Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cooks Companion Digital Wonder Pot - Review and Giveaway!

I used to love cooking. I had all the best home appliances. I would spend hours searching for recipes to try. I would have people over as often as I could to enjoy a meal. But - then I had kids. And now... cooking is nothing but an annoying chore that I keep having to do. Every night. I mean, really, I just made dinner! Do I really have to do it again?

With that being said, I do have to get dinner to the table every night. And I do want it to be something my family will enjoy and will be good for them. I want to do all of this without making myself too crazy on a typical busy day. So when I was given the chance to check out a kitchen appliance that could help bring some spice back into my kitchen, while still allowing me to keep it simple, I was excited.

The Cooks Companion Digital Wonder Pot has a lot to offer us busy moms. Here are some highlights of this kitchen appliance:
Product Features:
  • Perfect 3.2 qt capacity for smaller meals
  • Easy-to-use programmable digital controls
  • Easy cleanup and quick release of food with Whitford Fusion ceramic nonstick inner cooking pot
  • Digital touch screen for easy operation - no knobs to pull / turn
  • Your appliance is safe for countertop use
  • Six cooking modes including Steam, Stew, Rice, Soup, Stir Fry and Bake
  • Automatic Warm setting keeps food warm so your meal is fresh when you want it
  • Comes with handy accessories including steam tray, rice measuring cup and serving spatula

You notice the word "easy" appears more than once. And "easy cleanup" is right up there on my list of important features. But I think my favorite feature is the automatic warm settings, because life is a juggle around here. We are constantly bouncing from one activity to the next. So knowing we can eat a warm meal when we are ready is priceless!

We put the Wonder Pot to the test - the taste test! I loved that it offered a Stir Fry options. How unique! So we whipped up some shrimp and veggie stir fry. It was quick and easy, we were able to make the perfect portion for our family, and clean up was a breeze! One pot meal!

I would say that this meal was a home run. I was able to get it all together with minimal ingredients in no time at all. It was a quick meal that was filling, healthy, and made everyone in the house happy. This kitchen appliance is a must for any home. I can't wait to try steaming corn on the cob!

Now here is the great news. You can be the proud owner of a Cooks Companion Digital Wonder Pot, too! Enter below for your chance to WIN! And be sure to check out more great home appliances from Phoenix Trading Company.


*This product was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Unique Holiday Gifts from NOVICA

I feel like every year it gets harder and harder to shop for friends and family. I am always trying to find unique and fabulous gifts that will make them say, "Oh where did you ever find this!" NOVICA is the perfect place to find these gifts. With their wide selection of handcrafted items, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list.

NOVICA gives artists and artisans around the world the opportunity to share their work with the entire world, and you the opportunity to have these pieces of art in your home. Their website is designed in such a way that when you view a product you get to see and learn about the person or people who create it. You are introduced to an artist who may be on the other side of the world who has something beautiful to share. Novica has a mission - to spread happiness by their commitment to connect, empower, preserve.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shop on NOVICA and see the beauty up close. I was trying to find the perfect gift for my mother-in-law, so I searched for Christmas themed items. A great selection popped up with everything from nativities to ornaments. But these sweet Santas caught my eye.
From clothing to glasses to games to home accents. You can find a wonderful variety of items all in one spot. I would highly recommend that you take some time to explore this wonderful fair trade artisan website that works with National Geographic. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

I am thrilled to share this wonderful shopping experience with one of my lucky readers. One reader will win a $35 Gift Code to make a purchase from the NOVICA website.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tips for Parents in the Workforce

The days of being either a worker or a parent are largely behind us, as more and more parents stay in the workforce, even after they have kids. They still value their careers, and, as much as they also value their families, they don't just want to throw away a college education and everything they've been working to build up over the years.

Of course, this can make it a bit harder to parent as effectively as you'd like. The situation can be rather chaotic, and parents need to be ready for all that it entails. If you're a parent trying to balance work and family life, use these tips to make things go smoothly.

