Sep 1, 2014

Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free for back-to-school (Giveaway) #ad

I received some yummy samples to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own as always. 
I have noticed that so many of my friends and family have transitioned to gluten-free foods for a variety of health reasons. I have considered it for my family, but we are big on texture. Gluten-free has tasted like cardboard in the past and that has turned us off. When I did some research on gluten-free Canyon Bakehouse breads, I was drawn in to the fact that they say their breads are soft and have a texture close to traditional breads. I just had to find out for myself. I received a nice assortment of breads for my family to try out including: Cinnamon Raisin, Mountain White, 7-Grain and Cranberry Canyon Crunch Muffins.
I decided to start with the Cinnamon Raisin bread for breakfast. I like my bread toasted so I popped it in on a low setting before I spread a thin layer of butter on it. I took a bite and then another. I was indeed shocked that it had the same texture that I am used to with cinnamon raisin bread. Also, it wasn't overly sweet which is good.

The next one I tried was the 7-Grain bread. I made a sandwich for lunch and decided to try a tiny corner without toasting it. I think I am still too new to gluten-free bread so I toasted it lightly. That did the trick! It tasted like a rich Artisan bread I would buy from a bakery. It was really hearty and filling. I can't believe that this regular bread eater might just be convinced to make the switch! I searched the store locator to see if there were any stores in my area that carry them and to my surprise, I found 4 locations. You can also order baked goods directly from the website. Right now, they have a special if you order "one of everything", you can get $5 off.  They even have a page dedicated to recipes using their products. I think there will be some cinnamon raisin French toast being made in the near future.

At school about 2 students in each classroom have a food allergy. To help parents prepare for the school year, here’s our checklist for staying safe with food allergies:

Tips for Staying Safe at School With Food Allergies

  • Keep teachers and staff in the know – Set up a meeting before the first day of school with your child’s teacher, the school nurse and principal to talk about your child’s allergies.
  • Provide a list of safe and unsafe foods for your child – Especially with gluten allergies, many people don’t understand what it is or where it can be found. Creating a quick run-down of foods to avoid will eliminate fear or confusion on the school’s part.
  • Make an allergy action plan – Provide the school staff with medical information, emergency contact info and a food allergy action plan in case your child has a reaction at school.
  • Attitude is everything – Along with school staff, it’s important to talk to your child about the allergy so he/she understands it. If you don’t treat the allergy as something “weird” then they won’t feel embarrassed.
Try these gluten-free breakfast ideas: 
  • Cinnamon Raisin bread with almond butter or peanut butter.  Canyon’s Tip: choose all-natural nut butters to avoid harmful trans fats. 
  • Mountain White cheese and avocado sandwich.  Canyon’s Tip: Avocados are a great source of healthy fat for energy and keeps the belly full.   
  • 7-Grain toast with a slice of turkey. Canyon’s Tip: lunch foods (ie: turkey) make great breakfast foods since they’re low sugar and full of protein.
  • Cranberry Canyon Crunch Muffin with a hard-boiled egg.  Canyon’s Tip: hard-boil a bunch of eggs on Sunday for quicker prep each morning.
Do you want to try out Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-free breads for yourself? One Mom Files reader will win an assortment of baked goods including: Cinnamon Raisin, Mountain White, 7-Grain and Cranberry Canyon Crunch Muffins. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 11, 2014. Two winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. *Prizes may vary.

Aug 26, 2014

See what happens when Betty Crocker and HERSHEY'S team up #NewFromBetty

The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

Betty Crocker and HERSHEY'S have teamed up to offer three new products in their packaged baking mix line. Introducing Betty Crocker Hershey Dessert Bars including classic flavors like REESE’S Peanut Butter cups and Heath toffee and S'mores varieties.
I received the S'mores and Reese's varieties to try out. I made the S'mores bars this past weekend for girl's night out. Everyone thought they were made from scratch and were all so shocked when I revealed that they were from a packaged mix. They swore I spent hours in the kitchen to create these sweet treats! I tell you what, the directions were really simple and they bars came out perfect. One trick I suggest is lining your pan with parchment for easy removal and no sticking. I couldn't get over how chewy and rich they came out. These would be great to cut into bite-sized pieces for a dessert tray at a party or potluck.
These dessert bar mixes are available in Target stores. You can find out more about these Betty Crocker products and more on the web and connect via Facebook for product updates and promotions. 


