Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kellogg's, Week Four: The Breakfast Squeeze, and a $100 Visa Gift Card

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg's.



This is the fourth of twelve weekly posts sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's. EACH POST will have its own $100 gift card giveaway. The plan is to have each giveaway start on Tuesday and run until the following Monday.

This week's topic is The Breakfast Squeeze: what do you feed the kids if you are in a huge hurry?

We DON'T skip breakfast. Our school system fairly BEGS parents to give children breakfast, especially on testing days, because it so dramatically improves their attention levels. I'd let the kids skip a shower before I'd let them skip breakfast.

Granola bars work well: quick, already wrapped, easy to eat in the car or at the bus stop. A banana works well: quick, already "wrapped," easy to eat in the car or at the bus stop. But I'm more likely to follow this formula:


Step One: Put cereal in baggies.
Step Two: Eat cereal out of baggies.
Step Three: Feel happy at how well this formula merges with cereal-related gig.

We do this on rushed school mornings but also when the bigger kids sleep in on weekends: when they finally get up, none of us want to wait around while they eat breakfast. Cereal in baggies, and we can get going. And it's common for me to get everyone else ready and then realize I haven't eaten my own breakfast yet, so I eat cereal out of a baggie while I'm driving.

If I found myself ROUTINELY in a hurry, I might pre-baggie cereal and load the baggies into an empty cereal box: even faster, even easier. This would also be a good way to use up uneaten dry cereal on unhurried mornings: combine all the remnants into a baggie and toss it into the box.



To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about your hurried breakfast on this post by Monday, September 6, 2010. Entrants must be U.S. residents at least 18 years old. One entry per post per person. To get an additional entry, blog or tweet the contest and then leave a comment with a link to the post or tweet.

For the complete rules, see The Complete Rules, Week Four.

For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers.

For more about Kellogg's, visit their site.



Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

Winner (Kellogg's Week Three)

The winner of Kellogg's Week Three is d e v a n! I'll email you!

And later today we'll have another Kellogg's post with another chance to win $100.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kellogg's, Week Three: Favorite Breakfast Cereals, and a $100 Visa Gift Card

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg's.



This is the third of twelve weekly posts sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's. EACH POST will have its own $100 gift card giveaway. The plan is to have each giveaway start on Tuesday and run until the following Monday.

This week's topic is, understandably, what are your favorite Kellogg's cereals? And are there any Kellogg's cereals you enjoyed as a child that your children now like?

Perhaps, like me, you don't always notice the maker of your cereal? In that case you are in luck, because I am sympathetic to your plight and have copied and pasted this chart from the Kellogg's site to make it easier to answer the question:


When I was a child the Granola was my favorite, but I also liked ALL the sweet ones: Froot Loops, Honey Smacks, Corn Pops, Cocoa Krispies, Apple Jacks. We only got them when we visited our grandparents, or a friend's house, or when we went camping and got the little boxes, because I was a child of the '70s and was lucky my parents allowed us to have something as sweet as RAISIN BRAN.

What I remember is that in those multi-packs of little cereal boxes, the non-sweet ones got left for last---which is how I discovered how yummy Product 19 was. It was one of the ones my brother and I considered non-yummy because of being insufficiently sugared, but the deal was that we had to eat ALL the little boxes and not just the sweet ones, so I ate Product 19 and...well, hey! It's...YUMMY! I need to go write it on the shopping list; why haven't I been eating Product 19? (Also, I would love to have been in on the meeting where they decided to actually name it that.)

My favorites NOW are the Mini-Wheats (I like strawberry, and I eat them dry with a glass of milk on the side), and the Granola, and the Raisin Bran Crunch. When I'm pregnant, I crave the Frosted Flakes. And we use the Corn Flakes and the Rice Krispies in recipes.


My kids like the strawberry Mini-Wheats and the Cracklin' Oat Bran. They sometimes like the Granola, but the kids who eat it without milk manage to make SUCH a mess of it, I tend not to offer it.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about your favorite (or your kid's/kids' favorite) Kellogg's cereal on this post by Monday, August 30, 2010. Entrants must be U.S. residents at least 18 years old. One entry per post per person. To get an additional entry, blog or tweet the contest and then leave a comment with a link to the post or tweet.

For the complete rules, see The Complete Rules, Week Three.

