Saturday, September 14, 2013

Del Monte Fruit Burst™ Squeezers Review & Giveaway

For me, it's difficult enough to come up with easy snack ideas for my family that aren't filled with artificial flavors and/or high fructose corn syrup.  Add a busy day of running errands and the task of grabbing snacks for our "go bag" is even more of a challenge.

While I while try to avoid the lollipops and fruit snacks that I know Grace would prefer, I'd still like to offer her something a bit more substantial than the usual crackers or pretzel that I throw into our bag.  Something that resembles an actual food group!

Del Monte has made it easy to offer your family just that with Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers!  Since you drink/squeeze them right from the tube, there's no need for a bowl or spoon!  Making them super-easy and perfect for in the car, packing in school lunches, or when you just can't get your kiddo to come inside from playing outside!

Plus, these aren't just for kids!  They are great for us busy parents, too!  Throw a couple in dad's lunch box before he leaves for work or even keep one in your purse for when you need a quick snack while waiting in the school pick-up line!

Here's some information about Del Monte Fruit Burst™ Squeezers: 

Made in the U.S.A., Del Monte Fruit Burst™ Squeezers contain 1 ½ servings of fruit or fruit and veggies and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. In addition, Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers contain no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup.

                Fruit + Veggie Varieties:

-          Peach-Mango: Pear puree concentrate, water, pumpkin juice concentrate, peach puree concentrate, pear juice concentrate, carrot juice concentrate, carrot puree, mango puree concentrate, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid.
-          Blueberry: Pear puree concentrate, water, pumpkin juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, natural flavors, carrot puree, blueberry puree concentrate, fruit and vegetable extracts for color, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid.

Simply Fruit Varieties:

-          Apple Cinnamon: Pear puree concentrate, water, apple puree concentrate, pear juice concentrate, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), cinnamon, malic acid.
-          Mixed Berry: Pear puree concentrate, water, pear juice concentrate, natural flavors, strawberry puree, red raspberry puree concentrate, blueberry puree concentrate, fruit and vegetable extracts for color, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), malic acid.

-          Strawberry: Pear puree concentrate, water, pear juice concentrate, strawberry puree concentrate, natural flavors, carmine, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), malic acid.

For more information about Del Monte Fruit Burst™ Squeezers and other great Del Monte products, check out their website!  You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!  

Del Monte was generous to send me the gift package shown above.  In addition to the two boxes of the Fruit Burst Squeezers in order for me to provide this review, the gift package also included a lunch box (or "go bag" as Grace calls it), 2 eco-friendly shopping totes that fold down to tiny fruit shapes, and a magnetic photo frame.

Do you want to win a Del Monte® Fruit Burst™ Squeezers gift pack just like the one I received?  Del Monte was very generous and has provided not only a gift pack for me to review, but also one for me to share with one lucky Under the Big Oak Tree reader!  

The lucky winner's gift package will include the following:  

·         Two boxes of Fruit Burst Squeezers™ (one Fruit + Veggies 4-pack and one Simply Fruit 4-pack)
·         One Del Monte lunchbox
·         One orange-shaped eco-friendly shopping tote
·         One strawberry-shaped eco-friendly shopping tote
·         One Del Monte magnetic frame

Giveaway open to US Residents only.

Entering for your chance to win is easy using the rafflecopter form below:  
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Disclaimer:  Although I received products mentioned in this review as well as an additional prize package for one lucky reader, all opinions of the product are honest and my own.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review/giveaway.

VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™ Review & Giveaway

Recently, I was asked to review the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™.  At first glance of the photo of the toy, I was concerned that the toy was a little young for Grace.  Since we've been big fans of VTech toys since our nieces and nephews were little, I decided to give it a try anyway.  Plus, Grace did fall right in the suggested 2-5 year old age range for the toy.

The package arrived and the timing couldn't be any more perfect!  We had a couple of rainy days and Grace was getting a bit of cabin fever.  When she saw the box, she squealed!  "Is that for me?!"

I couldn't get the box open fast enough for her!

