Monday, August 20, 2012

Brownies on the brain? (Fiber One Review & Giveaway)

This giveaway is now closed. Winner has been selected and notified. A new winner will be chosen if I don't receive a reply within 48 hour. Thanks so much!

I absolutely love to bake. And I do it a lot! More, perhaps, in the cooler months than right now in August, but I still produce our fair share of cookies and brownies around here. I like to add nuts and toffee and frostings and all sorts of yumminess.

We all enjoy them very much but, I must confess, I really have no clue how many calories are in any given one. I know I could plug all the ingredients in to some fancy calculator, divide out servings, and blah blah blah... but, really, I don't like that much effort with my treats!

Ordinarily, we just don't worry about it. But my husband has really amped up the health and fitness lately and is working hard to drop a few pounds he no longer wants. He is not "dieting", but he IS trying to be more aware of what-- and how much-- he is eating. And, since I'm not always good at guess-timating how many calories are in a brownie I might bake, I was happy when I could just say "90" once these Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Flavor arrived.

So... they have 90 calories. That's good. More than anything, I'm just glad I have an actual number to give my man.

But, really, what everyone wants to know is: How do they taste?

They don't taste like homemade. Sorry. I wish I could say they did but, alas, I've yet to find a single packaged snack that does.

They do, however, have a good, chewy texture, and a decent number of semisweet chocolate chips going on. They're a nice, easy-to-grab size and it's a bonus that each bar provides 20% of the recommended daily value of fiber. That's probably good since my guy prefers white bread to wheat. ;)

Oh! And there are no artificial sweeteners in them. That was happy news to me. Oftentimes, these "lower calorie" snacks have aspartame hidden in there. Since this ingredient list met my approval, the kids could give them a try, too. Win-win.

Interested in giving them a try for yourself? Well, happy day!

Just leave a comment on this post letting me know WHY you'd like to give them a try (or WHO you're hoping to let try them!)

One winner (selected 8/31/12) will receive a prize pack containing:

  • 1 box of Fiber OneŽ 90 Calorie Brownies, the Chocolate Chip Cookie flavor
  • Survival kit including:
    • Brain Stress Ball
    • Water Bottle
    • Ear Tube Buds
    • Office Turf
    • Mini tote bag
**Up to 3 ADDITIONAL entries may be earned by sharing this post via Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest. Leave an additional comment for each method, please!**

Disclosure:  The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pillsbury Baguette Chips (review & giveaway)

This giveaway is now closed. Winner has been randomly selected and notified. Thank you all for your great flavor ideas in the comments!!

Honestly? I am totally not "up" on the latest and greatest products in the grocery store. I am a boring creature of habit. I know things like when blueberries come into season, but I'm the mom at the baseball game who has no idea what anyone's talking about when they mention the newest, super-fab sports drink. Ah, well. Such is life. :)

Still, it was kind of fun last week when little old ME had tried something they had not yet seen! Score one for the lady who's been living under a rock!

I recently had the opportunity to try Pillsbury Baguette Chips in both the Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sun-dried Tomato varieties. I have to tell you-- they are some rather addictive little suckers. Crunchy, salty, quick-and-easy yumminess.

According to the Pillsbury website, these hearty chips are sliced from oven baked bread and topped with savory seasonings. I love that they're thicker and crunchier than typical chips. They can be enjoyed alone, with dip, or to spice up soup or a salad. (<-- I wish I'd actually read that last recommendation earlier. These would be a super fun substitution for croutons!)

Intrigued? Interested in trying Pillsbury Baguette Chips for yourself? Well, happy day! I have a gift pack including SIX full-size bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips (3 of each flavor) for one of my readers to win!

For your chance at this great prize, simply leave a comment on this post telling me this:

Which flavor would you like to see Pillsbury Baguette Chips come out with next? (I'd love to see ranch or pizza, myself!)

(If you just can't wait to try them, go here to download a printable coupon for $0.75 off one package--

Disclosure: General Mills provided me with the free product, information and gift pack through MyBlogSpark, but all opinions are entirely my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BK CROWN Program (review and giveaway)

(This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been notified.  Thanks so much for entering!)

We recently returned from a marathon vacation.  We headed out from our home in Connecticut and drove down to Tampa to board a cruise ship.  After that?  More driving to get us up to Indiana for Thanksgiving. And once the turkey had been consumed?  You guessed it.  More driving back to New England.  All told, our children saw fifteen states over the course of our journey!

While we dined on elegant fare onboard the ship and filled our bellies with Grandma's comfort food in the Midwest, those six days en route meant we needed some quick, on-the-go lunches.  One of my children's favorites that we grabbed on the road?  The Kids Meal boxes as part of the BK Crown program.

On top of the box is a removable crown (and it may just be me, but I think these have been redesigned to better fit smaller heads).  My two princess-lovin' girlies were all about that.  The box is also covered with various games and activities which delighted my puzzle-solving little boy.  He loved telling us about what he found on there and what he was working on.