For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers.

For more about Kellogg's, visit their site.



Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

Winner! (Kellogg's Week Two)

The winner of the Kellogg's Week Two Giveaway is kamewh! I'll email you!

Later today there will be the Week Three post, and another chance to win $100.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Juicy Juice Review, With $100 Visa Gift Card and Juicy Juice Prize Pack!

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Juicy Juice.



I like diet soda. I don't drink a TON of it, but I drink it regularly and I like it, and I prefer it to the kind with sugar. But the pressure of "ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS ARE MANUFACTURED IN SATAN'S LAIR, PROBABLY WITH HIM NOT WASHING HIS HANDS FIRST" finally started getting to me, so I tried switching to unsweetened sparkling water. At first it was weird, but now I like it. It's nice to be drinking something fizzy but no longer have to struggle with the sugar vs. artificial sweeteners issue.

I'm still not anti-soda, and I let my kids have it if we go to a restaurant (and I drink it too). But the Juicy Juice carbonated juice seems like a really good idea as something THEY can start replacing THEIR soda with: FIZZ and a CAN to make it feel like soda, but without the conflict about sugar vs. artificial sweeteners. (Er, the conflict for ME; THEY don't give it a single thought yet.) Nestlé sent me a bunch of cans of the sparkling apple flavor so the kids could try it out. The littles are too little for it, but the bigs liked it.

Trying it out. Reaction: favorable.

For those of you who watch out for high fructose corn syrup, it has none of that. It's carbonated apple juice. Here's what it says on the label: "Ingredients: apple juice (water, juice concentrate), water, and less than 0.5% of natural flavors, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carbonation added." The cans are 8.4 fluid ounces and 90 calories each.

The sparkling canned version is new to me, but I was already familiar with Juicy Juice juice boxes because of field trips. There's always a notice that goes home beforehand, asking for the child to bring a lunch that's fully disposable and contains nothing breakable. I usually put in two juice boxes, one for with lunch and one for with snack.

My mom also likes to bring juice boxes and cookies for the kids if we make them come shopping with us: while I do the Really Boring departments, she sits and reads to them and gives them a snack.

They are fans.

The Juicy Juice boxes are 6.75 ounces each, and the fruit punch flavor has 100 calories per box. The label: "Ingredients: apple juice, grape juice, and passion fruit juice (water, juice concentrates), natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid." Again, no high fructose corn syrup or other added sugars.


The prize is a $100 Visa gift card plus a Juicy Juice prize pack. To enter, leave a comment on this post by September 30, 2010 saying your favorite flavor of juice---or your kid's/kids' favorite. Mine is grapefruit. OOooh, or pineapple! Or cranberry! The kids like orange or apple or grape.

One comment per person; must be 18 or older and a U.S. resident; no cheating. To get an additional entry, blog or tweet the contest and leave a link to the blog/tweet in the comments. For a more detailed set of rules, see BlogHer.com Juicy Juice 2010 official rules.

You can get more chances to win by touring the other bloggers reviewing Juicy Juice and entering their contests too: BlogHer.com Juicy Juice 2010 Round-up page.

For more information about Juicy Juice juice boxes: Juicy Juice fruit juice site

For more information about Sparkling Juicy Juice: Juicy Juice Sparkling Fruit Juice site

To enjoy saying juicy-juice-juice-juicy-juice with me, join in now: Juicy juice juice juice juicy juice!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kellogg's, Week Two: Summer Fun, and a $100 Visa Gift Card

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg's.



This is the second of twelve weekly posts sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's. EACH POST will have its own $100 gift card giveaway. The plan is to have each giveaway start on Tuesday and run until the following Monday.

This week's topic is Summer Fun as Summer Ends: if school hasn't yet started in your area, what summer things are you doing with the last bits of summer that remain?


During the school year we miss the swimming pool the most, so we've been going almost every day. We play outside a lot, and it feels nice to just run out without having to mess with outerwear. We set up the sprinkler. We play with sidewalk chalk in the driveway. We scooter. We'll have an ice cream treat at least once more, maybe twice. We'll go out for burgers to commemorate the last day of swimming lessons.


