The Possibilities Are Endless With Strictly Briks! #Tryazon #Strictlybriks

We have a lot of Legos at our house, but our kids usually just stick to the model from the box.  Strictly Briks is a new line of “briks” that are compatible with Legos, but encourages kids to literally “think outside of the box”.

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Sometimes creativity requires a little mess!

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There is an array of base plates available, which allows for building tall towers.  These girls built a penguin house.

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Fun for the whole family!

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What makes Strictly Briks unique is that they come in different shapes and materials.  For example, they have Creatorz briks, which can be connected on all sides, rather than just the top and bottom.  They also have Silicone Briks and Straps that are flexible.  As shown in this picture, n made an obstacle course for his Lego minifigures.  There are also clear colored briks which add another creative dimension.  Strictly Briks can be bought on Amazon, and I would definitely recommend them to expand the possibilities for any Lego fan.

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Start Your Christmas Shopping Now: #MyCanvasOnDemand

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and that means it is time to start thinking about Christmas presents.  I think photo gifts are always nice for loved ones who do not really need any more “things”.  Canvas On Demand has awesome gifts for everyone on your list.  Based in Raleigh, NC, @canvasondemand has everything you need to get your shopping done early.

They offer more than just canvas prints.  From photo-to-canvas art for parents, Coloring Canvas for kids, and customizable photo gifts, including ornaments & more, Canvas On Demand can help with your holiday shopping list.

For a limited time, they’re offering 60% off your entire order at Canvas On Demand with code USFAM. Select from canvas prints and more! Valid until 12/12/17.

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Ready in 60 Seconds: Barilla Ready Pasta #ReadyPasta #Tryazon

When making pasta, the part that takes the longest is boiling the water.  Enter: Barilla Ready Pasta.  Cut open the packet and microwave for sixty seconds.  Voila–your pasta is ready!  The pasta comes fully cooked.

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The pasta comes in several varieties.  We tried the gemelli shape.  For the sampling party, I added olive oil and parmesan cheese.  The color of the pasta was a little darker than what we are used to, but the texture was nice and al dente.  I also really like the ingredient list: Water, Pasta [(Semolina Wheat), Durum Wheat Flour], Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt.  No preservatives!

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The parents commented that the Barilla Ready Pasta would be a nice quick and easy meal or snack option that the kids could do by themselves.  You really cannot get any easier!

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Pass The Parmigiano Reggiano, Please!

Parmesan cheese is a staple at our house.  We use it to top our pasta and pizza all of the time.  However, the green canister and packets of crumbly parmesan cheese pale in comparison to real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Parmigiano Reggiano is made in Italy, specifically in and around the province of Parma (hence, the name).  The way you can tell its authenticity is to look for the pin-dots on the rind.
Due to its long aging process, Parmigiano Reggiano is naturally lactose-free.  It is also a good source of protein and calcium, which is what our growing kids need.
There are several recipes using Parmigiano Reggiano at http://parmesan.com/recipes-with-parmesan/
I tried this Parmesan Twists recipe: http://parmesan.com/recipe/parmesan-twists/
My son had a fun time helping me make these.  First, we brushed a beaten egg on puff pastry dough.   Then we grated the Parmigiano Reggiano with a microplane and sprinkled it on the dough.
We used a rolling pin to roll the cheese on the dough to make it stick better.  We then cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips.
Next, we twisted two strips at a time and baked them in the oven for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees.
They look fancy, but were so easy to make.  The flavor of the Parmigiano Reggiano really makes these special.  Our whole family gobbled them up!
For dinner, we served the Parmesan Twists with my take on Zuppa Toscana soup, which contains sausage, potatoes and kale.  I added a sprinkling of Parmgiano Reggiano to the soup, as well.  The flavors complemented each other beautifully.
A perfect fall meal!
Click here for the chance to win a Holiday Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Feast of your own!
*Samples provided through BrandBacker, however opinions are entirely my own.*

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Who Knew? Beer Is Good For Your Hair: BRÖÖ Shampoo + Conditioner Review #MomsMeet #CraftBeerHair

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

When I first heard about BRÖÖ shampoo and conditioner having craft beer as its main ingredient, I imagined it making my hair smelling like a frat party.  Well, after trying out three types of the shampoo and conditioner, I can say that BRÖÖ does not leave your hair smelling like beer.  Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised that the beer in this line of products really does feel nourishing to my hair!

