Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nature's Basin Erbaviva Jasmine Grapefruit Deodorant Review & Giveaway

I was recently asked to review organic beauty products from the website Nature's Basin.  Their website is filled with organic and all natural body products for moms and babies.

The site is easy to navigate and to quickly find whatever product you are looking for.  They have everything from makeup to children's tooth gel and everything in between including aromatherapy, makeup removers, hair shampoos, styling products, body washes, sunscreens, nursing tea, and baby lotions. 

They had asked me to review the Erbaviva Jasmine Grapefruit Deodorant.  Even though there are some organic or all natural products I use, deodorant has never been one of them.  I have always wanted to try them but I was always hesitant since I was never sure if they would work as well as they claimed to.

There is NO aluminum or pore clogging chemicals in the Erbavia deodorant.  It contains alcohol, grapefruit peel oil, cypress oil, ginger root extract, jasmine flower oil, sage oil, and other natural ingredients.

The one day I used my regular deodorant under one arm and the Erbaviva under my other arm.  I was smart enough to not put it on directly after shaving since it is largely alcohol based.  It had a strong grapefruit scent when I first applied it but the scent lightened within a few minutes and it had a distinctly feminine scent.

I was pleasantly suprised that it worked just as well if not better than my regular deodarant.  My underarm with the Erbaviva was actually drier to. It also did not stain my clothes which I had been a little worried about.  I definitely plan to continue using it.

I like that Nature's Basin has a large number of products available on their website from several different  popular brands such as Badger, Christopher Drummond, and Weleda.  Finding natural beauty products is not always easy.

They also offer guarantees that not all online retailers offer and are so committed to customer service that they went above and beyond for a customer whose order was for her mom who she couldn't be with for Mother's Day.  The owner of Nature's Basin (a mom herself) went and bought pretty brocade material to wrap the products before they mailed them to the woman's mom.  I thought that was a sweet and thoughtful thing to do.

They offer free shipping on any purchase over $45 and with every purchase you recieve 2-5 free samples of other products.  Nature's Basin also offers a lowest price guarantee.  According to their website, "If you find a lower price online for a product within 30-days of its purchase, we will refund the difference to you."  They also offer a 90-day full refund if you are unsatisfied for any reason.

Want to try Nature's Basin and their products out for yourself? 

 Erbaviva Jasmine & Grapefruit Organic Deodorant Giveaway

MANDATORY ENTRY (If you do not complete this entry all other entries will be void): Visit Nature's Basin and leave a comment here about what product you would like to try (1 entry)

To receive additional entries:
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*Tweet (maximum of once daily) about this giveaway
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This giveaway will end on Wednesday, July 14, 2010. I will announce the winner on July 15th here at The Practical Mom Guide. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck and thanks for participating!

*Contest only open to U.S. residents.
*I was provided with a bottle of Erbaviva Jasmine and Grapefruit Organic Deodorant in order to facilitate an accurate and fair review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Heard That

Recently my mother-in-law offered to watch both of my daughters so I could get some things done around the house.

I of course jumped at the chance after a few twinges of guilt.  Do you ever feel guilty about needing an extra hand occasionally?  I guess I have a Supermom complex.

At a picnic we once had when our oldest was only one, someone had asked me caustically, "so what DO you do all day?"

She was a mom herself.  Of course it had been awhile since her daughter was little. I remember being taken back by that question since I could account for every minute of my day.

It took me over a minute to respond since I was reeling with shock at the woman's tone.  Also, considering many of the women in my neighborhood are stay-at-home moms.

I have a to-do list that will keep me busy until 2020.

The day my mother-in-law watched the girls:

As I folded laundry downstairs, I could have sworn I heard the youngest crying.

Not possible since she wasn't home.

Then, I thought I heard Emily playing in the living room.

Not possible since she wasn't home.

It turned out it was the cat playing with one of Emily's stray lego blocks.  Normally, our cat hides in the family room away from the girls.  Smart cat.