And this will sound a little odd and not at all parent-magaziney, but I'm also letting them have plenty of television and video games. During the school year, they're not allowed to do either until they've finished their homework, but they usually don't finish their homework until after dinner, and Go To Room Bedtime (as opposed to Lights Out Bedtime) isn't long after that. So while it's still summer I'm allowing the Wii and Kimpossible marathons.


To enter the giveaway, leave a summer-fun-related comment on this post by Monday, August 23, 2010. Entrants must be U.S. residents at least 18 years old. One entry per post per person. To get an additional entry, blog or tweet the contest and then leave a comment with a link to the post or tweet.

For the complete rules, see The Complete Rules, Week Two.

For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers.

For more about Kellogg's, visit their site.



Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

Winner! (Kellogg's Week One)

The winner of Kellogg's Week One is Janet! Yay, Janet! And Week Two's contest starts later today, with another $100 gift card to win.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kellogg's, Week One: The Breakfast Routine, and a $100 Visa Gift Card

This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kellogg's.



This is the first of twelve weekly posts sponsored by BlogHer and Kellogg's. EACH POST will have its own $100 gift card giveaway. With the exception of the first post, the plan is to have each giveaway start on Tuesday and run until the following Monday. (For this first post, the giveaway starts on Wednesday and runs until the following Monday.)

This week's topic is The Breakfast Routine.

We have a household of seven, and the morning routine requires organization, an easily-repeatable plan, and saying "Come on, come ON, the bus comes in NINE MINUTES and what is the DEAL with your HAIR??"

Paul leaves for work at 6:00, so I'm up and showered by then. The first child wakes between 5:45 and 6:00, and three others wake between 6:00 and 6:30. I get the last one of out bed at 7:00---although this year he starts middle school so he'll need to be up earlier to get an earlier bus.

I start the coffee, and then I put out five plates or bowls on the kitchen counter, and five cups. I drink my coffee and dish out the food. As each kid is ready for breakfast, he or she takes his or her own plate/bowl and cup out to the coffee table in the living room, where PBS is on. As each kid finishes breakfast, he or she is supposed to bring the dishes back into the kitchen and get on with the routine, but in FACT he or she sits there watching TV until I say "Okay, now clear your dishes and keep getting ready for the day."

We have two main breakfasts at our house: either everyone has cereal, or everyone has muffins. If we have cereal, four of the kids eat it dry and have cups of milk to drink, and one eats it with milk and has water or juice to drink. If we have muffins, four kids have milk to drink and one has water or juice because he doesn't like milk unless it's on cereal. Everyone gets a chewable vitamin. Most days, everyone gets a half or whole banana.


To enter the giveaway, leave a breakfast-routine-related comment on this post by Monday, August 16, 2010. Entrants must be U.S. residents and at least 18 years old. One entry per post per person. To get an additional entry, blog or tweet the contest and then leave a comment with a link to the post or tweet.

For the complete rules, see The Complete Rules, Week One.

For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers.

For more about Kellogg's, visit their site.



Mom’s Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids’ cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. To learn more about the program, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just My Size Try-On Session, With a Five! Hundred! Dollar! Giftcard Prize!

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Just My Size Sportswear apparel.



Hey, do you remember when I was all stressed out about a holiday party, and some of you recommended wearing a cute outfit to tamp down the anxiety but I despaired of finding one on short notice, and then I found the perfect outfit, which included an awesome sassy brightly-colored fitted button-down shirt, and I felt TOTALLY CUTE and also PERFECTLY DRESSED? That shirt was a Just My Size shirt, by Hanes, and I bought it at Wal-Mart.

And now let's fast-forward to July of this year, when I have in my hand a gift certificate to spend on Hanes Just My Size clothing so that I could write this review. Score much? JMS is a plus-sized line, and what I like about them even more is that they're inexpensive enough that they don't trigger my must! wait! for! clearances! impulse.



It was so thrilling to find a bunch of stuff IN MY SIZE, I even tried on a denim miniskirt. I KNOW, RIGHT?? It looks more like a knee-length on me, but my legs are shortish so your results may vary. I had to do some Photoshop retouching to my legs to hide all the scratches I've gotten recently while picking black raspberries. I really like the shirt, too.


Some JMS jeans, which I really liked. I might need to get a second pair. Plus a JMS shirt, super comfy and soft, with Bust-Enhancing Pockets.

