Product Review: Personalized Christmas Stockings

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One of my most treasured pieces of Christmas decorations are my personalized stockings for each member of my family.

Aren’t these just adorable? I just picked up my last one for the baby, which now completes my collection.

The stockings are well-made, there are 11 character choices, and the best part has been that the collection has been available over the last 5 years, so that I have been able to add a matching one for each of my babies over the years.

The trick is to order this on Walmart.com. The item actually ships from www.PersonalCreations.com but you get the Walmart price! Don’t we love deals?

Choose the ‘Ship to Store’ option for *FREE* in-store pick up at your nearest Walmart. The closest Walmart is less than 10 minutes away from my home, so it wasn’t a big deal at all to pick it up and save on shipping costs. I’m not a Walmart shopper, so I like that I can go straight to the pick-up counter, grab my things and head out.

To order your personalized snow cap stockings, click here.

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Product Review: OTC Remedy for Eczema

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My 3.5 month old baby started developing a rash along the hairline around his sweet little face.

I kept up on the moisturizing and switched to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic soap. I tried jojoba oil and coconut oil, both of which didn’t really give me great results.

I ended up taking him to the pediatrician who recommended a prescription steroid cream since the rash was red and inflamed. It looked like eczema.

As always, I asked for a milder alternative.

I do not like using strong medications unless absolutely necessary and over the years, our pediatrician knows that I am more than likely to ask for an alternative in medication or technique. MasalaMommy Tip: Sometimes, I get a written prescription and hang on to it and continue to try other remedies depending on the illness. If symptoms do not change or worsen, I immediately fill the prescription, but 9/10 times I do not end up needing to fill it.

Anyway, the pediatrician mentioned that Aveeno has an eczema balm that I could try on my bubba before trying the prescription.

I picked up a small tub of Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm. This stuff is gold.

I wish I would have taken before & after photos. The rash was all along his hairline on his forehead down to the front of his ears on both sides.

The rash was angry, red and bumpy.

After 2.5 days of use, there is no evidence that the rash existed.

I applied the cream to the rash 3-4 times a day. The rash was kept moist with the cream at all times. I reapplied right after baths.

I was very pleased with this product and will keep it in my arsenal for anytime the kids break out in a rash.

I picked up my jar at the local drug store. I didn’t know at the time that Aveeno makes a baby line of this balm as well, since the drugstore did not have it. I did however receive confirmation from the pharmacist that this version was safe to use on my baby. Had I known, I would have gotten the baby version, but this has worked amazingly.

 

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Product Review: Our Favorite Lunchbox

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Well, this is week two of Kindergarten and we have all survived the emotional roller-coaster of starting a new chapter in my first-born’s journey. It’s indeed bittersweet, but I’ll spare you the details on how we managed through all the changes this past week.

What I will tell you is, I like to make life as simple as possible because it’s already complicated. Managing schedules for 3 little human beings, and maintaining a home, marriage, social life, extracurricular activities, and my sanity requires as much streamlining as possible.

Enter, Bentgo Lunch Tray.

This lunchbox has saved me so much time and effort without forgoing quality. So, I’ll get right to it:

Pros:

  • It has just the right amount of compartments to provide a variety of finger foods for my son. It also keeps me in check that I’m providing a well-balanced lunch since I can visually see all items that are being packed.
  • It’s the right size. I imagine that this will be an adequate size through elementary school. I can fit one-half of a sandwich in the long compartment. That’s as much as my guy will eat as far as the sandwich goes so it’s perfect. I imagine I could stack two halves of a PBJ in there as well. If you’re trying to pack a full, thicker sandwich, it might be a little small.
  • Keeps all the food organized. If you need to include a dipping sauce, it won’t run onto other foods. Everything stays put.
  • I only have to wash one container. Can I get a woot-woot?
  • We are more eco-friendly by using this lunchbox. We’re not using sandwich bags and creating garbage. Go us!
  • It fits inside his Batman lunch bag nicely. His lunch bag is a standard size, so I imagine that the container will fit in most lunch bags.
  • It is BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, and vinyl free accordingly to the Bentgo website.

 

Cons:

  • It’s a little tricky to open and close. My son practiced a few times before we sent it with him to school. He got the hang of it pretty quickly.
  • There’s no ice-pack compartment at the bottom. If you need to send something that needs refrigeration, you can place the box on top of an ice-pack inside of a lunch bag.

