Friday, July 31, 2015

Flavor Your Adventure Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds

Disclosure: This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook (, Twitter ( and Instagram (

This Summer, our adventures have been flavored with Blue Diamond Almonds. Every July, since I can remember, with the exception of maybe 2, I have gone to our family cabin on the lake. That place is my jam. Every Summer while I was growing up my entire family would gather there in the Summer to relax, visit and make memories. I'm so fortunate that this childhood gem has now become a place that my own children adore too. I mean check out this sunset:

Most of our time spent up there revolves around fishing, boating, relaxing and connecting with our family. Tryng to keep the kids indoors is almost impossible, and it makes me proud that I am raising active kids that prefer to find things to do outside instead of sit in front of a television screen. That being said, it is the equivalent of pulling teeth without novocaine to get them to come inside to eat. Instead, I try to bring healthy snacks to fuel on our adventures, such as our favorite Blue Diamond Almonds. We love every single flavor that we've tried, but the ones featured are the "Roasted Salted" and "Lightly Salted" varieties. My grandmother follows a low sodium diet, so I was thrilled to know that Blue Diamond Almonds offers a low sodium variety (the "Lightly Salted"), with less than half of the sodium of the "Roasted Salted" one. 

I love that these are easy to carry along, come in a number of flavors, and leave me feeling proud of my snacking choices. Plus, they are a good source of protein, pack a fier punch, and are chock full of good fats. I am on a personal quest to try every Blue Dimaond flavor, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. My childhood BFF is obsessed with the Wasabi & Soy ones, so I know I will be grabbing those during my next shopping trip. Currently, my absolute favorite by a mile are the Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds. 

How do you flavor your adventures? What is your favorite Blue Diamond Almond flavor? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Easy as Breeze" Chocolate Cookie and Mallow Pops Featuring Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk

Disclosure: This "Easy as Breeze" post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

It is Summertime, and the kids are outside for the better part of the day. We are fortunate enough to live in an area where there are a multitude of children of the same age right in our neck of the neighborhood. It makes it easy when the kids are "bored" because there is always a playmate a 30-second walk away. That being said, our house often becomes the "hub" for the kids (although they do rotate around), and any mom knows, where there are kids, there needs to be snacks! This past week has been especially hot, and what is better than a delicious snack that is easy as breeze to create and cools you down while you enjoy? Introducing my very own "Easy As Breeze" Chocolate Cookie and Mallow Pops!


1 Cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk Chocolate
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
6 Chocolate Creme-Filled Sandwich Cookies, crumbled
2 Large Marshmallows, cut into small cubes
Ice Pop Mold

Mix all ingredients together just until combined.
Pour into Ice Pop molds.
Place in freezer and allow to freeze until solid.

The kids LOVED these! I mean, both of my kids referred to them as "awesome", and told me that I was "awesome" for making them. I call that a win in my book! Plus, with the main ingredient being Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk, I know that they are getting a lower calorie, lower fat treat that packs a nice calcium punch. It's still a treat, because I added the extras, but this is easy to adjust to your taste preferences and your particular sugar content specifications. My ice pop mold only makes 4 "pops" at a time, so if yours makes more, you will also need to adjust the recipe for that as well. Overall, they were creamy, delicious, and the perfect way to cool down after a 90-plus degree day!

If you would like to see more Easy as Breeze recipes from Almond Breeze, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having a Marble-ous Time!

Disclosure: The item(s) mentioned below were provided complimentary for the purpose of an honest review. The opinions stated here are based upon my personal experience with the product(s) and are entirely my own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I feel would benefit my readers.

I come from a generation that has grown up with the boom of technological advancement. Growing up, playing outside, with barbies and board games were normal. Today, it seems that all kids toys are electronic, or mimic the electronics that their parents use on the regular. I'm not an opponent of technology, believe me, I feel that it has done so much good too. That being said, I take every opportunity that I can to get my kids toys that encourage and foster imagination. I really love to go to specialty stores where they offer "different" toys that aren't available at your "traditional" stores. We recently got to try out the Mega Fun Marble Fun Run, and this is one of those toys!

The Mega Fun Marble Fun Run comes with 105 pieces and a 30-pack of marbles. With these pieces your children can create a marble race track that will keep them busy for hours! While there is a track that they have created for you, kids can come up with and create any track they wish. The track comes with brightly colored plastic pieces, and some translucent-sparkly ones too! The possibilities are endless! From playing with the Mega Fun Marble Fun Run, kids can develop their spatial skills, hand-eye coordination, cause-and-effect and problem-solving skills. All while being given the opportunity to create, something television shows and video games can't do! This is intended for children ages 4 and up, and would make a wonderful gift idea!