Then, I thought I heard my daughter's kids music CD playing.  I hadn't even had the tv on.

Not possible since Emily wasn't home to switch the CD player on.

It turns out it was my husband's computer game that he never switched off.

I even went to the grocery store and almost got one of those gigantic, unwieldy car carts.  I stopped myself, thank goodness.  Boy, would that have been a sight...

A grown woman sans kids walking through the grocery store with a car cart would probably have gained some attention.

Even when the girls weren't there, they obviously were still on my mind.  Maybe next time will be easier.  I can only hope so.

By the way, forget the Mommy guilt.  I couldn't believe how much stuff I was able to get done. I had forgotten how much I could get done when I could work uninterrupted.  No toy, potty, or snack breaks for the little ones.

Do you ever hear things when your children are not around?

Friday, June 25, 2010

TPMG Goes to Prom 2010

The Mommyologist has started a Mom Sexy Revolution (which she wants to share with America by getting her own talk show on the Oprah Network).  She is the brainchild behind Mom Sexy Prom 2010.

Want to see my prom pics?

I thought about showing my readers a picture from my prom back in 1995 but decided against it.  There is no way in hell that picture is ever going to see the light of day.

When I walked downstairs in my chic outfit, Emily declared me  a "bee-yoo-ti-ful" Mommy.   Ah, the adoration of the masses.  My husband also commented on how great I looked.

I felt fabulous.  My hours back at the gym have been giving me more energy and I was even feeling better about my post-baby #2 body.

I also had to show off my new shorter do!  This mommy got to visit the hair salon for some pampering. Of course I had to pose with my family for some pre-prom pictures. The flowers are from our hydrangea bush in front of our house. 

Since I'm a mom, "Cute Boy", aka my husband, was my date.

You can't head off to the prom without a full stomach.  We dined alfresco on a gourmet meal from Five Guys.  Mamma wasn't cooking on prom night!  I am going to pay for it tomorrow with an extra two miles on the treadmill but I am guilt-free tonight.  If there is one night to splurge, its prom night. You have to allow yourself one guilty pleasure occasionally, right?

We danced in the grass to "Ring Around The Rosy".  That was the theme song to our prom.Check out the dancing fools!  I am sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on.

The Mom Sexy Prom 2010 was amazing.  Fun was had by all, but most of all mom!

Want to see other moms' prom pics and stories?  Click here.

Also, don't forget to check out The Mommyologist's audition video for her own show on The Oprah Winfrey Network!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Which Puppet Are You?

We all like things that make us smile...

...and for me it is the Fandango puppets.

On Monday, my husband and I went to the movies and left the kids with Grandma.  Of course there was a Fandango commercial at the beginning of the movie. And I smiled...

...and the wheels started to turn.

 This would be a fun summer project.  Not only for the kids, but us adults could join in on the fun.

Facts about the puppets:
  • There are 150 puppets
  • The Creative Director behind these puppets is also the man responsible for the Coca-Cola Bears.
  • The artist who creates the puppets has also worked for the Jim Henson Co.
  • The puppets are crafted using hundreds of objects and each has an interior system that allows for the more realistic movements.
  • The commercials are actually shot on location around Los Angeles.

You can even create your own bag puppet online at Fandango.

What would your puppet look like?


Now grab a small paper bag and odds and ends around the house and get your craft on!   Don't forget to grab your kids to join in on the fun.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Men and Instruction Manuals

Whenever I buy anything that needs to be assembled, I first pull out the instruction manual.  How-tos and step by step instructions (even better if they are accompanied by pictures) are needed.  Mrs. Fix-It I am not. 

Recently, my husband put together our daughter's sand and water table.  When I was cleaning up the cardboard and plastic bags that the various parts came in, I found a little bag with four screws.  When I asked my husband whether they went to the table, he shrugged.  Silly me  asked him if he had consulted the instructions on how to properly put the table together.  He scoffed and replied that the screws obviously weren't necessary since the sand and water table seemed perfectly sturdy without them.

