Help Baby Fall Asleep Faster with the Zen Swaddle by Nested Bean

I recently became a proud auntie... again. It seems like there's babies or pregnant bellies everywhere I look lately and holding the teeny tiny Alanna the other day made my ovaries scream for another itty bitty of my own to snuggle. We'll have a talk later, my ovaries and I, about how there will be none of those shenanigans anytime soon. For the moment, though, I was happy to snuggle and love on her. She has that sweet newborn smell and kept trying to taste my shoulders... *sigh*

She's three weeks old now, and her poor mama has had a hard time with her. There's been lots of discomfort and adjustment to being out of the womb; belly troubles and twitches have made sleeping something that no one in their house is getting. Even while I was holding her, she started this pitiful cry that seemed like nothing would calm. 

I had received a complimentary Zen Swaddle from Nested Bean to review that I figured I would try out on her. She's one of those babies that is fairly content as long as she's being carried around, and so far she only seems to sleep if she's being held. Of course, there's nothing sweeter than loving a sweet snuggly sleeping baby in your arms... until you have to pee. Or if you want some sleep yourself.

Anyway, she let me slip her into the Zen Swaddle and calmed right down when I fastened her into it. She didn't seem to like having her arms by her side and quickly worked one of them up so she could bring her hand to her little mouth. Otherwise, she loved it. 

You're probably wondering what makes this swaddle different than any other swaddle out there, right? Well, this one is weighted. There are special areas of the Zen Swaddle that are lightly weighted to feel like a gentle touch: making baby feel as if she's being held, even when you set her down to sleep. 

At birth all babies have a nervous system that is still developing. One sign of their developing nervous system is that until 4 - 6 months of age infants startle easily as they experience a whole new world of sensations that was absent in the womb. - Moro Reflex: What is it and How Can Swaddling Help?

The Zen Swaddle is specially designed to ensure that baby's hips are not restricted, which can cause hip dysplasia. Their 2 sizes in 1 design can be used from 0 – 6 months, twice as long as regular swaddles, and baby can be swaddled with their arms in or out. 

Features:
• Wide wings to wrap baby in a secure baby burrito
• Strong velcro strips keep swaddle secure
• Shorter pocket on the inside keeps legs snug during earlier weeks.
• Larger sack grows with your baby up to 6 months.
• Weighted areas on both sides and top of baby create an embrace second only to Mom's.

My sister-in-law called me to let me know how much she loves the Zen Swaddle. Not only did it help Alanna's Moro Reflexes from startling her awake, she slept snugly and calmly for several hours in a stretch last night. At three weeks, I wouldn't expect her to sleep all night yet, but if her little belly hadn't woken her up for her bottle I have a feeling she might have. They plan on using the swaddle for a couple more months since their baby girl was so calm and content in it. 


You can find the Zen Swaddle Classic (the one Alanna's wearing up there) on Nested Bean's website for $29.99. They also offer a Premier version, as well as Sleep Sacks. Be sure to check them out, as Moms who’ve used it are reporting that their babies fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer within 1 to 3 nights!

The Biggest Problems You Can Encounter When Moving Home And How You Can Resolve Them

They say moving house is stressful. But many people would think that the buying and selling process is the most stressful part. The placing and accepting financial offers. Finding a place you want to move to. But I also think the actual move is just as difficult to overcome. Sure, things can go smoothly. But sometimes you encounter big problems and worry about not resolving them in time or to a good solution. It happens. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some of the biggest things you can encounter when moving home and how you can get some resolve. I hope they help you in the future.

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When you are moving across the country

Moving is never easy anyway. But somehow I think it is a little harder when you are moving across the country. Perhaps to a different city or state. It’s a daunting prospect anyway, without incurring problems. But with a big move like this comes issues that sometimes can’t be helped. To make sure things go smooth it's essential to get in touch with good cross country moving companies. These people know what they are talking about and can take some of the stress out of moving. So relax and focus on the job in hand.

When you're packing has been left to the last minute

Oh no! Move date is getting closer, and you don’t even know where to start with your packing. Don’t panic. You won’t be the only person who has left this till the last minute. While it may feel like an overwhelming task, with a little organization you can get things packed up in no time at all. Take a moment to take stock of your situation. Write a list and prioritize. A great tip would be to rope in the help of friends and family. More hands make lighter work. You just need to take that decision to start, once you do the rest will follow.