I have an almost 10 year old (he will be 10 tomorrow!), and a 3 year old. They both have fun playing with this. I supervise the 3 year old because the marbles are small, and she can be the equivalent of a pint-sized godzilla. All-in-all, it probably took a good 30 minutes to assemble this set. The instructions may be difficult for some to follow, especially children, because it is a picture of the finished product, not step by step details to walk you through it. That being said, it isn't imperative to construct it the same way it is in the instructions, so you don't have to follow that anyway. There were times that I found the pieces fit oddly. It was almost as if they needed to be in a specific angle, or turned a certain way for it to sit just right. This really didn't pose too much of a problem, unless the piece was sitting strangely and then the marbles wouldn't go down correctly. Speaking of which, do not use regular sized marbles with this, as they do not fit through the holes. It comes with 30 marbles, which was more than enough in my opinion. My 3 year old found regular marbles somewhere and figured they would work, however, they only plugged up the holes. Overall, we love our Mega Fun Marble Fun Run, and it makes a great indoor activity when it's rainy outside, or when the weather gets cold.

The Mega Fun Marble Fun Run gets 8 stars from me:

If you are looking for toys, either as gifts for others, or for children of your own, I can almost guarantee that this will get 2 thumbs up from the kids. You can find them on Amazon, HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bird Watching with Yellow Beaks

Disclosure: The item(s) mentioned below were provided complimentary for the purpose of an honest review. The opinions stated here are based upon my personal experience with the product(s) and are entirely my own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I feel would benefit my readers.

My grandmother used to live in Virginia. We live in New York, so the time we got to spend with one another would be limited to major holidays and Summers, when she would come of here for an extended period of time. In April, she made the move here, and it's been great for the kids and I to see her as often as we do. Her new place backs up to a wooded area that homes several species of bird. She noticed the bird feeders in the backyards of all of her neighbors, and soon followed suit. My little ones love going there and watching all of the different birds that come to feed at her feeder, and it immediately made me want to get our own. I was recently given the opportunity to review a Yellow Beaks Window Bird Feeder, which has brought the joy of bird watching to our house, and very up-close too!

The Yellow Beaks Window Bird Feeder is an acrylic, clear bird feeder that you can attach to your window via all-weather suction cups. To do so, you simply clean the window that you will be attaching it to, apply a small amount of water to the suction cups, push them into place until there are no air bubbles under the suction cups, and hang the bird feeder. I actually attached the bird feeder to the suction cups first so I could make sure that they would be stuck in the right place. The dimensions of the actual feeder are 9.6 x 5.9 x 6.6 inches, making it a decent sized feeder for most birds you are trying to attract to it. It is constructed with a wide angle roof design which keeps the birds and feed protected by the elements. I can attest to this, as the day after I set it up, we had a crazy thunder/lightening/rain storm, and the thing didn't budge, and the food inside was unharmed by the elements. This design also helps to keep the squirrels out, as they are often scrounging around for food too.

View from inside

In order to attract birds to the Yellow Beaks Window Bird Feeder, it is recommended that you set it up in an area where birds can find it, obviously. In order to attract them to it you can use a trail of bird seed that leads to it. It may take several days before birds find it and start using it, however, once they do, it is likely that they will continue to come back so long as the food is there. Some of the common birds that can be attracted to this feeder include: finch, goldfinch, cardinal, chickadee, cockatiels, blue bird, blue jay, robin, canary, mynah, wren, titmice, bunting, grosbeak and more! We haven't been able to spot a bird eating from it quite yet, but in it's defense we were on the horizon of a vacation when it arrived, and consequently have only had it set up for a couple of days, and I have already moved it once so that we would have a better chance of actually sighting a bird feeding from it.

At this time I am not going to give it a rating. Once I have it in place for a week or two I will update with an accurate star-rating. So far, everything about it is perfect, however, it's purpose is to feed birds, so I need to make sure that it does exactly that. I just don't feel good lowering my rating without being more certain that it will not attract birds under the right circumstances.

If you are wanting to experience an up-close view of the birds around your home, you can grab your Yellow Beaks Window Bird Feeder on Amazon for $25.95. This price is not guaranteed to last, as it retails for higher.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

No More Xerosis Featuring Nouvea/Organica

Disclosure: The item(s) mentioned below were provided complimentary for the purpose of an honest review. The opinions stated here are based upon my personal experience with the product(s) and are entirely my own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I feel would benefit my readers.

Xerosis, for your information, is the medical term for dry skin.The more and more I know about the ingredients in the products I use, the more and more reserved I become about what I will allow myself, and my family members to use. I have become one of those "crunchy" moms who scours the ingredient list of snacks and foods, and even things like toothpaste and mouthwash. The world becomes a pretty scary place when you start to read labels, and I am happy that there are still brands and companies that value health and well-being enough to offer perfectly healthy alternatives. I recently tested out Nouveau/Organica Ultra Hydrating Facial Moisturizer and it delivers in terms of hydration and purity of ingredients.

Don't let it fool you by the small packaging size. While the container holds only 2 ounces of product, a little goes a LONG way. Plus, due to the fresh ingredients, it is best to use within 6 months, so having less ensures that you are using the product and its ingredients while they are still effective. What I love about the Nouveau/Organica Ultra Hydrating Facial Moisturizer is the ingredients. This product is formulated with only 100% organic ingredients, making it not only organic, but also vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and cruelty-free. Instead of a toxic, un-pronounceable formulation, I can understand each ingredient! They use raw, food-grade, unrefined and cold-pressed processes to deliver the highest and most potent quality for each element. This is suitable for all skin types, making it versatile enough to handle sensitive skin, dry skin, normal skin, and even oily skin!