Why do men eschew instruction manuals and directions so much?

Ever wonder how early men's disdain for instruction manuals actually begins?

A few weeks ago, I was watching our friends' son.  He is about 4.  I had a glimpse at how Emily will be in two years.  Sometimes they seem to have a wisdom that belies their age and other times they just make you laugh at their drama over the mundane.

We'll call him Sam.  Sam had pulled out an instruction manual for the Wii and immediately threw it on the ground as though it was on fire when he realized what it was.

He made a face and said, "Blah.  Instruction manuals are for stupid men."

Uh, okay.  My response, "Well, sometimes we need them to make something work."

"Nuh, ah," he replied.  No amount of persuasion could dissuade him of the notion that sometimes we DO need to read an instruction manual.

This makes me wonder if maybe men and their antagonism with instructions is genetic?

What do you think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day With Love

My husband loves to sleep in.  I tried to keep the girls as quiet as possible but their squeals and giggles awoke him around 9 am.

Emily couldn't wait to give her dad hugs and to wish him a Happy Father's Day and present him with the king of all breakfasts: a bagel with cream cheese (which she happpily shared).

She had also painted a photo cube for him and had colored a card.

She also pointed out her Daddy's present-a washer toss game to play outside.  Our house is the kind of home where people gather for picnics, for swim parties, or just to hang out.  The guys always play bocci ball outside.  Now they have another game for their repertoire. He also got cash towards the king of all fish finders (which he now has enough money to buy).  Hopefully, it is in for his next tournament.

We spent Saturday at a local amusement park enjoying some together time.

Panning for fossils, riding rides, and participating in a show, fun was had my all.

If Emily could write a letter about her love for her dad here is what she would say:

Dear Daddy,
I love you so much.  I love your dinosaur hugs.  RWOAR!  I love that you let me get dirty.  I love when we have tickle fights and how you make me laugh.  I love how you let me do canon balls onto your chest (shhh...don't tell Mommy).  And most of all I love you for loving me.  You are the best daddy ever!

When I read this to Emmy and asked her if there were any other reasons she loved her dad, she replied "I love Daddy hugs.  They make me so happy."  Then she wanted me to scroll up so she could see the picture of her with her Daddy.

That says it all, folks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bikinis and an Ice Cream Truck

The other day, my husband and I were sitting outside enjoying our backyard and lamenting the fact that the neighbor whose house is behind our house, cut down his trees.  All of them.  And they weren't dead. At least I don't think they were, but as you know I am not the most observant person at times.

Em was playing in her sand box.

All of a sudden three teenage girls barefoot and in bikinis came racing from one of the houses behind our house.  Laughing, whooping, and running as though they were being chased, they ran directly through our neighbors yard out to the street.

My husband glanced up and went back to what he was doing (fiddling with pool chemicals) as though this was normal for our quiet neighborhood.

I looked at my husband perplexed.

"Uh.  That's not something you see every day.  What did I miss?" I asked.

My husband looked at me. "Didn't you hear the ice cream truck?" he replied.

Oh, so that explains it.

The lure of ice cream on a summer day is to much for anyone to resist.  His tune, like that of the piped piper  attracting kids big and small.

Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, the girls came meandering back through our neighbors yard with their ice cream.

The ice cream truck's tinny melodies heralded in the official start of summer.

Kid Friendly Homemade Gifts and Crafts For Father's Day

I save everything for the last minute usually.  Here are some easy Father's Day crafts you can do with your kids.  There are craft projects suitable for toddlers to teens.




Golf Cover Buddies

World's Greatest Dad Certificate

Dad Socks


Garden Plaques

Dad Clipboard

Apron for Dad and Matching Child's Shirt 

Dad's Desk Organizer

Sports Memo Holder

Coloring Pages

Newspaper Carp Kite

 Jar Full of Love

Funky Luggage Tags

Tissue Paper Bowls

Kids Soup recommended giving children a small piece of cardstock (wallet size) and let them draw a picture.  Laminate it and give it to dad to carry in his wallet.