Helpers not showing up

You think you are all organized, but then at the last moment those helpers you were relying on back out. While it is a situation that can’t be helped you just need to take control. Your move will happen. Be it you get some other people to help out, or you get in touch with a removal company. The best thing you can do is not to panic about the situation.

Not packing essentials that are easily accessible

The last thing you want to do is turn up to your new home and not even be able to make yourself a drink. But many people forget to pack a box that you can get unpacked straight away. These tend to include essentials that will see you through for the day. So a kettle and a toaster would be recommended. You could also pack in there things like painkillers, tea, and coffee. Even spare clothes and plasters. Whatever you think you may need for that first 24 hours, pack it in an easily accessible box.


I hope the advice helps you if you find yourself in any of those situations when moving home.

How to Get Ready for a Date (In 30 Minutes or Less)

I'm thrilled to be partnering with Schick Intuition to bring you this post as a #SchickAmbassador. This post is sponsored.

My hubby has been working out of town lately, usually gone for a few weeks at a time. A few days ago, he called me - he was 30 minutes from home and wanted to take me out when he got in. 

*Begin panic mode*

I mean, this was 7:00 at night, I was still rocking my PJs and hadnt showered yet, and the kids were just starting to get settled down for bed. I could've told him no, but the truth was - I wanted to go out. A night away from the kids, and with my man that I hadn't seen in weeks? It sounded amazing!

The only problem? That left me with thirty minutes to get ready to go out on a date. Impossible, right? Not when you're a mom that's used to doing everything at break-neck speed!


Here's how a hectic mom gets ready for a date in 30 minutes or less:


Step One - Find a Babysitter

Ok, so my kids can be rotten. It's hard for me to deal with them on a day to day basis, but for some reason, everyone else thinks they're angels. It's that Mom-Kid Paradox: The further from mom, the better the kid. I won't try to explain my theories on this right now, but believe me, it's true.

Anyway, a quick phone call to my niece, and the promise of delivered pizza, usually gets me 3-4 hours of last minute babysitting. If you don't have an awesome niece or nephew willing to keep your kids, grandparents and aunts also make great emergency sitters - just don't abuse the kindness.

Step Two - The Fastest Shower Ever

Now that the kids are taken care of, it's time to shower. I have a couple tricks to making my showers under ten minutes because there's only so much peek-a-boo with the shower curtain I can handle before giving up. 

• Two-in-one shampoo & conditioner
• Body wash 
• Wash face while rinsing body
• Use Schick Intuition for shaving 
        (I received a complementary razor in order to try it out for myself and let you guys know how great it is. All opinions are my own)

Why Schick Intuition? Because it's a razor and lather all in one. The unique 2-in-1 razor is the easiest (and fastest) way to get that smooth, silky shave that leaves your legs totally touchable. It's even enhanced with Coconut Milk and Almond Oil to help moisturize dry skin during shaving!


The unique Skin Conditioning Solid creates its own light lather when it's wet, letting the razor glide easily over your skin - meaning noticeably softer skin after each shave. It has four blades to make sure it gets every bit of stubble on your legs and the head pivots to the contours of your legs. 

For moms who are looking for a simple shave solution at home or even while traveling, I always stress that they stay away from "dry shaving." The Schick Intuition 2-in-1 razor has the shave cream right on the razor to provide a comfortable shave, so it's the perfect tool for moms on the go! It's a simple and fast way to acieve smooth, beautiful legs at home or on vacation! -  Dr. Annie Chiu, Schick Partner Dermatologist

Schick Intuition and refills are available at mass retailers, drug and grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $13.49. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SchickIntuition.

 Step 3 - Hair & Makeup

The hubby's only about ten minutes away at this point and I've thrown on a simple but flattering outfit (you know the little black dress you have hanging in your closet? Perfect!) Now I've gotta throw my face and hair together so I don't look like I was totally bumming it all day long.