Aug 25, 2014

Beauty and the Bees Real Beer Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Review

I received products samples in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 

For most of my life, my hair has been very healthy and pretty. I have noticed that in the last 2 years or so, something changed. My guess is it has something to do with hormones and getting older. ((SIGH)) I was very curious about the Real Beer shampoo and conditioner bars from Beauty and the Bees. They claim they will give your hair natural gloss and shine. Also, I confess, they had me at beer! I couldn't wait to put it to the test. 
I received some instructions and tips to learn how to properly use these products. Having shampoo and conditioner in a bar form is really different from traditional bottles of the liquid type. One bit of advice that stuck out to me was to be careful not to use too much of the conditioner since it is very concentrated. I wet my hair as usual and applied the shampoo bar evenly. It had a very minimal fragrance and lathered fairly well. It rinsed out really well and I then carefully applied the conditioner. I concentrated more in the ends of my hair since my hair is not overly dry. I was afraid of over-conditioning my roots which would make my hair appear greasy. I could feel how rich the conditioner was and it was a good thing to go easy! After rinsing it out, towel drying, blow drying and curling, my hair was luxuriously soft and shiny. I am so pleased with the results and have used the products three times so far. You should have a better understanding of how much to use by your third use according to the tip sheet. 

About the Beer Shampoo + Conditioner Bars:
Beauty & the Bees handmade, solid beer shampoo and beer conditioner bars are rich in plant and nut oils, hops and beer. Beer has been famed for generations for its ability to leave hair bouncy, shiny and full of body, and these bars are chockablock with it - brewed naturally by small, local breweries in Tasmania. The bars follow an entirely sulfate and chemical-free recipe that has been traditionally handmade for centuries, using the finest natural conditioning plant oils such as castor, olive and coconut.

Where to purchase:
Beauty & the Bees handmade skin and hair care products are as special as the island they come from: Tasmania, Australia. The pioneer of all-natural beauty line from Tasmania has launched its U.S. division now available on Etsy, BeautyandtheBees.net and Amazon.

My overall opinion:
I love that there is nothing to throw away once the bars are used up. No waste and no harm to our earth. My husband keeps commenting on how gorgeous my hair has been looking. I recommend giving these products a try if you are looking for a natural alternative. I am very satisfied! Be sure to connect with Beauty and the Bees on Facebook for product updates and promotions.

Aug 22, 2014

VTech Kidizoom® Smartwatch Review & Giveaway

The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech. All opinions are my own as always. 
I am continually amazed at how far technology has come and continues to go. Kids in this day and age have so many advantages with this technology. I received the brand new VTech Kidizoom® Smartwatch for my son to test out. The Kidizoom Smartwatch offers so many amazing features all available on your child's wrist.
William was thrilled to play around with his new watch. The first thing that stood out to me is how flexible and comfortable the watch band felt. It was easy to get on and just as easy to take off. William didn't complain about it hurting his wrist or pinching it like he has with other watches he has tried. He wore it to registration night at his school and all of his friends quickly surrounded him to check out his super cool watch. All you could hear was, "Oooh and ahhh".

Kidizoom Smartwatch (Ages 4 years and up; MSRP: $59.99) features include:

·         1.4 inch color touch screen
·         Camera for taking photos and recording videos
·         Voice recorder with 5 voice changing effects
·         Special effects including customized photo frames, color filters and distortion effects; fun video frames
·         4 fun games, included
·         Kid-durable design to withstand drops and bumps
·         Splash proof and sweat proof
·         Alarm clock with fun tones and animation
·         Timer and stopwatch in kid-friendly themes
·         50+ digital and traditional analog displays
·         Rechargeable battery
·         4 vibrant colors: blue, pink, white and green
·         Micro USB cable for data transfer and battery recharging
·         Access to Learning Lodge app store to download more games and watch displays

What we liked about the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch:

  • Makes your kid feel like they have a grown-up watch.
  • A great way to spark imagination.
  • The 3-minute stopwatch is great for timing chores or teeth brushing. 
  • My son enjoys making videos and listening to himself over and over. 
  • A great tool for parents to record reminders for kids. 
  • Very comfortable to wear and excellent to take on the go. 
  • Fairly long battery-life and we LOVE that it is rechargeable. 
Overall, this watch is really neat and my son loves it. He wants to take it to school for show and tell. I am sure his friends will all want one! Be sure to check out the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch on the Vtechkids.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates. 