Father's Day Craft Box had a great idea about cutting a shape or design out of felt, punch a hole at the top, string with ribbon, and add a few drops of an essential oil and you have a car freshener for dad's car.

Decorate cupcakes or sugar cookies for dad.

Have the kids write special messages, poems, or pictures for dad on the driveway with chalk.  If you have sliding glass doors let the kids use watercolor paint to paint on the glass or use magic markers (not permanent).

Enjoy crafting your Father's Day gift! Don't forget to stock up on the hugs and kisses that need to accompany your present.

What fun crafts or ideas have you or your kids come up with to celebrate Father's Day?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Memories of a Father

When I think of my father, I remember a charismatic man.  It was easy to see how my mother fell in love with him.  He was the type of person who could befriend and charm anyone.  He was a natural storyteller.  As long as he would talk, his stories made even the most mundane tasks fun.

He was tall, the skin on his arms and face was always bronzed as though he had been out in the sun. Off and on throughout the years he would grow a mustache. Then he would decide he needed a change and off it would come.  Even when he turned 60, he still had coal black hair with few grays.  Of course, he didn't have much hair left, time and cancer had taken their toll.

I was Daddy's little girl growing up.  I gravitated more to his company than that of my mother's.  Maybe because in some ways my mother and I were to much alike.  I to was quiet and more introspective, eager to please the people around me.

He loved baseball. He also liked older model cars and vintage records.  He had a room filled with model trucks and cars and baseball hats.  Our spare bedroom would not accommodate overnight guests, only his hobbies. Vintage glass bottles lined shelves that he had made himself. The hats hung on the walls.  Hours were spent meticulously piecing together the models that he held deftly between his hands.

He loved practical jokes and would laugh the loudest when I would hide my toy snake (remember those plastic ones that if you held their tale and maneuvered your wrist, they would slither) in their bed on the side where my mother slept. We always knew when she was getting in bed by the piercing screams.  She would come stomping in my room with the snake, trying not to laugh saying, "Just you wait. I WILL get you back."

He was a provider, teacher of sorts, coach, father, husband, and worker. He taught my sister and me how to play softball.  He would throw balls to us or help us practice our batting before games.  I needed all the help I could get since I threw like a girl but my redeeming quality was that I loved to slide into bases.  What was a little dirt between the thrill of beating a ball to base and the chance to get dirty.

He was also a guinea pig who let me try to cook in my mother's kitchen.  My mom didn't like to give up control of her domain.  Once when she was working, I tried to make peanut butter cookies and mixed up the measurements and the ingredients.  I used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon to measure the salt and accidentally substituted baking soda for baking powder (or was it the opposite).  Regardless, they looked like pancakes and tasted foul.  My father gamely tasted them and kindly suggested that they would probably turn out better next time. 

Mr. Fix-it he was not.  Dependable, not so much. He had flaws but everyone seemed to overlook them.  Well, not everyone.  In my grandparents era, he would have been referred to as a scamp. From what I remember as a child, he never did quite seem to win them over.  Yet, he always had a sea of friends and my mom loved him as did we kids. He was the only dad my half-sister ever really knew.

These are my memories of my father.

My only regret is not recording more of my father's stories in my journal.  Most of his contemporaries have passed away so sometimes I feel as though I have lost a part of him.  It is bittersweet.  Yet, I still have my memories of him.  Those I carry with me.

*The picture above was taken over 20 years ago.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

10 Gift Ideas for Father's Day

Do you find yourself finding cheesy gifts for your husband and father of your children, your father-in-law, or your dad when Father's Day rolls around?  Do they like a particular sport or team, Harleys, or have a particular hobby?  Do they already have fifty Eagles t-shirts, hats, beer glasses, and every other piece of paraphernalia ever made.  After all,  you helped grow that collection every time a holiday or birthday presented itself.  Stuck now with what to buy someone who has everything and tired of buying them the same old thing?

