Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Adam Solomon's The Alphabet Book

If there is one thing my son loves, it is books. And when this one - The Alphabet Book - arrived, he grabbed his little chair in order to reach the precious pages as it waited on the counter. He excitedly
proclaimed "OOOOHH!!" as he lifted it into the air. He then grabbed my hand, pulled me into the living room, patted the couch and ran to get his blanket for snuggles during reading. You now know our story time routine.
   Of course, this book is not particularly eloquent. It is an alphabet book. That means there is one letter on each page. But rather than the standard cartoonish letters, these are pictures taken of the real world. Bits of manmade structures, pieces of nature. It is brilliant, even if the letters in the pictures are sometimes a stretch (you'll know what I mean when you see "S").
   I particularly love how the book is getting my son to pay more attention to details. He dragged me over to our kitchen hutch to show me a "U". Before this book, that never happened. This is a good learning tool. Recommended.
Full disclosure: I received this product free of charge, and received compensation, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: Vahdam's Premium Green Tea Chai

My two favorite types of teas are green and chai. Green tea just makes me feel better physically. It's relaxing and helps calm me down if I feel stressed. It helps alleviate sour throats. I try to drink a cup of hot green tea every day. Chai tea is just yummy. I've always loved the spices. When I drink chai, I savor the flavors, close my eyes and picture myself in a foreign country - absorbing the culture.

   With Premium Green Tea Chai, I have the best of both worlds - all in one delicious cup. The tea arrived in a resealable bag. One of the things I liked best about the bag is that it listed the ingredients (Darjeeling green tea, cardamom, cinnamon and clove), the month of picking (November 2015) and the country of origin (India). When I opened it, I could smell both the green tea and the chai. Glorious! My daughter was not a huge fan of the scent initially, but she eventually picked up the cinnamon and declared it was not bad.
   I placed a couple scoops of tea in a steeper and poured hot water over it. About two minutes later, I was enjoying the taste, which was remarkable. It was not overpowering, yet packed enough punch.
   I also tried the tea with hot milk. Now, I love chai made with milk, but the green tea gave it a weird taste. I would not recommend making this tea with milk.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Willow & Everett Pour Over Drip Coffee Maker

We love coffee in this household, but we do not have a coffee maker. Reason? Coffee tastes better when it is allowed to brew in its oils. But, as much as we love our French press, sometimes we just don't drink all that much coffee. The leftovers cool off and then get poured down the drain.
Without a Keurig or an electric single cup machine, what is the easiest way to make coffee without wasting it?
   So, I got this Pour Over Drip Coffee Maker. It's a single cup unit that you place on top of your coffee cup. You then add grounds to it and pour water over the top of the grounds. I know - there's no oil brewing, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. That being said, I found that I need to work more with this product.
   The first time I used it, I added what I thought was the adequate amount of grounds and ended up with tea. The second time, it was stronger tea. The third time - weak coffee. My husband is not impressed at all because of the lack of taste. I am sure this is an awesome product for electronic coffee drinkers. It's easy. It's fast. It's also not very messy. After you get done, just dump the grounds in the garbage and give it a good rinse.
   It's not a bad product, but it's not a good fit for this household.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Phytopia's Essential Tranquility Oil for Anxiety and Stress

Some friends recently introduced me to the essential oil world - the correct version. Meaning, I have tried essential oils before and while I found the scents to be pleasant, they were largely overpowering. I was also using the wrong methods. They set me straight. And I am glad they did.

   I not only use essential oils every day now, but I am seeking different oils to try. So, I decided to give Phytopia's Tranquility oil a go. The oils contained in this blend include orange sweet, geranium China, vanilla and rose maroc.
   This is a massage oil that you use on your shoulders and neck. The scent is pleasant and will help ease your stress if you take a few moments and take a few deep breaths. It really helped me this morning. I have even used it with my kids - particularly my daughter when she starts getting frazzled with her homework. I recommend checking it out.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review: Fun Kids Lady Bug Sequin Art Bundle

You can rest assured that if you have little girls, sequins are among one of their favorite craft supplies. The more sparkly a project can get, the better it is! At least, that is how my daughter and her friends are. They have moved beyond flowers and on to sequins and foils, gems and glitter. See. The sparklier the better.