In my experience, this has been a great moisturizer. This past Winter I suffered some horrendously dry skin, and I wish I had this with me to get through that. When I opened the jar I thought it looked a lot like a petroleum jelly. In this warmer weather it is very malleable, however, when the cooler weather hits, I am sure that it will be a little harder. In other words, it has the consistency of coconut oil. It doesn't have much of a scent, and actually smells mostly like shea butter to me, which makes perfect sense as that is the first ingredient. The formula is light-weight, and a little bit greasy, which I attribute to the shea butter and coconut oil. I use this primarily at night because it takes a bit of time for it to absorb, and in the morning I do not have time for that, and I wear makeup so I need a non-oily surface to work with. Plus, at nighttime I like to use heavier products so they have time to sink in and do their work.

I'm super thrilled to have been given the opportunity to try Nouveau/Organica Ultra Hydrating Facial Moisturizer and recommend it with 8 stars:

If you are interested in a pure and organic facial moisturizer, this is absolutely a wonderful option. It is currently $27.95 on Amazon for the 2 oz container.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Just Hangin' Around Featuring BriaUSA

There are few things in this world that I truly despise, however, plastic hangers are one of them. I understand that they don't want to spend the money to use "good" hangers in stores, and therefore, plastic is the way to go. I cannot stand plastic hangers though. I'm not sure why something so simple just offends me so deeply, but they just do. I always get rid of them or request that the store keep them, as I have no use for them. I recently had the opportunity to try some wonderful children's hangers from BriaUSA, and they are phenomenal! I keep thinking what a wonderful baby shower gift they would make because it's the things like hangers that no one ever thinks about, but are entirely helpful.

I love how tasteful these hangers are. They are of a much better quality than your everyday plastic or wire hanger, while still being affordable. BriaUSA offers the Plastic Children's Hanger in a variety of colors, and styles as well. One of the unique qualities about these hangers is how slim they are, allowing for optimum use of closet space. They are nice and sturdy too, which speaks to their quality. My daughter's clothes fit perfectly on them, and they came at the perfect time with Summer here and the plethora of dresses she has. I also appreciate the notches on them to ensure that items hung up do not slip off. We have put these right to use with dresses, rompers, cardigans, etc... and they work beautifully, and look just as great! I would highly recommend them to anyone!

These are available to purchase through Amazon, and are currently priced at only $8.99 for a set of 10. Steal of a deal if you ask me!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

{Book Review} - Letters From My Father's Murderer by Laurie Coombs

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the mentioned book for the purpose of review through Litfuse Publicity.

I have been on such a reading kick lately. Yes, some books are for review purposes, but I have to admit that I have enjoyed them just as well. I recently read Letters From my Father's Murderer by Laurie Coombs, and I have to say that it was, ironically, such an inspirational story. While it is not everyday you run into someone who has experienced the murder of one of their parents, the main message from this book runs much deeper. My Bachelor's in Psychology gets the best of me when it comes to deciphering human behavior, especially when it comes to murder. I am always interested to hear the back-story, as rarely is a murder committed by a stranger. That drew me into this book. I really wanted to hear what happened, and understand the meaning behind a willful correspondence between a daughter and her father's murder. What kept me reading was the powerful message of forgiveness.

When Laurie's father is murdered, she goes through a very religiously dark time. As time passes, she begins to explore her feelings through God's guidance. She needs closure, and via much thought and prayer, comes to the conclusion that she needs to reach out to her father's murderer to get the full story of what happened the evening of the murder. While there are many obstacles in the road that prevent this from being a smooth journey, Laurie remains steadfast in her faith in God and his example to forgive our enemies. This experience is told through Laurie's perspective, as well as the letters exchanged between her and her father's murderer.

Author Laurie Coombs

I could barely put this book down! As much as I wanted to find out why her father was murdered, I was equally as drawn to the underlying message of forgiveness, redemption, and most of all, healing by following the path of God. One quote that stuck out to me in this book was "It's not about whether you check the 'Christian' box on a survey, but whether your belief is backed by the power of the living God." (p. 93) I think this spoke to me because I see so many "box checkers" these days, and fewer individuals who actually try to live and behave as God intended. We are encouraged to love our enemies, which seems like such a difficult task. This proves to be the case, as seen when Laurie navigates her own journey of forgiveness. The amount of strength and perseverance Laurie shows throughout her experience is miraculous. I'm so glad that she shared her story the way she did, as I feel it could speak volumes to anyone who reads it. It gives you a very positive impression of forgiveness, and reminds us all that 1-forgiveness allows for our own healing and 2-that forgiveness does not equate to the acceptance of sinful acts.

I happily give this book 10 stars, and highly recommend it:

Be sure to enter below to win a Kindle Fire! You can purchase your copy of Letters From My Father's Murderer by Laurie Coombs HERE. And check out all of the Litfuse reviews HERE.

Letters from My Father's Murderer Laurie Coombs