And this is where the fitting room clerk said we couldn't take photos and called the manager, and the manager came over and asked me to "Please step over here" (no, really), and apparently Wal-Mart has a very strict policy that no one is allowed to take photos in their stores (because clearly there are huge security implications in...taking pictures...of outfits...), and anyway from now on the photos are taken by me in the dressing room while making a cough sound to cover the click. And I guess I was thrown by the unexpected managerial encounter, because I kept forgetting to look at the CAMERA.


I loved this shirt, but I felt like it looked too small so I bought it one size bigger. Now I'm second-guessing, because in the photo it doesn't look too small, so maybe I'm just not accustomed to fitted clothes? (Taking photos of clothes is so valuable! And not at all a security breach!) Same jeans again, because I didn't want to take them off.



Here are the jeans on their own.



Here's another pair I tried. These were pretty good but had the wrinkles dyed-on, and that looks okay in the photo (in fact, in the photo I think they're more flattering than the first pair) but in real life I felt like it made me look like I was straining out of the jeans.


Can you tell I feel kind of awesome in this? This is the wrinkles-dyed-in jeans (okay, I admit, in photos I'm reconsidering---I may need to go back and get those too) (see, Wal-Mart? this is what happens if you let people take photos) and a grey shirt that came with a necklace.



Fine, I'm going back for those jeans. And then I will always stand in Dressing Room Pose with one leg back and the other leg bent. (I will not, however, do the crossed-leg "I badly need to pee" pose so many celebrity women do. What is WITH that?)



Total change of pace. I never, ever, EVER wear sleeveless, not even to BED, but I was feeling adventurous. There had a ton of good tank tops, plus good basic camis like this one.



Cute hoodie! Model starting to look sweaty and frizzy. You know what would dramatically improve purchase-rates in clothing stores? Adjustable heat/cooling in each dressing room. Plus GOOD LIGHTING. It is so hard to feel enthusiastic about outfits when one's face looks yellowed and tired and damp.



I like this basic crew tee and think I'll go back for more of them. This is pretty much exactly what I usually wear, except this fabric was better and thicker than the shirts I usually get. They also had them in v-neck.

There were a ton of other things I wanted to try on but then Wal-Mart didn't have my size in it. There'd be a whole bunch of 4X and nothing smaller, or jeans in 16W and 26W bootcut but only petite and non-bootcut left in between. But if you shop at Wal-Mart regularly, it would be easy to keep an eye out: keeping things in stock is a classic Wal-Mart problem, not a JMS thing. After trying a bunch of things on, I felt like I had a good idea of what my size was in JMS and which styles in general looked good on me, and I don't think I'd even need to try on: HUGELY VALUABLE, since I don't usually get dressing-room time without three to five accompanying children.


The prize is a FIVE! HUNDRED! DOLLAR! Wal-Mart gift card. You could pretty much throw out all your old clothes and buy one of EVERY SINGLE THING in the JMS line with that, plus underwear and socks.

To enter, leave a comment on this post by August 31, 2010. Maybe tell me how cute I looked in something (flattery doesn't improve chances of winning, but I'm sure it improves the mood of the universe), or say what clothing item you'd try on, or suggest a different combination, or mention how many more clothes you'd buy if the dressing rooms were chillier.

One comment per person; you have to be at least 18 years old and live in the United States; no cheating. You can get an extra entry by blogging about the contest or putting a link to the contest on Twitter; then come back here and leave a link to show you did it. For more details, see the Official Rules.

AND you have a bunch of other chances to win: see the other Just My Size reviewers to leave flattering comments and see lots of other pieces from the JMS line. (I am definitely going to go look: now that I've poked around the racks, I want to see what other people put together.)

To do a little pre-shopping (there's a mix-and-match tool for those of us who get sweaty and frizzy but can't tell what we'd like until we try it all on), go to JMSstyle.com. It's really fun: like playing with paper dolls. It didn't have the jeans on there, and there were a bunch of capris/shorts my Wal-Mart didn't have, but I recognized a lot of the other things.

(screenshot taken from JMSstyle.com)

Maybe I should try on all my outfits with beige high heels? My green sandals suddenly look flat and dowdy. And I am totally going to try that thing with my hands.

If after all this you find yourself feeling all warm and lovey toward JMS, you can also friend them on Facebook.