I didn't even consider that the toy would need to be assembled before she could play with it and I was incredibly thankful that it snapped together very quickly and easily.  In fact, it took longer for me to walk to our attached-garage to get batteries and a screw driver needed to open the battery compartment.  I think Grace was very impressed that Mommy was able to put her new toy together too, otherwise she would have had to wait for Daddy to get home from work!

I quickly gave her a demonstration of how the toy switches from shopping cart to kitchen and off she went to shop for, then prepare the pretend food!

I couldn't have been more wrong in my first opinion about the toy being too young for Grace.  The VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™ kept my 4-year old busy for 2 whole days!  During that time, she did not look at, play with or insist on sleeping with any other of her many, many toys!  At our house, very often toys are picked out, brought home, taken out of the package and forgotten about in less than an hour!  So the fact that she really played with this toy for that length of time is a really big deal!

Since those first two days, she has started to play with some of her other toys in addition to the shopping cart/kitchen.  But, as a sign of how special the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™  is to her, she parks it beside her bed every night before she goes to sleep!

Now that you've heard how much Grace enjoys it, let me share my thoughts about the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™

We live in a small rancher without a playroom.  Very often, toys are strewn from one end of the house to the other.  While I try to keep them contained to just Grace's bedroom, I always seem to find them all over the house!  I mean, all over!  Even the kitchen and bathroom!  So, the compact, 2-in-1 feature of the toy was a huge hit with me!  Perfect for apartment dwellers or even at the grandparents' house!

The volume control switch is awesome, too!  Let's face it, while the kiddos will enjoy the 13 different melodies being able to choose the volume when taking an important phone call is very helpful.

Another thing that I really liked about the playset was the accessories.  The quality of the pretend food is incredible!  So sturdy and durable!  Not like the other pretend food that Grace has in her toybox!  And Vtech really thought of everything and included a shopping list that doubles as a recipe when you flip it over (something that I didn't notice until Grace pointed it out to me)!

Here is some additional information about the VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™, just in case I left anything out:

·         The 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset transforms from a shopping cart to a kitchen in a few simple steps.
·         The cart responds with fun phrases and sounds and when kids are ready to cook their meal, the cart becomes a play kitchen complete with a sink, oven, stove burner and cutting board.
·         The playset encourages pretend play and exploration while teaching about food, colors, numbers, music, following directions and more.
·         VTech has a full line of developmental stage-based infant and preschool learning toys that provide the appropriate tools for every age and stage of a child’s development.
·         With nearly 40 new product introductions in this category this year alone, VTech has one of the largest lines of infant and preschool electronic learning products, each one chock-full of play value for unlimited, open-ended fun.
·         From encouraging mobility and exploration among the youngest of infants, to introducing preschoolers to early learning skills, VTech’s line of infant and preschool toys introduces children to early learning skills and helps establish a lifetime love of learning.
·         Ages 2-5 years, MSRP: $49.99

If you'd like information about how to order this product or to find other fabulous Vtech toys, visit their website!  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!

Would you like to win your very own VTech 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset™?  VTech was kind enough to provide not only a playset for me to review but an additional playset to giveaway to one lucky Under the Big Oak Tree reader!  Awesome, right!?

Entering is made easy with the rafflecopter form below!

*note: giveaway is open to US residents only

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Disclaimer:   VTech product, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech

It Works! Greens Product Review and Giveaway!

Earlier this week, I shared a review of the It Works! Body Applicator/Wrap.  Today, I get to tell you about another great It Works! product.

When Emily dropped off the body applicator for me to test out, I didn't know very much about Greens other than the name itself.  After learning a bit more, I was really glad she included a few packets of the Greens on the Go for me to give a try!  

Available in two flavors, Orange and Berry, greens is perfect for anyone that doesn't eat all of the fruits and veggies that we should each day!  Even for someone like me, that loves fruits and vegetables, it's difficult to get in the daily recommended servings every day.  With picky eaters, it's pretty much impossible to get those daily fruit/s veggies in each day.

Greens makes it super easy!  With just one scoop (or On the Go packet)!

Just 1 packet (or scoop) mixed with water or juice, provides over 8 servings of fruits & vegetables!

