Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

My grandma always made oatmeal cookies when we went to visit her in Connecticut.
The kitchen would smell heavenly when we stormed in to give her big hugs.
I’ve never been able to replicate the deliciousness of her warm cookies—and now, as a mom but not yet a grandmom, I don’t seem to have time to bake my own cookies as often as I would like.
I was excited to try Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies!

I won’t try to convince you that they are as fantastic as my grandma’s cookies.
You can tell they are store-bought, not homemade…but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. As far as packaged cookies go, they passed my tests.
I loved the texture; the kids loved the taste.
I appreciated fact that they are made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats; they are low in fat (6 g per serving); and they are a good source of fiber.
The kids liked the “plumpy” raisins.

I had no trouble devouring an entire cookie, but a single package is actually rather large for a child.
So, you might want to split one between two children.
Aside from that, I was pleased with the product and look forward to trying the other flavors—Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Almond, Cranberry & Yogurt, and Banana Nut.

You can find Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of 6 cookies.

When I’m a grandma myself maybe I’ll have more time to bake big soft cookies, but for now I’ll lean on Quaker for a bit of assistance!

(disclosure: a complimentary Quaker cookie sample was provided to me by Influenster for testing and review purposes for the Mom VoxBox).


imPRESS Press On Manicure

I love showing off painted nails (and toenails in the summertime), but applying nail polish (and re-applying, and re-applying…) can get old.
A press-on manicure is a great option–simply simply peel off from the package, press on, and you’re done.
I tried out the Velvet Rope (lovely purple) color of imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails.

They were easy to apply and looked great. I received many compliments at work and performed all my normal family activities–and they did last 7 days! I plan to try some of the other pretty designs as well. My daughter is dying to use press-on nails, but my rule on that is no makeup until she’s older. In the meantime, she can admire my imPRESSive manicure!

Have fun exploring the imPRESS website! www.impressmanicure.com

**I received this product complimentary to test from the Influenster program. Learn more at www.influenster.com

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!

Ecover Zero Natural Laundry Powder Review

I have been looking for a laundry powder without fragrances or phosphates, so I was pleased to receive a complimentary box of Ecover Zero natural laundry powder from Naturally Savvy

Ecover Laundry Powder ZERO has plant-based and mineral ingredients so it’s safe for my family but strong enough to clean our piles of laundry—and we do have big piles! The powder is biodegradable and not tested on animals. Sounds good to me!
I have tried it on two loads of clothing so far—one white, one colored—and everything came out sparkling clean.
Best of all, I don’t have to fret about harming our health or the environment!
My only warning is that it’s * Not suitable for wool and silk. *
The 48 oz box I have right now should be good for 20 loads on a top-load machine (or 26 on a HE machine).

Ecover gives some eco-washing tips on their site: “Choose the lowest possible washing temperature to reduce your CO2 footprint. Correct dosing reduces the impact of washing on the environment.”

To learn more about the company and what they do, and to see the complete ingredient list of products, you can visit Ecover’s site:

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!

Unjunk Your Junk Food

In my family, we think of ourselves as avid label-readers. When shopping for new foods, we scan the ingredients to see if there are any trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or other scary items on the list. If so, the box/can/package goes back on the shelf. This is the same approach taken by Andrea Donsky, Randy Boyer, and Lisa Tsakos, the authors of
Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks
(Gallery Books, 2011).
Donsky is the co-founder of NATURALLYSAVVY.COM, and I received a complimentary copy of the book from those kind folks.

Link to book: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/book/unjunk-your-junk-food
The NaturallySavvy.com team wants you to Join the edible (R)evolution!
You can read the manifesto at: http://bit.ly/wXJWMF
“You don’t have to give up the foods you love, just give up the toxic ingredients.
Take the junk out of your junk food.”
The goal of this edible (R)evolution is NOT to force yourself to eat bland food just because it’s healthy. Rather, we can all learn the fine art of substitution and make Good Choices instead of Bad Choices. Avoiding harmful ingredients can be very beneficial for your overall well-being.
The book includes a tear-out Worst Ingredients Chart that you can bring along to the grocery store. Simple!
I used the Worst Ingredients Chart and looked through my pantry—several items had indeed made it past my initial screening, because I found plenty of items with artificial flavors and artificial colors and preservatives in our cupboard. Oops!

Thanks to this book, I will be more vigilant on our shopping trips.
It helped me decipher some of the more ambiguous ingredients. It’s very easy to read and is visually appealing in presenting good-vs-bad options.
I look forward to keeping our family healthy and happy and well-fed!

Dino Lingo ~ Language Learning for Kids

My mother grew up in Holland, and when I was young (in the U.S.), my family would often visit her relatives there. I was able to learn to speak a bit of Dutch by being around family members in Holland each year. I have not been back in eons and would love to teach my children to speak Dutch so we could all visit together someday.

I purchased the Dutch edition of Dino Lingo, because there is no way I could teach them myself–I need a refresher course too!

According to Dino Lingo:

Children can quickly learn and speak Dutch, thanks to the award-winning lessons by Dino Lingo Kids
Dino Lingo Dutch for Kids is an award-winning language teaching program pedagogically designed for small children.
This program consists of 5 DVDs, 100 flash cards, posters and the parents guide.
After watching the DVDs several times and playing with the flash cards, most children can easily name everyday objects and understand basic phrases in Dutch.
Dino Lingo Dutch for Kids is suitable for all children between the ages of 2 to 7 years old.

So far my children (ages 3 and 6) have watched the first two videos:
DVD 1 – Let’s Count : Numbers and colors / 35 min.
DVD 2 – Let’s Eat : Food, fruit and vegetables / 35 min.

and they were very receptive to the dvds.
We hung up the fun posters in their bedrooms.
We also started using the flash cards that teach the most common one hundred words in Dutch.
I am learning even more than the kids are!!
We are planning to have lessons 3x/week during July and August.
The set is definitely expensive, but it’s high-quality; it’s cheaper than a private tutor; and I’m hoping it will work!

Learn more at www.dinolingo.com

Influenster provided some of its members with complimentary Dino Lingo products; I did not receive one from them but was inspired to learn more about Dino Lingo, because other Influensters were testing the products.

History for Kids: A Patriotic Page-Turner

“Once there were four lads…
John [Hancock],
Paul [Revere],
George [Washington],
and Ben [Franklin].

Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around.

These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few…liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated.
This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.”

Looking for an entertaining book with a bit of history for children? Check out John, Paul, George & Ben .
Written by Lane Smith, it’s meant for ages 3 and up and has fantastic illustrations.
Happy flag-waving!