 

MasalaMommy Tip: I bought two. That way I can put the used one into the dishwasher, which we run every night, and I have a spare one that is available for me to pack his lunch for the next day. Streamline baby, streamline.

I picked up the Bentgo Lunch Tray on Amazon.com. How I’d survive without Amazon Prime, I don’t know. It’s on sale for $9.99 (orginally $12.99) making it reasonable enough to buy two.

Happy lunching and hope this review was helpful. If you end up buying the Bentgo Lunch Tray, I’d love to hear how it works out for you!

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

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Product Review: Munchkin Baby Food Pouch Organizer

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babyfoodpouchorganizer

One of my biggest pet peeves is having to look for stuff.

I’m not talking about shopping for shoes or unearthing the history of the Tyrannosaurus Rex on Google for my beloved son.

I’m talking about reaching for the gallon of milk in its normal habitat to only find that its nearby citizens have squatted in its place, unbeknownst to me. Having to reshuffle and then find takeout boxes that meandered to the back of the fridge for their death sentence only worsens the whole ordeal. And don’t even get me started with the pantry. Ay!

Organization.

I love it. I don’t make it a priority as much as I would like to, but the satisfaction I attain from an organized space is almost embarrassing. Almost.

When I reach for stuff and it’s there, it just makes me happy. What can I say…I’m easy to please.

That being said, I bought the Munchkin Baby Food Pouch Organizer back when I was pregnant with RJ. I was nesting like crazy and decided to overhaul the tragedy we called our kitchen pantry. I will blog about some fun pantry essentials at some point, but this food organizer has been awesome and was worth the product review.

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Pros-

  • Takes up very little space inside a standard size shelf. As you can see, there is still enough space to store additional goods below it on the same shelf.
  • The built-in tracks allow each rack to pull out and slide back in for easy reach and storage.
  • There are two racks that hold 32 pouches, combined. I don’t usually stock up past this quantity, so it’s just right as far as how much it can hold.
  • I can visually see when I’m running low. I also organize my pouches by flavors, so I know exactly which pouches I need to replenish. After lots of trial and error, I know which ones my little man likes the most so I try to keep those on-hand at all times.
  • These can be used for big-kid pouches down the road. If I take these racks out of the pantry, I’m sure I’ll find a way to re-purpose these, perhaps in the kids’ playroom.
  • It’s reasonably priced. For under 10 bucks, you’ll be able to keep these pouches organized and easily accessible. Worth every penny.
  • Installation was fairly easy, accordingly to DH. (I’m just the brains to the good ideas. Hubs makes it happen. Bless his heart.)

Cons-

  • I really couldn’t think of anything.

For the pregos: Happy Nesting!

For the young parents: Happy Organizing and Feeding!

 

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Product Review: Baby Jogger City Mini and Glider Board

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Baby Jogger Glider Board

We own the Baby Jogger City Mini since back in 2011, so I can only review the model that I own. I imagine the newer versions are fairly similar.

It has held up amazingly over the last 4 years and we are able to use it again for our younger son. It’s easy to clean, it’s the perfect size for getting through tight store aisles but big enough to provide a comfortable ride. The parent console (sold separately) has deep pockets with covers and deep cup holder. The stroller is lightweight, the wheels are sturdy, the canopy is large, the recline is useful and the opening and collapsing mechanism couldn’t be any easier.

If you’re in the market for a stroller, I would highly recommend the City Mini Baby Jogger. My only complaint about the City Mini is that the undercarriage storage space is very small. I can’t even fit my diaper bag in the allotted compartment. I hang mine from the handle bar ( I don’t think it’s recommended, but it has worked okay for me), so the small compartment isn’t too big of an issue. For that reason I give the City Mini  4.5 out of 5 stars.

We are taking a family vacation to Hawaii and I want both of my boys to be comfortable without having to take more than one stroller. Traveling as a family of four means enough luggage as it is. I decided to give the Glider Board a try for $79, a snap on board so that my older son can stand, yet ride along too. I figured both of my boys can play a little musical chairs between the stroller, glider board and carrier when there’s a lot of walking involved.

Here is my review for the Glider Board itself when we took it out for a test drive:

Pros:

  • It was relatively easy to install. It snaps right onto the wheel axle of the City Mini. My husband help with a part of it, but overall it wasn’t too bad.
  • It folds up nicely when it’s not in use. It isn’t necessary to uninstall it and the stroller still collapses easily, even with the attached piece.
  • It holds up my son who weighs 39 lbs. without any issues. The weight capacity is labeled as up to 45 lbs.
  • My older son enjoyed riding along and having the ability to easily hop on and off.