That fact alone just totally amazed me!  Like I said, I love my fruits and veggies but lack of time often causes me to skip them throughout the day often leading to wasted produce in the bins in the fridge.  Feeling bad enough at the fact that I'm not doing my body any favors when skipping the good stuff, the wasted food just puts me over the edge!

While it's recommended to mix the Greens with water or juice, I opted to mix mine into some unsweetend, decaf sweet tea and LOVED it!  Especially the Berry flavor!  It reminded me of raspberry iced tea!  So refreshing and good for me at the same time!

The second thing I noticed was that my energy level had increased over the course of the 4 days that I was using the Greens!  I'm not a very energetic person to begin with, I'll admit that I am pretty lazy.  My personality is party to blame, but I know that nutrition (or lack of nutrition) plays a big role in my slow to get motivated days.  Greens really helped me feel so much better than I do on a regular basis.

Here's some information from the website:

Not eating all of the fruits and veggies that you should? Feeling sluggish and off balance? Want more energy to get through your day? Help detoxify, alkalize and energize your body with every glass of Greens, now with an even better pH-balancing blend that includes an acidity-fighting combination of magnesium and potassium for even more alkalizing properties.  The added probiotic support helps you better maintain that healthy balance by keeping your digestive system regular and toxins flowing out.
With 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables and a blend of 38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods, Greens provides naturally occurring, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes to give your already well-balanced diet a nutritional boost. 

  • Detoxify, alkalize, and promote pH balance within the body
  • Acidity-fighting magnesium and potassium blend
  • Cutting-edge probiotic support for digestive health
  • 38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods
  • 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables in every scoop
  • Free radical-fighting antioxidants
Use the following links to find out more about the It Works! product line and opportunity to join Emily's team:

How would you like to win a select It Works! product?

Emily has very sweetly allowed me to offer an awesome giveaway to one of our lucky readers!

The winner can choose ONE of the following items:

  • one Body Applicator/wrap 
  • a 7-day supply of Greens (choice of flavors) 
  • one Facial Applicator 
  • 2-week supply of Fat Fighters

Entering is easy using the rafflecopter form below:  

*Note:  Giveaway open to US residents only.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 I was given a product at no charge to me in order for me to try the product for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for the review of this product.  All opinions are honest and my own.  Sponsor has also provided, at no charge, the prize chosen by the giveaway winner. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: It Works! Body Applicator Wraps

These days, with the economy being what it is, many stay-at-home moms have been faced with difficult decisions about their stay at home status.  "Should I go back to work?"  "Will it be worth it after paying child care?"

Earlier this summer, Emily wrote a guest post for Under the Big Oak Tree telling us about her work-from-home job and how we can join her It Works! team and earn a paycheck while working from home and working the hours that fit each of our families' schedules.

When talking with Emily about the guest post, we also discussed me trying one of the It Works! body applicator wraps and sharing my thoughts with all of you.  Since Emily is local to me, she dropped off the wrap and some single serving Greens for me to try.  (Review for the Greens to come later!)

It took a while for me to give it a try because I really didn't want to face myself in the full-length mirror for the "before" photo.  I mean, it's one thing to know that I am overweight but to actually see myself in my undies in a full-length was just more than I was willing to handle!  Plus, there was that whole..."avoid soda" for three days recommendation that was really tough for me!

Finally, I knew I put it off too long and just had to bite the bullet and get it done.  After a late dinner one night, I gathered up the supplies I would need to apply the body applicator wrap:  the wrap/body applicator and measuring guide, a permanent marker, full-length mirror, measuring tape, scissors, plastic wrap, and of course, the camera.

While Grace and Joe played and watched TV, I took a very long shower.

When I was done showering it was time for the "before" picture.  Sorry everyone, but those are not being shared here!  Not today, not ever!  haha!  I also recorded my measurements before applying the wrap.  When taking measurements, it's recommended to mark the spot with a marker or dark eyeliner in order to measure the exact spot again later.

After facing the horrible truth about the shape I am in was over, I cut open the package and removed the body applicator.  Before unfolding the applicator, I cut 2 really long pieces of plastic wrap.  At that point, I was ready to apply the wrap!  I was happy I closed our bathroom window before my shower because that wrap was COLD!  And any little breeze coming through the window would have had me shivering!