Hair's still wet from my shower, so instead of taking the time to blow-dry and style it (clock is ticking) I brush it smooth and put it into a simple low bun at the nape of my neck. It's an elegant look that doesn't take any time at all.

For my makeup, a light layer of foundation to smooth my skin out, simple black eyeliner, and some natural colored lipgloss and I'm ready to go!

What are your favorite tips for getting ready in a hurry?

24 Innovative Baby Products You Didn't Know You Wanted

The baby gear market is full of strange and unnecessary items that parents think they need but really, it's all just clever marketing. I'm talking about those things you'll probably only use them once and then put it on a shelf for the next naïve pregnant woman you come across. 

There are so many baby and kid products that make me stop and say, “Why is this even a thing!?” and “Are there really people spending money on this?”

But then I'll come across some serious creativity — from techy inventions to simple “I wish I thought of that!” ideas.  Everything on this list is one of those products, the ones that have made me stop and think, “Wow, that's awesome.”

24 Innovative Baby Products You Didn't Know You Wanted


1. HALO Bassinest Bed Side Sleeper

Halo Bassinest Bed Side Baby Sleeper

For parents that want the peace-of-mind that comes with co-sleeping, but without the dangers of having a baby in your bed, there's the Bassinest bedside baby sleeper that keeps baby just an arms-length away all night. 
Features
•360 degree swivel
•Retractable side walls with lock
•2 Generous storage pockets
•Soothing Center with 3 Lullabies, 3 Soothing Sounds, 2 levels of vibration, night light and nursing timer

Halo BassiNest Swivel Sleeper - $249.99, Available at Amazon

2. Owlet Baby Vitals Monitor


The Owlet uses the same technology that hospitals use, pulse oximetry, to monitor baby's vitals. The wireless Smart Sock fits snug on your baby’s foot and monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep, effectively helping reduce chances of SIDS.

Features:
• Smart Sock Kit (sizes one through three)
• Sock Electronics
• Base Station and corresponding charging cords
• Exclusive access to the Owlet app

Owlet Baby Vitals Monitor - $249.99, Available at Owletcare.com

3. BabyNes Formula System


The BabyNes dispenser combines exclusive technology with intuitive design to guarantee fast and accurate bottle preparation at the ideal temperature. The Wifi-enabled smart system effortlessly anticipates your orders and helps you manage your child nutrition.

Features:
• Automatic recognition of the capsule for a perfectly measured bottled
• Temperature selection
• Automatic calculation of the proper quantity of water, for a lump-free bottle
• Wifi-enabled features provide real-time consumption information, automatic capsule reordering, and feeding alerts.
• Includes the BabyNes capsule opener, for when you're on the go.

The BabyNes System - $249.00, Available at BabyNes.com

4. The Baby Shusher

The Baby Shusher is a revolutionary new tool for parents using an ancient but doctor-tested technique to help soothe your fussy baby. The Baby Shusher breaks a baby’s crying spell by engaging his or her natural calming reflex. The rhythmic shush reminds the baby of being inside the womb, where there is a constant inundation of loud sounds from blood flow and other in utero noises (up to 95 dBs, or the sound of a very loud vacuum cleaner). These sounds, which may initially seem harsh, are actually very calming to a baby.

Features:
• Quickly soothes fussy baby with rhythmic “shush” sound
• Timing options – 15 or 30 minutes with and user controlled volume
• Good for newborns and up
• Makes a great gift

Baby Shusher - $34.99, Available at BabyShusher.com

5. Woombie Air®


The Woombie Air is light, breathable and probably the easiest swaddle on the market. One step swaddling is easily accomplished using the patented design with a multi-dimensional stretch and zipper to prevent unraveling throughout the night. The four-season vented design allows the perfect airflow. Dress baby accordingly underneath. 

Features:
• Perfect for ALL SEASONS! (dress baby accordingly underneath per season)
• Vented front offers improved air flow
• Safer than over wrapping with blanket (over wrapping can lead to overheating)
• Easy to use
• Certain colors are Limited Edition & will vary per seasons

Woombie Air - $24.99, Available at Woombie.com

6. Cocoon™ - The Complete High Chair


Inspired by the butterfly, the Cocoon™ transforms from a comfortable recliner to an early feeding chair with its unique and ergonomically designed Food & Cup Holder. Cocoon™ also comes complete with adjustable height and recline positions, easy clean foam seat, stow away tray feature and foldable design – a full set of features for the most complete high chair you can find.