   So, when I got the Lady Bug Sequin Art and Fun Foilz pack from CK Activity, I knew Bee would go crazy. Sure enough, she did. Her excitement spilled over and I was barely able to prevent the foil and the sequins from being applied to our walls.
   While the flurry of excitement was going on, Bee was thoroughly enjoying her purple (because it's her favorite color) sucker. Three suckers came with the pack. It's always nice when a company throws in a bonus.
   But, after I calmed the storm, I was able to sit her down and get her to read the instructions. Fortunately, the instructions are written so that small children can easily read and understand them. Well - small children ages 6 and older. These might not be incredibly appropriate for 11-year-olds, but I know my 8-year-old loved both kits. Recommended.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Tidy Ridey's Sun Shades

Traveling in a car with kids can certainly be challenging. It gets worse when the sun is shining through the windows and into their little eyes.
   Well, my 8-year-old can always just put a pair of sunglasses on her face, but my 2-year-old doesn't really have that option. Every pair of sunglasses we have gotten him have been
destroyed. So, we no longer buy him sunglasses. But then the sun shines in his face and the whining begins. 
   We have been wanting to get sun shades for a while now and finally got some Tidy Ridey's Sun Shades. So far, so good. My toddler is having an easier time with car trips.
   The shades are 19.4x14.2, so there is plenty of shade to cover. Honestly, I wish it was a tish bigger as we drive a van, so the windows are already huge, but these can easily cover most of a window in a sedan. The suction cups that accompany the shades really do their job! Not a single one has fallen off, but just in case one of them go bad there are two extra cups standing by.
   The shades are not heavy and are very easy to fold with their spring action frames. Recommended.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Feelings Magnets' My Feelings Box

Emotions are complicated. A lot of adults can't even understand them all the time. How can we expect little kids to understand them. Basically, children understand happy, angry and sad. Everything in between is unclear.
   Bee can look sad and I will ask her if she is feeling sad. She will reply "No." I then ask her what she is feeling and she
responds with "I don't know, but I know I'm not sad." Then, I am at a loss as to what to do. Because I don't know what she's feeling, I take stabs in the dark trying to find the best way to help her. Bee wants to tell me, but she doesn't know how to describe it.
   The My Feelings Box has been a God-send in our quest to help her get a better understanding of her emotions. When the box arrived, we sat down together and went through it. I cannot name a single emotion that is not represented in this box. I explained the emotions that she was not familiar with, which were plenty.  I told her about "overwhelmed," "centered," "disconnected," "insignificant" and more. I am glad she was more unfamiliar with the emotions that are considered negative - the angry, negative and fearful emotions.
   Since then, she has used the magnets on the refrigerator and when she walks by, she pauses to think about how she's feeling. Bee then makes appropriate adjustments, letting me know what she's feeling and how she wants to feel.
   This is a wonderful tool to learn more about your child and to help educate your child about him or herself.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge, and received compensation, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Green Heart Labs Exfolimate Magic Body Cloth

I have chronic dry skin. It's unfortunate and sometimes a pain, but as long as I take proper steps, I can prevent the itching and flaking that seems to happen - particularly in the winter months. That means moisturizing body washes and plenty of lotion slathered on after I shower.

   Sometimes, though, it does not get the job done. So, what am I missing? How can I stop these flakes from appearing in my wake? Exfoliation, maybe? Obviously not often - once or twice a week is plenty with dry skin.
   I have never tried any exfoliating chemicals or products until recently when I got the Exfolimate. I was desperate. And my desperation has paid off. It will continue to do so as long as I do not exfoliate on a regular basis. That is very important for people with dry skin. Over exfoliating will irritate and dry your skin out even more. When flakes start appearing, that is when you use this cloth.
   The cloth is not soft. It is abrasive. So, please, use gently. Apply a small amount of body wash on the cloth and scrub your skin. After you get done, apply some lotion. Since the cloth helps get rid of those pesky skin flakes, you want to make sure your exfoliated skin is nice and soft.
   You can toss this cloth in the washer, but do not place it in the dryer. It needs air drying. I am assuming that this cloth will stand the test of time. It is sturdy. Recommended.
Full disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge, and received compensation, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.