The first products I tried were the Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner.  According to the package, it is formulated for dry, damaged hair and has a “hop flower” scent.  I am not sure what a hop flower smells like (it did not smell like beer), but I honestly did not care for the scent.  While my hair did feel moisturized after using it, the scent seemed too masculine for me, and it lingered after my hair dried.  Oh well, I am sure D will be happy using the rest of this one.

The second products I tried were the Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner.  This one is for fine, flat hair and has a citrus creme scent.  I did not know what the scent was before I tried it, and I could not quite place it.  It reminded me of a lemon meringue pie (yum!), which I guess fits into the citrus creme profile.  The shampoo itself is a little thinner than what I am used to, but it worked up into a good lather.  My hair did feel noticeably softer and thicker, so this was a definite winner.

The third products I tried were the Invigorating Shampoo and Conditioner.  This is supposed to serve as a daily detox for the hair and scalp and has a “malted mint” scent.   Invigorating is an apt name, as the mint felt refreshing and tingly.  Again, my hair felt soft and conditioned afterward.

B vitamins, proteins, and minerals are the key ingredients that make this shampoo effective.  I also like BRÖÖ’s “6-Pack Promise”: no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no silicones, no dyes, and no fake fragrances.  It is labeled as color-safe.  According to the store locator on the BRÖÖ website, their products can be found at Walmart stores.  Click here for a $1 off coupon!

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God’s Big Plans for Me Review {Giveaway} #RickWarren #FlyBy

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church here in Orange County, is well-known for his book “The Purpose Driven Life”.  Well, did you know that he has also written books for children?  One of them is a storybook Bible called God’s Big Plan for Me.  n has been reading this book before he goes to bed, which is a nice way to end his day.  Even though n is reading chapter books now, I think this picture book is still age-appropriate for him (he is eight years old).

The book is divided into forty days, or chapters.  Each day has a short introduction and a Bible story starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation.  At the end of each story, there are are three points: Think (teaching point); Remember (Bible verse); and Question (personal application).  It works as a self-read for older kids, and as a read-aloud for younger or older kids.

About God’s Great Love for You:

God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.

Thanks to Propeller Consulting, I am pleased to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of your own!

 

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Boye Pom Pom Party #tryazon #pompomparty

Here’s a question…does anyone know what this contraption is?

If you are a crafter, you may know the answer…the Boye Pom Pom Tassel Maker!  According to my daughter and her friends, pom poms are on trend.  I had never tried to make pom poms before, so I was curious to see how this maker works.

We followed the included instruction card and pom poms were created!

Pom pom garlands can be easily customized for different holidays by using different colors of yarn.

I think I should make a bunch of pom poms to have on hand as easy gift toppers!

I like how this pom pom maker allows you to make several sizes of pom poms, as well as tassels.  This would be a great gift for any crafter in your life, including yourself if you fit in that category!  Boye has provided a discount coupon code POMPOM15, which is redeemable through: http://www.simplicity.com/our-brands/boye/

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prAna Sustainable Clothing: Comfortable For Both Work + Play #MamaInprAna

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

I currently work at my kids’ school as a one-on-one special needs teacher’s aid.  Some of the perks of my job are having the same school schedule as my kids (I am home when they are home), and being able to walk to and from work.  I need to wear clothes that allow me to keep up with an active kindergartener throughout the school day.  These Mantra Pants from prAna Sustainable Clothing fit the bill.