Features:
• Three Recline Positions to maximize comfort for your child at different stages of feeding
• Comfort Foam Pad that is comfortable, waterproof, and easy to clean
• Food & Cup Holder holds a cup or bottle and a bowl, and attaches to either side of the high chair for easier feeding
• Magnetic Staw-Away Tray for easier storage
• Foldable Design
• Six Height Adjustments

Cocoon™ Complete High Chair - $199.00, available at loveoribel.com

7. ZIPaboo

ZIPaboo is a genius baby sleeper idea, with a strategically placed zipper that starts at the base of one leg, circles the belly and moves back down the opposite leg; allowing for a quick and easy diaper change at any time! Picture how much easier those 2am diaper changes would be if you could easily change them without waking them!

Features:
• Made from Peruvian Pima cotton
• Effortless diaper changes
• 5 adorable designs

ZIPaboo - $36, available at ZIPaboo.com

8. Why Cry

This high-tech baby monitor teaches parents to distinguish the different types of cries of their baby using advanced frequency analysis technology. When the baby cries, the Why Cry analyzes the frequency and then determines whether the child is stressed, sleepy, annoyed, bored or hungry. The baby's mood is displayed on the LCD screen.

Why Cry Mini - $85.99, available on Amazon

9. DockATot™

The Dockatot™ Deluxe offers a safe and comfy spot for baby to rest, lounge, play, cuddle, do tummy time and get diaper changes. Lightweight and portable, the Dockatot allows for easy travel. Additional covers are available for purchase to match your mood, room, and style. 

Features:
• Breathable, washable and hypoallergenic materials
• Rounded bumper helps to prop up your baby when placed under their arms, encouraging "tummy time"
• Reduces risk of flat-head syndrome
• Reduces startle reflex

DockATot™ Deluxe - $165.00, Available at dockatot.com (Use this link for $10 off!)

10. Baby Bath Bonnet


Seen as useless as some, I know that this would be amazing to have for my kiddos. No more bath-time tears? I'm in! Basically, this silicone bonnet keeps water out of your baby's eyes for easier hair washing.

Baby Shower Cap - $4.18, available at Amazon.


What to Do in Chattanooga with Children

This past weekend, I brought the little guys on our very first family vacation. Until writing this, I didn't even realize that, but it's true. Other than little day trips to places like Six Flags over Georgia or Lake Winnie, we had never spent more than a few hours away from home at a time.

Chattanooga. Tucked away in the mountains of southern Tennessee, the Scenic City has always been one of my favorite destinations. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, it's one of those kid-friendly places that allows for a slower-paced vacation. With two preschoolers, that slower pace is a must and we had a blast in the two days we visited. I want to share with you guys my five favorite things to do in Chattanooga with kids.


Things to do in Chattanooga with Small Children

Creative Discovery Museum

Located in downtown Chattanooga off of exit 1C from I24, the Creative Discovery Museum is right at the corner of 4th Street and Chestnut. It was really easy to get to without GPS (my phone's navigation wasn't cooperating with me and I didn't want to mess with it while driving) and the road signs from the interstate made it simple enough to find without any kind of a headache. That's one thing I love about Chattanooga - getting around is easy enough with road signs and billboards that you don't have to waste time checking out a map or listening to a GPS, so you can actually pay attention to the scenery and enjoy the beauty.






Back to the Creative Discovery Museum, though. We were provided with complimentary tickets to bring the little guys to check it out, and I can say without bias that this is the best place in Chattanooga to bring kids of any age. 

The Creative Discovery Museum is a hands-on children's museum packed full of interesting things to learn and do. It's so cool!

The fun starts before you even enter the doors. Outside the entrance is a huge interactive display where kids can enclose themselves inside a bubble! Sammy and Kaya thought this was the best thing ever; they've always talked about how much they would love to be in a bubble on summer days when they're playing outside with their wands and soap suds. 