Truth?  The times we rely on fast food, I generally just order something off the dollar menu for my kids.  They don't have much Kids Meal experience.  So there was definitely some novelty factor there.  Still, I liked seeing their excitement and I have to admit I was really happy to hear my son ask this question:

"What does this mean?  'Go to, enter your Crown Code and choose a way to help.  Burger King Corp. will make a donation to the charity you've picked.'?  Can I do that?  Can I pick someone to help???"

He was so eager and I'm a big fan of any and all opportunities to talk about giving!  BK has established a fund to help support the  Wildlife Conservation Society, National Parks Conservation Association, and Have It Your Way™ Foundation.

Perhaps you'd like to explore the new BK CROWN Program with your children?  (You don't need to have a big voyage on the agenda! ;))  You're in the right place!  I have a $25 BURGER KING Crown Card for one of my winners to purchase a kid's meal featuring the BK CROWN Program.  (And, yes, you can definitely buy way more than one kid's meal with that card-- you might want to try out a "BK Family Bundle for $9.99 which includes: WHOPPER® sandwich, WHOPPER JR.® sandwich., two small fries, two small soft drinks and a Kids Meal)

For a chance to win (or a few chances) just do the following:

1) Leave a comment answering this question (mandatory):

How do you try to make mealtimes fun and engaging with your children?

2) Feel free to earn extra entries by sharing about this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and coming back to let me know in additional comment(s).

Thanks and good luck!

Winner will be selected on Monday, December 5th.

(Disclosure: The BK CROWNTM/MC Program prize pack, information and coupon have been provided by Burger King Corporation through MyBlogSpark.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who COULDN'T Use a Walmart Gift Card???

This giveaway is now closed; thanks so much!!!

When my older two children were just starting out in preschool, I remember perusing the classroom volunteer opportunities and feeling discouraged.  Their class schedule was such that, if one was in school, the other needed to be with me.  Not tiny babies, I couldn't just drag them along.  Not yet old enough for "big kid school", they were always with, well, ME!  Saddened that I couldn't be more help IN the classroom (because, I'm sorry, it's NOT help if you're just dragging another kid along for them to entertain), I talked to the preschool secretary.

And I got a volunteering opportunity!

For the entire time my children attended that school, I was in charge of organizing the Box Tops 4 Education.  It was a task I could do in the evenings while my littles slept and I was happy to do it.  In part because of that experience, it is a program that is near and dear to my heart.

Provided with a gift card thanks to Walmart and General Mills, I had the recent opportunity to peruse many of the participating products from this great program... and right now, each is bearing four box tops!  That right there is easy money for the school of your choice!  Many of these products- from brands like Nature Valley, Cheerios, and Yoplait- are things that help make the busy school year a bit easier.

Would you like a $25 Walmart gift card of your own?  I know most of us have ever-growing back-to-school lists this time of year!  Even if you just need to stock up on some handy snacks, a little extra money would sure come in handy, would it not?

To enter, simply leave a comment letting us know:

What's the number one back-to-school item on your list?  (I just about bet Walmart has it!)

For an extra entry or two, please feel free to share about this giveaway on Twitter +/or Facebook and leave an additional comment (or two) if you do!

Good luck!

(a winner will be selected on 8/2/2011)

Disclosure: I was provided with information and a gift card from Walmart and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  All opinions, forever and always, are my own

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fiber One (Giveaway!)

This giveaway is now closed- thank you!!!

Cereal?  Is not my first choice breakfast.  This is mostly because I have a passionate love for eggs.  And cinnamon rolls.  And English muffins.  And... well, you get the point.  There are so many great options for breakfast and, as a stay-at-home mom to littles, I often have the luxury of variety and a little extra time when it comes to breakfast prep.  Still, cereal definitely has a place in our home.  Not only do I serve it to my kids every single Sunday morning before we venture off to the earliest church service that's offered, I also like to have it on hand for quick snacks or to incorporate in trail mix.  When I do choose a cereal, I like one with enough fiber to keep us full for more than, I don't know, ten minutes.

Fiber One offers a whole array of cereal choices to meet just about any taste preference.  Each contains at least 30% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.  This helps the cereal feel more "stick to your ribs" than many I've tried.

Simply put, fiber is good for you.  And, while I may prefer to get my fiber from ample fruits and veggies, it's nice to know that I can nosh on something else crunchy and sweet and be getting something beneficial from it!

Would you like to try out what Fiber One has to offer?  One of you will get the chance as I have the opportunity to give a prize pack containing five (!) boxes of Fiber One cereal:

  • Fiber One Original
  • Honey Clusters
  • Raisin Bran Clusters
  • Caramel Delight
  • Shredded Wheat (<-- our fave!)

To enter, simply leave a comment letting us all know what your favorite way to sneak more fiber in your diet is. 

Also, be sure to visit Fiber One online for great information on healthy living and additional ways to incorporate fiber into your diet.  You can also check out the Fiber One Facebook page to get involved in the conversation.

