
  • Powered by a strong UL blower (included).
  • Heavy duty commercial grade material bouncing surface.
  • Heavy-duty puncture proof materials with double to quadruple stitches.
  • Long (approx. 6 ft) fill tube allows blower to be placed away from the bouncer.
  • Easy set up and take down. Inflates in less than a minute.
  • Indoor and Outdoor Use.
Bounceland bouncy houses offer exciting, colorful, and affordable inflatable bounce houses that will bring lots of smiles to kids. There are many styles for you to choice from, each one offering a unique experience to add to your outdoor events and birthday parties. They also make great gifts and are perfect for fairs, school and church events, and business functions.

One lucky winner will receive a Bounceland Castle W/Hoop Inflatable Bounce House.

Giveaway ends September 3rd at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Moms MUST have a Boba!

There aren't too many products out there that I consider must haves, but I have to say a Boba Wrap is a MUST HAVE for any new mom. When I say new mom, that doesn't necessarily mean a mother who just had her first child. Oh no, the Boba Wrap is for any mother who has a baby... be it her first or her seventh! ;) Annnnnd, of course it isn't just for mothers! Dads love the Boba Wrap, too! Just ask my husband! 

The Boba Wrap (which used to be known as the Sleepy Wrap), is an amazing way to wear your baby. The Boba Wrap can be used from birth until around 18 months. And don't worry, Boba has a great Boba Carrier for you once your little one graduates from the wrap! 

The Boba Wrap is basically a very long, slightly stretchy, comfortable piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself, then tuck the baby into. One of my favorite features of the Boba Wrap is that it is one size fits (pretty much) all. This wrap is LONG.  I am not a small person- so I am thrilled that it easily accommodates my plus size frame. 

Wrapping the Boba Wrap does take a little bit of practice, but once you learn to do it it will become second nature. There are many how-to videos on the web and the instructions that come with the wrap are very well written.  

Another favorite feature- no buckles, no plastic, just comfy fabric. I can literally wear my baby for HOURS in the Boba Wrap. If my back starts getting uncomfortable I simply adjust the fabric on my shoulders to distribute weight across more of my shoulders. In the photo above you can see that the fabric is more on top of my shoulders. When I want to wear the baby longer, I generally put the fabric over my shoulders more (the fabric would cover my t-shirt sleeves) to distribute the weight over more area. This allows me more comfort for longer periods of babywearing. 

As you can see, the Boba Wrap allows me to carry Luke hands free. I often need my hands available for the other kids, especially when we are out, so this is invaluable! 

I wish I could have gotten a picture to show you all how you can tuck baby's head in the wrap so the wrap supports his head when sleeping... but Luke was wide awake and not willing to miss a moment by letting me put his head down.  You can see a photo of this position in a photo of my husband wearing Annabelle when she was a baby- my husband calls the Boba Wrap (then the Sleepy Wrap) his "secret weapon".

There are so many reasons to use a Boba Wrap, too many to list all here. I will say that I love: how easy the Boba Wrap is to clean, the customized fit for everyone, the closeness to the baby, and the calming effect that the wrap has on the baby. The womb-like experience really does help sooth a fussy baby, and if you have a baby that loves to be held (okay-who doesn't have a baby that loves to be held?) then this wrap might be what you need to save your sanity and give your baby what s/he needs.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about the Boba Wrap- I will end this post with simply saying you must try it yourself!

The Boba Wrap ($48) can be purchased at  it is available in many colors and also in organic cotton ($65).

Enter for your chance to win a Boba Baby Carrier, and one of two Boba Wraps! All products can be seen at With Boba products it is easier than ever to enjoy Freedom Together as a family and Boba wants YOU to get a chance to use their products. To enter to win, “Like” them on Facebook (, follow them on Twitter ( and follow them on Pinterest! ( 

I received a Boba Wrap for review purposes. All opinions are my own! (I really, really love Boba Wrap- I promise) :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eating like a Princess with Nuby!

See that princess up there? Well, Miss Annabelle is trying out her awesome new feeding set from Nuby

The Flower Child feeding set is an adorable set that is sure to get your little girl interested in feeding herself!

Made for children 18 months and up, this set has the features your child needs to gain independence and confidence to feed herself. 

The brightly colored set will catch your child's attention and help her be interested in the food that is offered. The Flower Child feeding set is made to withstand the challenges of daily use and retain its bright color.

The fork and spoon are generously sized. Large enough to easily grasp, but small enough to still be usable by a small toddler.  I like that the fork's spokes are rounded, ensuring that the child doesn't "stab" herself when eating (or missing) the food available. The spoon and fork are well rounded to make picking up the food easier on the child. 

The Flower Child plate is suitable for warm or cold foods, and it is microwave safe. The bottom of the plates are rubberized, so they don't slip and slide when the child is trying to scoop the food. This is so helpful for children who are just learning to feed themselves. A plate of food that slides all over the place makes things much more frustrating- so the slip resistant bottom is one of my favorite features of this set. The Flower Child bowl also is slip resistant and microwave safe.