When you enter the Museum, you meet a line that forks - to the left is the express lane for those who have purchased tickets online or in advance, the right leads you to the ticket counter. All children under the age of 12 must have an adult with them at all times. Any adults visiting without children must leave photo identification at the front desk to ensure the safety of children. I love that the Creative Discovery Museum has a lot of safety features to make sure your little ones can play and learn safely.

Now, you can't bring any food or drink into the museum, but there is a small on-site cafe, Café Dino-Mite, that has everything from full-size meals to quick snacks on the go to make sure your little guys stay happy. 

As you enter the museum, you walk through the RiverPlay exhibit. Signs everywhere indicate that it's a "Splash Zone" - meaning that your kids will probably get wet. If your little one(s) are interested in learning how rivers work, or just like splashing in water - this is definitely going to be one of their favorites. Tip: Bring an extra set of clothes, just in case! 

I think my favorite part of the whole museum was the Excavation Station. The entire exhibit sits behind a life-size T-Rex and features everything paleontology-related from live critters like a tarantula and cockroaches to rocks. There's a huge sandpit to dig and "excavate" in for exploration, and various stations where kids can learn all about insects. 

Kids can dress like a paleontologist, dig for bones, check out the rock gallery, and even crawl through a soil wall tunnel to learn all about the creatures that live under the earth's surface. 

With lots to see and touch in the Excavation Station, the kids are sure to discover all kinds of things about the world and the animals that roam (and roamed) Earth. 




Several more exhibits fill the Creative Discovery Museum, like the Corner Clinic where kids can learn what it's like being a doctor or nurse in a play-hospital setting; the Performing Arts gallery where kids can completely run a theater from the stage to the sound and light board, a puppet theater, all kinds of musical instruments to try out - even a mini recording studio where they can play instruments and learn how to control different soundboard settings like reverb and volume. 


Do your kids like Sid the Science Kid? Sammy and Kaya both watch Sid all the time, and love learning anything that he wants to teach them. Well, until Sunday, September 11 there is a new exhibit featuring Sid - Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! 


The exhibit encourages kids to think, talk, and work the way scientists do by building on children's natural curiosity about the world. Guests can learn many lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through interactive exhibits that explore the concepts of simple machines, friction, inertia, and more!

Certain scenes from the show are set up around the Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! and kids feel like they are right inside Sid’s world.


Kids can explore and learn the Sid the Science Kid way!

There's so much more to see and do at the Creative Discovery Museum. Learn more and plan your visit at cdmfun.org. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!



Chattanooga Zoo

For the animal lovers, the Chattanooga Zoo is always a huge hit. With 13 acres of zoo, and 860 animals, your little ones are sure to see all the animals they love.


With over 300 animals representing 130 different species, many of which are endangered, the Chattanooga Zoo creates meaningful connections between people and animals. They do this by providing education and resources for their community.

It's a zoo that's specifically designed to bring the animals up close to you.

Imagine a zoo where you have time to notice the subtleties of animal behavior, instead of being pushed along by an impatient crowd. Imagine an exciting and diverse zoo that's still easy to navigate with strollers....or little legs. Imagine a zoo that provides worthwhile fun at a price that won't break the bank!

Add this must-visit attraction to your itinerary and see why everyone is calling the AZA-accredited Chattanooga Zoo “the Best Little Zoo in America”. About two miles from downtown Chattanooga, and only $8.95 for adults and $5.95 for children, the Chattanooga Zoo is definitely worth checking out.

The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. To find out more, visit www.chattzoo.org.

Ruby Falls

Located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN, Ruby Falls is one of the Southeast's must-see attractions. If you live in western North Carolina or eastern Tennessee, you've probably seen the billboards - See Ruby Falls. I've noticed them since I was a little kid, but this is the first time I've ever visited Ruby Falls and I am so glad I was able to bring the kids along to experience it, too - thanks to some complimentary tickets!

The Ruby Falls experience is one of those magical adventures, especially for little ones. It begins with your drive up Lookout Mountain, one of the nation's most scenic and historic mountains. As you make a turn along the mountain road, you see a large castle located on the side of the mountain. Named “Cavern Castle,” it is the entrance to Ruby Falls and is deemed “the world's grandest cave entrance”. Constructed out of limestone rock excavated from the cave, Cavern Castle is a replica of a 15th century Irish Castle.