Here are some unique (and not so unique) Father's Day gift ideas.

Put Dad in the Driver's Seat
Is he interested in Nascar or Indy?  A chance to ride in a stock car at a local race track would get his engine going with excitement. Excitations, Indy Racing Experience, Mario Andretti Racing Experience, and Cloud 9 Living all offer different experiences and packages.

Does he like to golf? Buy him a golf lesson with a pro at a local golf course.   Is he a thrill seeker at heart?  Take him on a whitewater rafting trip with the family.  Is there something your dad has always wanted to learn? Sign him up for a class or for private lessons with an instructor.

Event tickets
If dad is a sports fan, buy him sporting events tickets. If he likes musicals or shows, buy him tickets to a local play.  Is his favorite band coming to town?  Surprise him with tickets.

Cell phone
Does he need a new cell phone or does he just want an upgrade?  This can be an unexpected treat considering all the bells and whistles that the new phones come with. 

The Coolest Wallet Ever
The ACM wallet is the perfect wallet for any man to help him stay organized.  Your husband will no longer pull out a grungy looking credit card out of his wallet.  This wallet is designed to keep his cards looking new.  It looks like a mini cell phone case that with the push of a button dispenses a card.  It also has a money clip to hold his money.  You can even buy a sheepskin leather case for the wallet just like a cell phone.

Wireless Sports Scoreboard
Does the man in your life love baseball and is constantly flipping channels to hear or see the scores of his favorite teams.  Now he can get them in the palm of his hand.  The Brookstone Sportscast Wireless Baseball Scoreboard will keep him up to date.  The scores are sent wirelessly to the device for free and they are updated every half inning. Frontgate also sells a Football Sportscast Wireless Baseball Scoreboard.

Many men consider their watch to be a necessary accessory.  Is it time for a new one?  Maybe consider splurging on a nice watch that the man in your life would not consider buying for himself.

Photo Gifts
Digital photo frames for the office, digital photo frame keychains, puzzles, and mugs are always good personalized gift ideas for dads.

Universal Remote Control
The newer universal remote controls have touch screens and can control DVD players, tvs, surround sound systems, and even game systems.  One touch and you have what you want at your fingertips.  No need for five different remotes (uh-ahem dust catchers).

A Life History
With the help of other family members, collect stories and photographs of your loved one's life from funny tales from when he was a kid to serious stories about something heroic he once did.  Create a hardback book to present to them for Father's Day by using Kodak, Shutterfly, or any of the other photo sites. If your really crafty, you can create a scrapbook with the stories and pictures.

Favorite Meal
He may have a favorite restaurant that you usually don't like to go to (maybe that sports bar across town) or he loves something that his mom always made for dinner.  Take him there for a special treat or try to make his favorite recipe or meal.  He'll appreciate it.

Any other gift ideas that you have in mind for Father's Day?  Please share them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Do Not Pass Go

A property mogul....

Silver bling...

Money, money, money...

I have had all of the above at least once...

...playing Monopoly with my husband's family.

Cutthroat, competitive, name calling ensuing games of Monopoly that more often than not end in laughter.

When my husband told me that his family played Monopoly, I thought okay they liked to play board games.

No, just Monopoly.  And not just on any old Monopoly game board.

On Thanksgiving or when they are all together, my mother-in-law pulls out their Franklin Mint Collector's Edition Monopoly game.

I should have known then how serious they were.

The games often last hours.

It is not over until everyone has lost it all to the victor.

Forking it over and calling it quits after admitting defeat because you are tired of playing is NOT acceptable (at least BC-before kids). 

Also, things get rowdy when trades occur, especially when they occur between husbands and wives.

One year, my mother-in-law made Monopoly pajama pants for the men.  Down the stairs they paraded in their bright yellow pants decorated with Mr. Monopoly.

They were good sports about modeling the pants.


In a few years, our children will all be able to play Monopoly with us.  Then, we will really have raucous family gatherings. 