Giveaway: How would you like to win one for your child? Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway  

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 3, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Aug 18, 2014

Provost Academy #MyUnVirtualSchoolIdea

This post brought to you by Provost Academy. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Mom Files.
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It appears that more and more families are turning to home or online school options for their children. The world is certainly way more different than when I was growing up and going to traditional public school. With one last child at home, I am entertaining the idea of non-tradtional schooling. The question that comes up is, "Will my child have any friends?" I think the social aspect of not attending public or private school physically makes parents get a bit nervous. Provost Academy in South Carolina might have the answer -- Provost Academy in an online public school incorporating social interaction into virtual learning known as My UnVirtual School Idea. They have thousands of students with a common goal. They are like most teens who want to do their personal best, build friendships and explore their dreams together.
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Provost Academy strongly believes that relationships matter as much as academics. They believe that learning is best done together instead of alone. In life, you can't go wrong with the team work approach. I don't think successful adults became that way all alone. The UnVirtual Online School works hard to connect students with other students who have shared goals and dreams, while being an inspiration and support to one another.  They seek out ways for students to engage with professionals in their fields of interest to talk with and learn from over something as simple as a cup of coffee. They try to match up students with opportunities to help them expand their potential and prepare them for some of life's many challenges. Learning can happen anywhere and they want to expand the definition of anywhere. 
All of this is why they like to think of themselves as The UnVirtual Online School. They’re a school built on relationships.
Other fun facts from #MyUnVirtualSchool
· They are accredited. This means the diplomas students receive when they graduate from Provost Academy are real and they are recognized by colleges and the military.
· There is no cost to enroll since they are a public school. Fortunately the value of a Provost education far exceeds the cost, and they work hard to increase that value each and every day.
· Their teachers, advisors and administrators work to build one-to-one relationships with  students. They are a dedicated group challenging each student to go beyond what they think possible and to care deeply about the learning process, not just the outcome.
· They know that learning is unique to each of their students, and flexibility is required. They believe by working together they can create a distinctive learning experience for each student. In honor of this, they invite our readers and followers to help launch the UnVirtual revolution by sharing their ideas, thoughts and suggestions on ways in which an online school can be more social.
The three Provost states are South Carolina, Colorado and Ohio.
I beleive the way an online school can be more social is to have a girls' (or guys') night out for dinner and chit chat. Even if you can't be there physically, a Google hangout will suffice! 

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Aug 12, 2014

What Makes Me Great #GreatGrains #ad

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Post Great Grains Cereal for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you ever think to yourself, "Hey self, you're GREAT!"? Well I let way too many years go by without fully embracing my awesomeness. I believe that life really gets so much better when you hit your 40's. I now look in the mirror and love the woman in the reflection. She's warm, compassionate, patient and beautiful. Why did I wait so long to see just how great I am? Even on my less than perfect days, I manage to channel my inner light and it comes out as a smile. Smiling really makes me feel good and can turn any day into a great day!

Great Grains is the cereal that shows the ingredients you put inside can help you feel and look great on the outside. Great Grains surveyed 1,000 women Nationally to ask “what makes you great.” The results were very interesting. A few results that I fell into the same category were: 73 percent of women have reinvented themselves after turning 40. In fact, 80 percent of women love themselves more now than they did 10 years ago, according to a survey by Wakefield Research for Post Great Grains Cereal. 83 percent of women think the greatest obstacle to reaching their full potential is what they think of themselves, rather than what others think of them. Women have learned a lot over the years, but there are some things they wish they’d absorbed just a little bit sooner. Ten years ago, ladies wish they’d known that saying “no” takes courage (40 percent) and people treat you the way you allow them to (40 percent).

About Post Great Grains Cereal :
Post Great Grains brings whole foods from the field to your bowl for a nutritious breakfast you have to see to believe.
• Less processed ingredients like whole grain flakes from actual wheat berries, as well as real fruit and nuts, come together in this tasty and nutritious morning favorite.
• Rather than grinding our wheat into flour and then stamping it into uniform flakes, Great Grains carefully cracks or steams the whole wheat berry, which helps to lock in full flavor and nutrients.
• All of the varieties of Great Grains have at least 30g of whole grains per serving and are a heart healthy way to start the day. 
Great Grains has nutrition you can see!
There are eight varieties of Great Grains cereals including: - Great Grains Digestive Blend Berry Medley - Digestive Blend Vanilla Graham - Protein Blend Honey, Oats & Seeds - Protein Blend Cinnamon Crunch - Cranberry Almond Crunch -Crunchy Pecans -  Raisins, Dates & Pecans and  Banana Nut Crunch. For more information, please visit www.greatgrains.com and Great Grains on Facebook.
Now it's your turn-- What makes YOU great? 
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