When we arrived, there were a few people milling about in the lobby and gift shop, but it wasn't too busy. Tip: Avoid heavy crowds and long lines by visiting Ruby Falls early in the morning. We got there about 10am; they open at 8am. By the time we exited the cave, there was a really long line.

From inside the Castle, you head to the ticket counter to receive your tickets and then get in line for the elevator. The glass elevator doors gave us a clear view of the rock walls as we descended 600 ft below the surface. Once we got to the bottom, we were greeted by a tour guide who gave us a brief history lesson about Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain, had our picture taken, and began the underground hike to see some pretty awesome rock formations on our way to the waterfall.


A few of the formations were really cool - the Elephant's Foot and the Donkey really looked like their names and it's amazing how they were naturally formed into those shapes. I think my favorite was the "Steak and Potatoes": check it out. It looks just like a plate of food!


It took about an hour to walk to the waterfall. Tip: Wear comfortable shoes. It was also pretty chilly down there so if you get cold easily or if you have little ones with you, I would suggest a long sleeved shirt or a light jacket. There were a few moms with children on our hike; it's pretty slow-paced so it was easy for little ones to keep up. If you have a carrying-sized baby, I would recommend a baby carrier.

The walk back only took about 30 minutes as opposed to the long walk there. Once you've seen the Falls, you're considered a "survivor" and when your group meets other groups on the way back, they move to the side and let you pass. 

It was definitely an adventure that my kiddos are going to be talking about for a long time. They loved the idea of going into a castle and exploring a cave, and they learned so much about the different types of rocks and the history of Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain.

You can plan your Ruby Falls adventure, and learn more about it on their site: RubyFalls.com. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter


This was probably the most fun we've ever had on a weekend as a family. Now that my little guys are getting older, I do believe this is just one of many family adventures to come. We found coupons and enough information to plan our entire Chattanooga vacation at chattanoogafun.com. If you're looking for a fun family vacation, definitely keep Chattanooga in mind!

Grilled Summer Fruit Kebabs

This sponsored post contains affiliate links.
Use code MP203 for $20 off a Master Pan

What do you get when you mix summer heat, a sweet tooth, and mom guilt? Grilled Summer Fruit Kebabs! Keep reading to see how we came up with the recipe and learn all about a nifty new kitchen gadget that makes life so much easier.


I've been extremely irritable lately. I don't know if it's because it's summer and I have both little guys home and underfoot all day long, or if it's trying to take care of everything myself since the hubby is working out of town. Maybe it's a combination of everything, plus the heat. Whatever the cause - I find myself yelling more and just stressed out all the time. 

I know it's been rough on the kids - what with the extra time spent indoors and the boredom. Add in a mom who's on the verge of a meltdown, and a dash of missing their daddy... They needed some kind of special treat to help make up for it.

So today we went to the grocery store and I let them help me come up with an idea for a special dessert to make tonight. Kaya, my fruit-lover, picked out some strawberries and pineapples, while Sammy, the little man after my own heart, decided we needed something with cake. So what do you get when you put together summer fruits, pound cake, and weather too hot to turn the oven on? Grilled Fruit Kebabs, of course!

I had the opportunity to work with Master Pan recently, so I figured this would be the perfect chance to try it out. I mentioned that Matt is working out of town, right? He's the grill master, so I wouldn't even attempt to go out there and light the burners without him to supervise. The kitchen is my domain!


Usually, I'm not one for fad kitchen gadgets. So many of them are "unitaskers" (stolen from Alton Brown, my chef idol) and they're only good for one thing in the kitchen. I was a little worried about that with the Master Pan, but when I whipped it out of the box I realized the endless possibilities with this pan.

Seriously - as a mom with three picky eaters, I can sometimes make up to three different meals at supper time. Do you know how many pans that dirties up?! I can totally see myself using this pan to make chicken strips for Lexi, a grilled cheese for Sammy and Kaya, and then veggies to help balance the meals out a little. 