1. Keep in touch. You probably hired a nanny, dropped your kids off at grandma's house, or at least took them to daycare. It's best to stay in touch through text, phone, or online options. Even if you don't need to actively help parent, this makes the transition easier because you can get updates and pictures of yours kids, making you feel more involved.

2. Don't take your work home with you. Stay at the office, get things done, and come home when you can really relax and be with your kids. Time management, and splitting up your time effectively, is key. Thinking about work or trying to get extra things done at the house just adds stress you don't need.

3. Make sure vacation time is family time. You only get so many paid days off every year. Don't waste them. This may mean skipping little things that would be fun to attend, but it pays off when you get 10 days in a row with your kids.

4. Use the time you do have wisely. This is about more than just vacation time. You may only have a few hours from the time you get home to the time your kids go to bed. Spend it with them, not rushing around trying to get other things done.

5. Have emergency plans in place. Kids get sick. Schools have to close due to bad roads. All sorts of things can come up and disrupt your schedule. Having a plan ready in advance allows you to absorb these changes easily.

As many couples are finding out, it's very possible to have both a career and a family. You just need to know how to budget your time and plan ahead. Take a tip from me and hire a service for that holiday home cleaning.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lily the Fancipoo

By Rebekah Phillips
and Sharon Gonyaw

"Meet Lily! Lily is quite the spoiled pooch! However, as much as Lily the Fancipoo has...she is really very lonely and longs for some friends! When her family decides to take a Holiday vacation, Lily is sent to spend some time with her cousins in the country and learns that love far outweighs the benefits of material things! Children will enjoy seeing Lily transform as she lets down her guard and begins to enjoy the farm."

My Thoughts:
My seven year old went crazy for this book! She loved the story of Lily and all of the lessons she learned throughout the story. But perhaps her favorite part is the lovable stuffed Lily that she now sleeps with and takes care of on a daily basis. She also loved Lottie, the little mouse who is hiding on each page. She read the book to her little brother and had him hunt for Lottie throughout the story.

This would make a great gift this holiday season. This book was written and illustrated be Rebekah Phillips, who also has more titles to share with readers (my son is already asking for Piper was Afraid!). But this is the first time she collaborated with her mom, making this a very special book for them and the readers.

You can purchase this wonderful set from Amazon. You can also learn more about Rebekah and her work on her website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cruising with Kids

We just got back from a really fantastic cruise on the Disney Cruise Line. We took the Disney Magic from New York up to Canada. It was a 5 night cruise with 2 days at sea and 2 stops - St. John and Halifax.

I was nervous to cruise with my kids because they are still pretty young. My daughter is 7, so she's pretty easy to travel with. But my son is only 3. We waited until he was 3 so that he could go into the same kids club as her. We also wanted him to be potty trained... which we accomplished over the summer, thank goodness! But my nerves were quickly put at ease, as Disney truly caters to every age - and every single one of us had a great time!

My kids favorite part was definitely the kids club. The Oceaneers Club and Lab was filled with fun activities, crafts, and a giant slide. They had visits from some of their favorite characters, including Mickey, Goofy , Pluto, Stitch, and Captain America! They fed them lunch and dinner if we wanted them to. They loved every second and we loved having some down time to ourselves.

The food was phenomenal. We ate our way through the week with wonderful rotational dining, all the ice cream we could eat, free room service, and so much more. Our waitstaff team was great. They traveled with us every night to our restaurant and really got to know what we liked and didn't like. And they would bring us anything we could dream of!

The shows - oh the shows - from the stage performances to the deck parties to the fireworks. Everything was done in true Disney fashion - to the highest degree of MAGICAL. The stage shows are truly Broadway quality.

To make what could be a very long story, short - IT WAS MAGICAL. We can't wait to get back on the boat!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Raw Shea Butter: One Of The Finest Skin Care Secrets For Women From Head To Toe

Moms, I know how little time we spend on ourselves. Here is some great info from Eu'Genia Shea on a quick and easy way to use Shea Butter for healthier, younger looking skin! - Lara

Raw Shea Butter: One Of The Finest Skin Care Secrets For Women
From Head To Toe

Raw shea butter is an incredible, natural product that belongs in your beauty cupboard. It's versatile and pure and can enhance you from head to toe. It's one of the best skin care secrets ever, with studies showing that raw shea butter stimulates production of collagen. That's the "glue" that keeps our faces and bodies youthful with elasticity.