Anyone up for a game of Monopoly?

Is there a family game that you play when everyone is together?

Friday, June 11, 2010

FGF: Bonding with Strangers

Today is Friday.  For my last day of playing a MEME a day this week, I am participating in Feel Good Friday over at The Girl Next Door Grows Up.

What made me feel good this week?

1 Visiting my grandparents and having my daughters get to know the amazing people that they are. I am blessed to still have them here so they can share their memories with the girls and make new memories with them.

2 Having a nice lady in the grocery store see me picking up baby food and handing me a coupon that she wasn't going to use.  There is something touching about small kindnesses from strangers.

3 Another mom laughing when she strolled down the baby food aisle (same day, same place) seeing me trying to entertain the girls.  She was me a year ago with a two year old in her cart and the infant in the carrier in the front, both of whom were well-behaved.  Since I became a mom I can't tell you the number of times I have found myself conversing and bonding with complete strangers (who themselves are parents).We started conversing in the middle of the aisle.

4 I got to spend some quality time with my husband when he got home early the one day.  We took in part of a baseball game, munched on soft pretzels (Carbs?  What are they?), and cheered on our team (who won which made the night even sweeter).

5 Watching Emily try to ride her tricycle or her car.  Her determination and focus is endearing.

6 Participating in a meme a day this week. I got to read several new blogs and make new bloggy friends.


Don't forget that today is blog hop Friday,  Want to play along? Click on one of the buttons below.


The Girl Creative


Interested in doing memes on your blog but can't find one?  Our Mommyhood, the List Your Meme group at Mom Bloggers Club, and I Blame My Mother  have comprehensive lists of memes or carnivals to particpate in.  Go check them out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Before I Was a Mom

It's Thursday and since I am doing a week of meme's I decided to do Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. 

Mama's Losin' It

Before I was a mom...

I spent money on clothes and shoes for me (without guilt).
I had a clean house.
I had 130 children that I saw each day (except weekends and summers, oh and holidays). Nice, right?
I could read a book in one sitting.
I used to sleep like the dead.  I once slept through a 4 alarm fire a block from my apartment.
We would decide to go away for the weekend on Friday night.
I would cook fancy schmancy meals.
I loved planting flowers. (Emily likes to pick flowers, roots and all.)
The only games I played were Scrabble, poker, and Monopoly.

...something was missing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WW: I *Heart* You & Want to Drive My Tractor

As you have probably noticed, I am playing  "a MEME a day" this week.  I am working on some blog housekeeping (Wordpress here I come) and some regular housekeeping to.  We're going through some schedule changes (ah-hm...some early 5 am risers need to go back to sleep) and party planning (my baby is turning one). My regular blogging hours have been temporarily interrupted.

These photos were taken this weekend. Em and her cousin had so much fun riding around in his birthday toy.  She sat like such a little lady.  At least until he got off of the tractor.  Then, she hopped over into the driver's seat and away she went. I held my breath a few times but her cousin was an excellent driver.  Em-not so much.

I had bought Em a little Jeep at a yard sale.  She is still a little young so I thought a used one would be good. It needed a battery though according to the man selling it.  It was a $200 toy that I got for $40.    A little to good to be true since batteries (when you buy the charger to) can cost about $70.  The man selling it said batteries only cost about $25 for two.  Then, it turned out that the Jeep was from 1989 and that it had been recalled since they have electrical problems and could start a fire.  Amazingly, they still honored the recall when I called.  Now we need to get it to the center where they can replace the batteries and the connectors. Hopefully, it starts when that is all said and done...

There is something comforting about the fact that a company will still honor recalls for several years after the recall was done AND when the item is secondhand (yes, I was honest).

Have you ever had any experiences with recalls after a long length of time has passed or funny motorized vehicle stories starring your kids?

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit here, and 5 Minutes for Mom and more wordful Wednesday can be found at Seven Clown Circus.

Any suggestions for tomorrow's meme?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday: A Visit From Mary Poppins