For an extra entry or two, please feel free to share about this giveaway on Twitter +/or Facebook and leave an additional comment (or two) if you do!

Good luck!

winner will be chosen on Tuesday, 7/19/11

Disclosure: I was provided with all five varieties of Fiber One cereal to try from General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  All opinions, forever and always, are my own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kung Fu Panda Giveaway

(This giveaway is now closed- thanks!)

I recently had the privilege, thanks to General Mills and DreamWorks (through MyBlogSpark), of seeing Kung Fu Panda for the very first time!  So fun!

Our family cherishes our times together having "Pizza & A Movie Nights" every Friday.  Sometimes we just watch a PBS or Playhouse Disney show streamed from the laptop.  Other times, we actually pop in a full length film.  (Confession: some of these are still VHS tapes.  Yes, we are that old.)  It is exceedingly rare that we rent or even borrow any "newer" movie.  Having a brand new DVD (!) to watch was quite a treat indeed!

My six-year old son takes karate and he really got into watching this movie- it was particularly exciting for him since he had just broken his very first boards in class!   He thought Tigress was super cool, probably because tigers are among his daddy's favorite animals.

I was excited to learn that Kung Fu Panda 2 is out now.  While it is unlikely we'll see it in the theater (we're just not "movie-goin' folk"), I will definitely be looking out for this one's video release!

In honor of Kung Fu Panda being back, I have the opportunity to give away a prize pack to one of you lucky readers!  In it, you'll find:

  • One box of a participating Big G cereal with a spin fighter toy inside (Mine contained Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, a very yummy addition to the trail mix I put together for our letter-boxing hikes!)
  • An additional spin fighter toy.  (Handy if you have more than one kiddo!)
  • Your own copy of the original Kung Fu Panda
To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know who you'd love to watch Kung Fu Panda with!  (Or, if you've seen it already, who would you love to take to Kung Fu Panda 2?)

To earn additional entries, you may:
  1. Follow on Twitter.
  2. Like on Facebook.
  3. Share via blog or email.

Simply leave one additional comment for each additional entry method you complete.

Winner will be selected Tuesday, June 14th.  Good luck!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Preparing For a Major Milestone

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Slim·Fast.


We spent our first wedding anniversary at a Baltimore Ravens game...

On our second anniversary, we watched cops chase a car thief through
our backyard (that's a story for another day)...

But I really remember our third anniversary. I was seven months
pregnant with our first child. I wore a long black skirt, a blouse
with orchids on it, and sky-high heels. We went out to Olive Garden
after work. I remember eating my chicken marsala and talking about
how we should do something special for our 5th. We should go
somewhere. Our child would be two and I figured we could surely
enlist some grandparents to watch him or her while we got away for a
weekend... right?

Little did I know that our fourth anniversary would find me one month
shy of delivering our SECOND baby.

It probably goes without saying that we did NOT get away for our fifth
anniversary. Matter of fact, I spent that landmark day driving four
hours round trip to a children's hospital to pick up my baby girl's
first pair of glasses.
Good times, good times.

No problem. We'd just push that goal forward. We'd do something
exotic and romantic for our TENTH anniversary. By then, our children
would be five and six and not so hard to watch or care for. Surely
we'd be able to find someone to keep an eye on them for a night or
two. Right?

We welcomed baby #3 in 2009.

Sooo... our tenth anniversary is happening this year. Our children
will be 6, 5, and 2 at the time. It's not as easy to find someone to
watch three kids. People work. They have their own kids. It's just,
well, complicated.

But, since this been rolling around in my head for about seven years
now, I'm determined to make it happen. I'm also willing to be

The plan?

  • Take a family vacation (<-- read: yes, our children will be along) to somewhere warm and exciting.
  • Make sure there are children's programs and events so that my main squeeze and I can have some adult time while the littles have a blast.

The steps I'm taking right now?
  1. Squirreling away any extra money from bonuses and blog-work.
  2. Deal seeking and comparison shopping bunches of different travel sites.
  3. Working to get back to the six side of an eight.
  4. Setting expectations for the children.

So... guess what we're planning on doing? Anyone?

A cruise. Later this year. Probably Caribbean. Almost definitely
Carnival. We've been on five cruises before, but never with children.

Who says you can't take children along on a romantic trip? After all,
they're a huge part of the joy we've shared over these past ten years.

Bon voyage to all of us.


It's exciting to celebrate major milestones! For many, looking our best (*ahem*, that would be the 6 side of an 8 I'm aiming for!) is a part of that. While I'm mostly an exercise girl when it comes to losing weight, Slim-Fast (Visit the Official site) is another option to help achieve those goals.

I'm happy to able to give away a a Slim-Fast gift pack (worth $100) to one of you! To enter, please leave a comment answering the following:

What's your favorite way to get in shape for a major event?


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be

The Official Rules are available here

For even more chances to win, please see the BlogHer round up page and visit the Promotions & Prizes Section.

Sweepstakes will run: 3/28-4/20