Let's look at shea butter's fascinating background. For one, there are actually shea trees, and they grow in west and central Africa. The thin-skinned fruit the tree produces is quite delicious, but it's the large oil-rich nut or kernel inside that creates the skin care magic. It naturally contains vitamins A, E and F (essential fatty acids).

Shea Butter when raw, promotes these three assets:
Higher nutrient content
Better natural healing properties
Free of chemicals from the refinement process

Raw shea butter is divine for women of all ages, especially moms, because it can perform amazing things. Here are just a few:

1. Stretch Marks and Cellulite. No one wants either of these body imperfections, but most of us have both stretch marks and cellulite. Laser treatments and the application of prescription retin-A appear to be effective. However, raw shea butter has also been shown to reduce the appearance of both stretch marks and cellulite, thanks to the product's immense hydrating properties, its success at stimulating blood circulation and softening the skin's texture.

2. Clear and Wrinkle "Less" Complexion. It's almost baffling to believe that raw shea butter with its super moisturizing features would not cause skin to break out, but it's true. Its anti-inflammatory elements keep pores clean, and the product is quickly absorbable, so it feels un-greasy. The super butter also softens fine lines and wrinkles, restoring elasticity and buoyancy to the skin.

3. Scalp and Hair Repair Treatment. We spend so much money trying to breathe new life into our damaged tresses and usually get nowhere fast. Raw shea butter can make the ultimate hair treatment and is so easy to do. Warm some shea butter in your palms and apply to hair and scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly and shampoo and condition like you regularly do. Hair will be soft, smooth and healthy-looking.

4. Perfect Outdoor Skin Protection. Raw shea butter is ideal for heading outdoors in any kind of weather. Super hot, cold and dry, snowy, rainy or windy, this wonderful moisturizer already comes with a natural built-in SPF (sun protection factor) of 6, which is beneficial to wear under makeup, too. Apply so lips don't chap, because this pure stuff works like a dream.

5. Super Shaving Staple. When it comes to shaving your legs, you want to eliminate the bumps and possible razor irritation that can occur. Raw shea butter is terrific as a moisturizing shaving cream, and it leaves legs smooth, hairless and with a pretty sheen. It won't clog sensitive hair follicles either and allows your shaver to glide across the skin.

There are many choices out there for buying shea butter, and one of the best brands that delivers purity and luxurious shea butter products is Eu'Genia Shea. Even the iconic New York Times is wild about the high quality 95 percent shea content base of the brand's lotions, which can be found in Everyday, Pregnancy and Dermatological Strength.

Eu'Genia Shea is also proud of its wonderful background story, because it's a family enterprise with deep roots in Ghana and the United States. The company is all about women, opportunity and power, and Eu'Genia Shea is helping build economic opportunities for women in the developing world. Eu'Genia Shea is providing training and employment for some 700 women who work for the brand's business model in local co-operatives. The women are harvesting the shea nuts and learning how to produce the incredible raw shea butter that has become the face of Eu'Genia Shea.

*This is a sponsored post.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

I am so excited for the upcoming holiday season! If you are anything like me, you began bargain hunting for this holiday season on December 26th. I can't help it... I love a good deal!

But as my children are getting older - especially the 7 year old! Buying gifts in advance can be tricky. Now she knows what she wants and makes her own wish-list. So I have been holding out to see what she thinks will make her holiday merry and bright!

This year I will be focusing on all kinds of gifts - for kids, adults, friends, and family. I am hoping you will share some of your fabulous gift ideas with me, too!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Win a Todd English Touch Screen Air Fryer

Phoenix Trading Company is the company all moms have been dreaming of.  One stop shopping on designer items at discount prices! They specialize in plus size clothing, but also have a fantastic selection of home goods and kitchen appliances. Their choices are fantastic... and their prices are even better!