Cons:

  • It is difficult to reach the stroller handle bars when the Glider Board is on the outer most setting. I am 5’6″ with long arms. My arms are almost completely extended straight ahead when pushing the stroller, which isn’t very comfortable.
  • My son is 43″ tall so I have to pull the Glider Board out as much as possible so he’s not pressed against the handle bar. He can manage at the middle setting, which is the only way I can push the stroller.
  • Because of the poor ergonomics, I felt less control over the stroller. The further out I put the Glider Board, the less control I have over the stroller. It is manageable for a short time, but I couldn’t imagine pushing both of them for extended periods.

Overall, I give the Glider Board  2.5 out of 5 stars. The Glider Board provides a little break for an older child but with the awkward angle for the pushing adult, it cannot be used for extended periods. I imagine if the standing child is under 38″, it would make it much more comfortable for the adult pushing the stroller. I’m still on the fence, but lean towards keeping it for convenience it’ll provide when needed. I might have to look into a wagon at some point, but for traveling, I think this will do the job.

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Deal Alert: 50% off Earth’s Best Body Products at Sprouts

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Sprouts Farmer’s Market has Earth’s Best children’s body care products on clearance at 50% off.

I have used the vapor ointment on both of my kids which works well. I have not used other Earth’s Best body care products but I picked up a few to try them out (items are pictured). I buy products that use the least amount of chemicals and preservatives possible, opting for naturally derived ingredients and paraben-free. These met the criteria. The lotion and bubble bath smell really nice too.

I validated for you that all Sprouts locations are participating in this deal, since these items are being discontinued. However, check your local Sprouts Farmer’s Market for availability, as items will vary depending on location.  If there’s a specific item that interests you, you may choose to call them in advance for availability.

Let us know if you use any of these products and how you like them!

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Baby Food Recipe: Banana Hemp Oatmeal

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Hemp

My little guy is 9 months old so he’s been eating blended baby food for a few months now.

When I’m in a hurry or on the go, jarred baby food works just fine too. However, I enjoy making a variety of baby foods at home as much as possible. It’s satisfying to know that I prepared his meal with love and I know exactly what is in it. I can introduce him to more flavors, and being vegetarian, I try to provide a variety which can be limited if relying on only store-bought.

I’ve been trying to get more protein and fat into his diet, now that he’s eating more solids throughout the day.  I recently started adding hemp into some of his food. I use Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds). I usually get the organic version, however, sometimes my local grocery store only has the non-organic, and so I use that as well.

Hemp hearts are packed with plant-based protein. 3 tablespoons equate to 10g of protein and 10g of omega fatty acids (“good” fats). I only use about one tablespoon worth in the baby food, but it’s enough to pack in a little extra protein and fat in his food.

Here is my latest recipe that my guy enjoys…most of the time anyway.

Banana Hemp Oatmeal

½ Banana

2 tbs. baby oatmeal of choice

1-2 oz breast milk (or formula)

1 tb. Hemp Hearts

A dash of cinnamon

Blend up the banana and hemp. Add a little bit of warm water to help get a smooth consistency. If you’re using formula, you may choose to add that in as well. Make sure the hemp is blended up real well, which is important to make it easy to eat. If it’s the first time for your babe, you may choose to sprinkle a little less.

Add the breast milk once the puree is complete. Breast milk should not be blended in order to avoid diminishing its natural properties that are so good for our little nuggets. You may add 1 or 2 oz. of milk, depending on the consistency desired. Add a dash of cinnamon.

Masala Mommy Tip- I usually warm up baby food using my bottle warmer via the steam. I pour the contents into a small glass bowl (I don’t use plastic) and place it on top of the warmer. That bottle warmer has so many uses. Facial anyone?

Happy Eating. I’d love to hear if you try out the recipe and if your babe enjoyed it! Leave a comment.

 I am a mom of two and enjoy sharing my experiences of motherhood with my readers. This includes a few triumphs in the kitchen. The recipes provided on this website, although are researched and backed with personal experience, are presented for inspiration and ideas only. ALWAYS consult a medical professional before introducing new foods to your baby.