Katie over at You Brew My Tea uses hers for Homemade Fajitas and her marinade recipe sounds delicious - I can totally see us using our Master Pan for these too! Making breakfast would be so much easier; being able to cook bacon and sausage at once while making scrambled eggs for the kiddos and Matt's over-easy at the same time. Or burgers, with grilled onions and peppers and mushrooms... I'm telling ya, the possibilities are endless!

Clean up with this pan is so much easier, too, with the XYLAN Plus Dual Layer Non-Stick Coating. No need for oil, and virtually no scrubbing when I'm done cooking meals. 5 pans with only one burner? I can do that now.

The Master Pan is even oven safe up to 350° for an hour, so you can go straight from stovetop to oven for melty gooey goodness!

Back to the recipe, though. These are really easy to make. I just cubed up some pineapples, strawberries, peaches, and pound cake. I love the grill marks on the cake, so I grilled them up in the center of the pan, with the fruits on the outer edges to start softening a little to bring out that delicious sweetness. 

Once the cake cubes had grill marks and was pretty much toasted, I stuck a skewer through and began building the fruit kebabs. After they were assembled, I set them back in the center for about 5 more minutes, turning once halfway through.

Now, you could certainly use your own homemade chocolate sauce, but I just used some jarred hot fudge syrup in the smallest section. It heated the chocolate up nicely without scorching or sticking, and added the extra YUM factor to the kebabs!

Be sure to pin the recipe for later, and check out the exclusive offer I get to share with you guys below!



Visit the Master Pan website to order one for your kitchen! I promise: it'll quickly become a staple on your stove, too. 
Regular Price: $69.99 
Coupon: $20.00 off – Use Code: MP203
Final Price for my readers: $49.99

Portaplay™ Convertible Activity Center by Oribel Review


Oh my goodness, guys. It's full-blown summer over here, which means I have three kids home all day long. Wouldn't be too bad, but my other half accepted an out of town job that may mean up to two months away - so I'm soloing it.

Ya know, I'm not super mom. Heck, half the time I feel like packing them in a little box and shipping them off somewhere. I'm not cruel; I'd at least poke some air holes! Joking aside, the only way I'm going to survive this summer without totally losing it is by keeping the kids busy. Luckily, we had the chance to work with Oribel to review their Portaplay table, and it has been a lifesaver. Or sanity-saver.


I'll be sharing a couple of other products, games, and activities that are totally helping keep the preschoolers busy, but this one is on the top of my charts right now.

First of all, this is so much more than just a table. The Portaplay is a complete activity center for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Check this out:




Neat, right? 

So here's the deal. It's a bouncy seat with all these little attachments, but it also converts into a play table with a wooden top. The table can then be used as a little picnic table or writing desk - or you can get the paper roll attachment and stools to turn it into a mini art studio for your little ones!


I'm not really able to show off the baby seat/activity center being tested, since I don't have a little one running around that would fit in there right now, but I do want to highlight the paper art roll and the stools for a minute. This has been the best quiet-time activity for my preschoolers (the 10 year old too!)



I really like that the height adjusts, so even my long-legged little munchkins fit under the table comfortably. 

The Portaplay Child Stools have a large seat and sturdy legs and the kids love using them even away from the table to sit on. 
Make the conversion from our Portaplay™ Activity Center to a Play Table even more exciting with matching stools for your little ones. Sturdy and lightweight, these stools are designed to be just the right height for children up to 5 years of age.
The stools come in a set of two, great for us since my two little ones always argue if they don't both have the same thing. 

The Portaplay Paper Roll Dispenser comes preloaded with a 12 inch wide, 75 foot roll of white drawing paper - perfect for hours of quiet drawing and creativity.



Features:
Removable Baby Seat with 3" Bounce with machine washable cover
5 Removable Toys that easily clip on
Folds flat for easy storage
Table insert
2 Child Stools - sold separately
Paper Roll holder with 75" of 12" premium drawing paper - sold separately

The Portaplay™ Convertible Activity Center is available at Oribel­® for $149.00
Child Stools are sold separately for $39.90 and the Art Paper Roll Dispenser is $29.90

This is definitely a set I would recommend to any parents because gear that grows with your child is always the best kind. 

Enspire™ by Enfamil®: Enfamil’s Closest Formula Yet!

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I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395 or through the Contact Us link at Enfamil.com.