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They are really soft and I like the tailored elastic waistband.  They are dressier than yoga pants, but are just as comfortable.  These pants will definitely be added as a staple to my work wardrobe once the weather finally cools down around here.

The color of these Mantra Pants is called Black Herringbone.  Here is a close-up since you cannot really see the detail of the fabric in the other picture.

The other piece I chose was the Rockaway Jacket in Gravel.  Although this jacket has many other appropriate uses, I think it is the perfect “soccer mom” jacket.

This is where you will find me on Saturday mornings in the fall–cheering on my son at his soccer games!

I really like the stitch details of this jacket, and you can see and feel prAna’s high quality standards.  Again, it is definitely an activewear piece, but it feels more stylish than throwing on a regular hoodie.

I have started to see prAna in more stores, such as REI.  It is also a local company, as its headquarters are in Carlsbad, California.  According to prAna, it is a “sustainable” clothing company because they seek out materials from sustainable sources, their people are treated fairly, and their processes improve their industry.

If you are interested in trying out prAna clothing yourself, use code  MMLLF17 for 15% off your entire order at prana.com. The only items excluded are sale items. This code can be used an unlimited amount of times.  Valid October 17, 2017-November 17, 2017.

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Trying Unreal Chocolate With Tryazon #getunreal

With Halloween just around the corner, we can expect an influx of candy into our house.  Recently I had the opportunity to try and share chocolate candy made by a company that is on a mission to remove some of the “junk” in the candy made by the brands we are more familiar with.  The name of the company is Unreal, and they have created a line of chocolate without partially hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, GMOs, or chemical preservatives.

Some of the candy is individually wrapped, and some is loose in a resealable bag.

I created a sample tray for the Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems and the Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems.  As you can see, the colors are more muted and natural than other candies.  This is because Unreal uses natural juices of carrots, beets, cabbages and more, instead of artificial dyes.  I personally found the colors sophisticated and appealing.  I know that kids find brighter colors more attractive, but I think it is just a matter of re-training their thinking as to how the not-found-in-nature colors are not the healthiest to consume.  I was really curious about the quinoa and chocolate combination.  I liked the crunchy texture, and the kids liked it too!

For the individually wrapped candy, I made little Halloween-themed treat bags.  We were able to sample the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Crispy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, and Milk Chocolate Gems.  I liked that the peanut ingredients tasted fresh and like “real” peanuts.

No one in our group had heard of Unreal chocolate before.  It was fun to “share good” with this brand that is “made good”.

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Glory Song by Matt Redman {Giveaway} #GlorySong #FlyBy

If you are at all familiar with contemporary Christian music, you probably know Matt Redman’s music, if not the artist himself.  Some of his well-known songs have become “Christian classics”, including ‘The Heart of Worship’, ‘You Never Let Go’ and ‘Blessed Be Your Name’.  According to his website, “More recent compositions include the Grammy-nominated ‘Our God’, and the double-Grammy winning ’10,000 Reasons’ – for which he also received a Billboard award in the USA.”

I received a copy of his newest album, “Glory Song”, AND I have an opportunity for you to win a copy for yourself! (See below.)  I really enjoyed this CD.  I like how there are both upbeat tempo praise songs, as well as more slow, contemplative songs. My favorite songs on this album are Gospel Song, and Gracefully Broken. They are powerful from both a vocal and lyrical point of view.

 

More album information:

Matt Redman teamed up with several of his worship-artist friends for this album, first releasing the track “Gracefully Broken (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard).” Tasha Cobbs Leonard also released her own version of this song on the same day! The album also features Kierra Sheard, Guvna B, Madison Cunningham, and Kim Walker-Smith.

Social Corner:

Gracefully Broken Top Of The Tower Live Video: 

Gracefully Broken (Lyric Video): 

Gracefully Broken (Song Story): 

Buy Link: 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 

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