Here is a little bit about Phoenix Trading Company:
First, we’re not in Phoenix, Arizona. Never have been (we’re in Boston). Our name refers to the mythical bird, the Phoenix, which is reborn to soar again. Our clothes and other products are sort of like that. We buy large volumes of out-of-season, overstock and clearance designer merchandise from national retailers and TV shopping channels, then pass the savings to you—on average offering our goods at 60% below retail. And by the way, the pictures of shoes and clothing you see on our site are the actual items that you’ll get in the mail. Nothing photo-shopped here.

People seem to like us. We started in 2001 in 700 square feet subleased from a machine shop, and have grown to be one of eBay’s top three women’s clothing sellers. We’re also an eBay top-rated plus seller. Not that we’re bragging. It’s just true.

There is something we’re kind of proud of, though: A third of our workforce are people who are housebound, either through physical disabilities or childcare responsibilities, and who would otherwise not be able to have a job. And honestly, we couldn’t function without them.

So, that’s us in a nutshell. Phoenix Trading Company, bringing you style and savings at the click of a mouse.

I had the opportunity to check out one of the great kitchen appliances that they have to offer, an air fryer.

I was really excited about this because my family really enjoys fried foods, but we don't indulge in them that often because of all the oil typically used to cook them. This air fryer provided us with a healthier way of preparing fried foods, while still getting that great crispy texture that we just can't seem to get in the oven. And it's super easy to use and clean up.

All we had to do was put the basket in the bottom of the fryer, add a small amount of oil, pop it in at the proper temperature for the instructed amount of time (in this case it was 15 minutes)... and voila! Crispy fries cooked to perfection!

My entire family is a fan of this fun kitchen appliance. We have made all kinds of trasty foods, like fried zucchini sticks, mozzarella sticks, and lots of french fries. 

Phoenix Trading Company is giving you the opportunity to win your very own Todd English Touch Screen Air Fryer! This prize will make the perfect addition to your kitchen - saving you calories, time and mess!

Learn more about Phoenix Trading Company by following them on Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest!
Social Media Links:
Facebook -
Tumblr -
Pinterest -

This prize pack includes:
- Air Fryer Housing
- Removable Heating Chamber
- Fry Basket
- Steam/Meat Rack
- Baking Pan
- One Carbon Filter
- Instruction / Recipe Booklet

*I received an item for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting - on DVD Today!

"Adventures in Babysitting," inspired by the hugely popular 1980s film of the same name, is an upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie starring Sabrina Carpenter (of Disney Channel's hit comedy series "Girl Meets World") and Sofia Carson (of the hit Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants").  In "Adventures in Babysitting," a dull evening for two competing babysitters, Jenny (Sabrina Carpenter) and Lola (Sofia Carson), turns into an adventure in the big city as they hunt for one of the kids who somehow snuck away.

My Thoughts:
As a child of the 80's, Adventures in Babysitting was one of my all time favorite movies.  So when I heard that Disney Channel was making an original movie inspired my childhood favorite... I was excited! This was going to be a great opportunity to see a fun new movie and share it with my seven year old daughter... who just happens to be a huge Girl Meets World and Descendants fan.

We sat down one night with popcorn and this movie for a fun girls night in. I loved how the new movie mirrored some of my favorite parts of the 80's hit. For example: the amazing clip above of the Babysitter's Rap that just brought me back to Chris Parker's fabulous rendition of Babysitting Blues, the towing company sporting the same name, and more! Jenny and Lola kept us engaged throughout this crazy adventure.  While the girls are very different, they have one thing in common - they need to find the kid and get all of the kids back home! But it's not as easy as it sounds. And quickly enough they realize that working together is their only hope.

This was a very fun movie night for me and my daughter. We laughed a lot, and my daughter has been asking to see it again! I would say that's a big win for the Disney Channel!

Download Adventures In Babysitting Activities

* I received a copy of this movie free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influence by anyone.