Another feature that I love is that both the plate and bowl are stackable. If you purchase more than one of each of these, you can easily stack them inside one another to save space. 

All of the Nuby Flower Child products are available at Burlington Coat Factory and 

I received the above items at no cost to use for this review. All opinions are my own, I have received no monetary compensation for this post.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's that time again...


Ah yes, it's almost that time again... the time when our little ones will embark on another great learning adventure. 

One of the things we always do when this time of year comes around is shopping. The kids usually have outgrown their old clothes, or worn them out, and are in need of some new ones. If you plan on doing some school shopping this year, too, why don't you check out what JC Penney's has to offer. JCP and the Boys and Girls Club of America have teamed up and if you make a purchase in August, you can round up your purchase to help BGCA.  Rounding up your purchase is a great way to help out, and every penny helps! 

Disney has also partnered with the BGCA to launch the Tools for Back to School initiative.  This initiative features a pop-quiz style game, where supplies are donated to BGCA for every 5 correct answers you score!

I personally played, and I have to say- it's fun and you will learn a lot. The questions aren't too hard, and I enjoyed learning about the Boys and Girls Club of America. In the lower right hand part of the screen you will see a number written in "chalk" which goes up with each correct answer! This number shows how many correct answers there have been. This is a fantastic way to help out at no cost to you. 

While you're on the BGCA page be sure to check out their tip sheets that are available on the left hand side of the page under the "Get Ready" header. You will find tips on time management, thinking about college,  homework and more!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Boys and Girls Club. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The long wait...

This morning my husband went into the operating room for the second time in his life. May of 2011 he had a surgery on his back. Today he is having another.

The first surgery was a more simple surgery. The surgeon removed a portion of my husband's bulging disk and then some of the bone to relieve the pressure on his nerves. Unfortunately the surgery didn't work... in fact it seemed to make things worse.

Today my husband is having a spinal fusion. The surgeon will be putting in titanium hardware and then removing bone from his hip, then putting it along his spine. The bone will eventually grow into the spine and fuse it together- which will prevent the movement that is causing pain. 

As with any spine surgery (or surgery period) there are a lot of risks. It's currently been about one hour since he's been opened up- and we have 4-6 hours to go. I hate the waiting. The waiting room is full of family members, we're all crowded into a room staring at the update screen. I trust the surgeon- but it's still scary and nerve-racking to have to wait around.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Cinch Update #Cinchspiration

So, I haven't lost anything in the last week. Thankfully I haven't gained anything either! My weight is still 208.6lbs (okay, so I've gained .2lbs). 

Just a few minutes ago I found out my husband's surgery will be moved up to Wednesday the 8th. That's TWO days away. I am very nervous about this, both for him and our family, but for how it will affect my weight loss as well. 

Last time I lost a significant amount of weight my husband had surgery when I was at my lowest weight. I gained it all back. Stress and I can go two ways. I either stress and don't eat a thing (which hasn't happened in a long time) or I eat everything in sight (the usual since I have been married). 

The truth is, I treat food as my luxury. This is something I have been working on changing, though.  

As for the Cinch program itself. It's still going pretty well. I do not like the energy tea, so I have been skipping that- but other than that I like everything. I do wish that there was something salty in the kit. Everything is sweet... sweet shakes, sweet meal bars, sweet snack bars. I start craving salty things at times. Thankfully I can usually get my salty cravings in during supper. 

I want to share with you my favorite Cinch shake recipe.

8oz of Almond Milk (original flavor)
5 ice cubes
2 scoops vanilla (or chocolate) Cinch shake mix
A sprinkle of instant coffee

Put in a blender and blend until smooth. It is yummy! I do have to warn you all though, if you put too much instant coffee in it isn't very good. A light coffee flavor is best with the Cinch shake, in my opinion.

Well, thanks for reading- I hope you all are enjoying August! I'll probably be quite preoccupied for the next week or so, but look for more updates soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Smile Brilliant!

Who wants white teeth? I do!

Well, I've had the chance to review the Smile Brilliant Brilliantly Simple LED whitening system.

This system includes everything you need to whiten your teeth at home.

To use this system you paint your teeth with the whitening solution in the Smile Brilliant pen, then place the mouthguard in your mouth. Then place the LED activating light in your mouth. Then you wait 20-45 minutes.

I have to say, the light is difficult to keep in your mouth- I could barely do the 20 minutes my first time. I was told it is optional though, so you do not have to use the light if it is uncomfortable for you. I chose to use just the whitening solution my second time around and just left it in for 45 minutes.

My husband was impressed at the results, he said my teeth did look whiter than before and that he wanted to use it.

Smile Brilliant has offered Seven in the Nest readers a 20% off discount!

And... you have a chance to


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