There are so many pregnant bellies in my family right now: my sister-in-law, my niece, my step-daughter’s mom – and I know every one of them plan to breastfeed. After all, the nutritional benefits of breast milk can’t be found in a formula.  Or can they?


If breastfeeding isn’t in the cards for you and your babies, you should know that they can still get the nutrition they need with new Enspire™ by Enfamil®, their closest formula to breast milk. After comprehensive breast milk studies, Enfamil had information on some of the remarkable components found in breast milk, such as MFGM to help foster brain development, Lactoferrin to help support the immune system, and brain-nourishing DHA – helping close the compositional gap between formula and breast milk.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn all about Enspire™, because my first little one drank Enfamil® with great results. With an advancement like this, our babies can get other components from a formula, that until now,  were primarily available from breast milk.
 

It’s comforting to know that even if we, as moms, decide not to breastfeed, our babies can still get the nutrition they need from a formula. That little extra cost is worth the peace of mind.

Enspire™ by Enfamil® is available at local grocers, Target and on Amazon.com. Enspire Family Beginnings by Enfamil provides samples, offers and content focused on mom’s stage and baby’s age. They also offer dedicated experts to ask questions about Enspire™, or you and your baby.

Visit EnspireFormula.com or call 1-888-777-3395 to talk to a dedicated Enspire™ Expert. 


Derma MD Skincare Review

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Derma MD Skincare.

30. It's that scary age that all women seem to dread like it's the apocalypse and here I am, slowly approaching it. I found my first gray hair a couple weeks ago, and when I look in the mirror I no longer see the young vibrant woman I used to see. Instead, there's some tired, starting-to-wrinkle, middle-aged woman staring back at me. Years of stress and parenthood are starting to catch up with me, and my face is definitely showing it.

I had the opportunity to work with Derma MD Skincare - a company that researches, develops, and provides products "that will show RESULTS using the newest, most advanced ingredients and incorporating these specific ingredients at the highest percentages and most effective concentration levels available in the industry." Each of their products specifically focus on target areas where they are needed to correct specific problems and give optimal results

Derma MD Skincare's MIDLIFT¹¹
Derma MD's New MIDLIFT¹¹, combined with their new Vitamin C-21, will increase hydration, lighten, tighten and lift the delicate skin of the neck and dècolletè.  Used daily the appearance of crepiness, lines, and wrinkles will be reduced and skin will appear firmer, more luminous, lifted and hydrated. This throat and neck creme improves the look of your neck skin, something most people forget about in their beauty routine!


They also sent me their Glamur LIP Plump in Peach Bellini


I've always wanted to try a lip plumper, because my full plump lips of yesteryears have thinned out recently - especially my top lip. Peptide and vitamin A palmitate help to increase collagen levels, while vitamin B3 provides instant gratification plumping. Glamur lip plumper exfoliates and conditions the sensitive skin of your lips as it moisturizes and protects them all day long.  Your lips look fuller instantly, and apparently over time that appearance will become reality. 

But does it really work?

About a minute after applying it, my lips started tingling. Almost a burning sensation, but it didn't hurt. I could feel them getting plumper and fuller, and definitely noticed a difference. 


The key ingredients listed on the little pamphlet that came in the box include:
• Hyaluronic Acid Micro Spheres to visibly fill & boost lip volume
• Tri-Peptide 1 to promote new collagen
• Retinyl Palmitate to visibly improve the look of fine lines
• Benzyl Nicotinate (niacin) to increase hydration and is a stimulant
• Camphor for soothing
• Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E) - an antioxidant that moisturizes and protects


I also received a sample of Pink Silk Face Firming Rejuvenator. Made with caviar as well as astaxanthin, red algae found primarily in Hawaiian waters, it decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving your skin's texture and providing a more luminous appearance. 



The "silk" in the name is fairly accurate - this serum glides on your skin like silk and makes my skin feel so soft. I've been using it for about a week now, 2x a day as recommended, and have seen a little bit of a difference in the fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead. The biggest difference has been the feel of my skin, though. My face has been so much smoother and softer, almost like I've gotten some of my youth back.


Check out Derma MD Skincare for yourself, and get some of your youth back!