 

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Quick Tips for Looking Refreshed Even When You’re Not

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And so the viral bug is circulating in our home.

My preschooler was the first to catch it which is how it usually goes. He goes to school, picks up germs and then voila, he’s “spreading the love”. As usual, I am typically the first victim so here I am, with my Rudolf nose completely chaffed, dry cough, puffy eyes and heavy head. What I really want to do is curl up in the fetal position in a corner and just get some rest. But no can do…I’m a mom, sucka!

Anyway, I have to miraculously become presentable by tomorrow for my husband’s office holiday party. Where is Cinderella’s fairy godmother with her bippity boppitty boo when you really need her? I guess I’m on my own this time.

The good news is, all of this has inspired me to share some of my quick tips on how to look refreshed when you really need it:

  1. Keep it Pink. When you’re already looking flushed, it’s better to just run with it. I like to use corals and pinks in my makeup pallet to compliment my already pinkish undertones from just feeling sick. At least on the bright side I have some naturally rosy cheeks going.
  2. Brighten the Eyes. Creams, pinks and golden hues brighten tired eyes. Opt out of using really dark colors and going overly smokey. My own personal trick for day-time is to dab some of my blush right over my eyelids. It easily brightens the eyes, and the cheeks and eyes make a nice cohesive look together. I also opt for my eyeliner that instantly makes my tired eyes come to life.
  3. Moisturize. My mom looks at least a decade younger than her age and I can tell you as long as I can remember, she’s moisturized day and night. She would make sure both my sis and I were lotioned up every single day. To this day, if there is one thing I will not go without, it’s my moisturizer. I am currently using Kiehl’s products for my face which I’ve been happy with. It has limited chemicals which is important to me and moisturizes well for my dry and t-zoned skin. I use Vanicream for my all-over body moisturizer. In fact, my entire krew (I call us the KetAnisha Krew…I know, cheesy but I love it) uses Vanicream.
  4. Throw on Some Accessories. A necklace, earrings, watch…whatever you enjoy wearing (sometimes a sentimental piece of jewelry) can just make you look put together. It doesn’t have to match your clothes perfectly, but the extra few seconds to throw on a little bling will bring everything together.
  5. Keep Smiling. Confidence is #1. Keeping a positive attitude and smiling can even make you forget momentarily how tired or sick you really are. There are days that I’m whining and cranky like a child (my husband can vouch for that), but I actually physically feel so much better when I decide to ditch the droop and keep a can-do attitude. The mind truly is a powerful tool.

Tomorrow is going to take some magic for the holiday party, but I’m up for the challenge seeing as how excited the hubs is to make it to this annual event. Happy Friday and have a fresh and fabulous weekend!

 

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Holiday Shopping For New Toys

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With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d share one of my favorite websites when it comes to shopping for toys.

Toys should be fun, imaginative and educational.

I’ve been referencing fatbraintoys.com for new and innovative toys since my older son was just a baby. The website lists toys by several categories: age, best sellers, new releases, interests, and the list goes on. It makes it helpful when I have a type of toy in mind such as “science” or “music”. The “age” category is also helpful in narrowing down the options when I’m shopping for birthday presents.

I’m a believer in leveraging the opportunity to teach children through play and most of the toys that I buy have to serve two purposes: entertain but educate. Fat Brain Toys lists items that do both. I like using this website as a starting point since I know the listed toys will fit the bill.

Here are a few recent acquisitions for our playroom, by age. These toys are not gender specific:

4 year old:

-Imaginarium Marble Race

-Stomp Rocket Junior

-Melissa & Doug See and Spell Phonics Puzzle

 

9 month old:

-Tobbles Neo

-6in. Oball with Rainstick Rattle

-Illumination Station by Sassy (opted for the sound one over the light)

 

Good luck to you with all your holiday shopping for your little ones!

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Deal Alert: Diapers for $.15 each or less

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Pampers

Even with a decent deal, we normally pay $.19 a pop for diapers, so this deal is pretty fantastic.

To get your diapers for $.15 cents or less each, here’s the drill:

  1. Visit www.jet.com
  2. Order diapers that are at least $35
  3. Use coupon code APPLE15 to get $15 off your order

We have bought Pampers Swaddlers for both boys. They are lightweight, the blue line indicator is handy and we’ve had minimal leaky diapers. We just bought a box of size 3 diapers (136 diapers) for twenty bucks!

 

 

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