I don't know about you, but I always struggle with cling wrap!  Even the smallest bit of leftovers is a hassle to cover in plastic wrap!  So covering the body applicator and my belly with two long pieces of cling wrap was no easy task!  I'll definitely try using an ace bandage next time!

By the time I was done, Joe already had Grace tucked into her bed and he was out in the garage getting some stuff ready for work the following day!  I was happy to have the living room to myself so I could turn of the air conditioner!  Because I was still cold from the lotion on the applicator!

So, I had the evening to myself.  I popped some popcorn (no butter or salt), grabbed a bottle of water and curled up on the couch to watch some TV while wearing the wrap.

Wraps can be worn anywhere from 45 minutes up to 8 hours.  It's suggested that first time wrappers start with a 45 minute session.  If there aren't immediate changes noticed and no adverse skin reaction to the wrap, you can reapply and wear for a longer period of time (up to 8 hours).  Drinking water, while avoiding soda and fast food, helps flush toxins from your body.  A single wrap works for 72 hours from the time of application.

I was feeling fine, so I decided to just keep wearing it until I was ready for bed.  At about the 4 hour mark, I was back in the bathroom to brush my teeth before going to bed and remove the wrap.  I didn't absorb all of the lotion from the applicator, so I just rubbed the lotion into my skin.  Even after removal, the wrap continues to work.

Results vary from person to person and additional applications may be necessary to achieve optimal results.

For me, I didn't see a loss of inches and I blame myself for that.  I know I didn't drink enough water (the more you drink, the more you shrink!) while wearing the wrap as it was too close to bedtime or the following day since we spent a lot of the day in the car.  I also wasn't as strict with myself and even ate a small order of fries when we picked up Grace's weekly happy meal!

But while I didn't see a change in my body shape, I did see immediate results in the texture of my skin where I applied the wrap!  My skin looked and felt tighter and smoother upon removing the wrap and over the course of the 72 hours, I saw a change in my skin over the rest of my body and face!  This is definitely something I want to do again!

I also saw a change in my mood.  I often suffer from depression and feel blue a lot of thetime.  But, I'm always in good spirits when I treat myself to a bit of pampering. Something that I rarely take the time to do for myself these days.  But, I suspect that the release of nasty toxins from my body had a big hand in lifting my mood!  For me, that is a big deal and an all-natural product that can do that for me is a keeper!  Note:  I am not a doctor, I am just relating how the product made ME feel during and after use.

If you would like to learn more about the It Works! Body Applicators or about joining Emily's team,
you can visit her website where you can also place your orders for It Works! products.

Emily is also having a giveaway on her facebook page running until September 22, 2013, where you can win a 5-day supply of Greens!  

And, if you are local (Pennsylvania), you can attend her It Works! Wrap Opportunit-Tea!
A relaxing, no-pressure tea where you can try a wrap, sample some products while sipping some herbal teas and enjoying some snacks.  

* You don't have to be local to place your orders with Emily, enter her facebook giveaway or even join her team!  

Disclaimer:  I was given an It Works! Body Applicator at no charge to me in order for me to try the product for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for the review of this product.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ Week of September 9th

Wow!  Last week was a total blur!  It flew by so quickly!  Due to the long weekend, I really had a difficult time keeping track of the days too!  I honestly thought Wednesday was Monday!  How's that for confused?! But I guess that's a much better scenario than thinking Monday is Wednesday!  That would make for a very long week!  

On facebook last week, someone posted a photo of a big pot of vegetable chili and man, oh man, did that look delicious!  Totally threw the rest of my menu plan right out the window!  A quick check of my pantry showed that I had most of the ingredients for a veggie chili if I switched up the black beans for a trio of different beans!  The result was super-tasty!  That was dinner for 2 nights! 

Then, trying to think of what to make for last minute dinner and bonfire plans with friends resulted in another pot of chili!  This time with the same trio of beans (black, kidney and pinto) and meat!  Again, that was dinner for 2 nights!  And we have plenty left for another night or two!  

So, with chili making a 4-night appearance on the dinner table last week, there will be a couple repeats from last week showing up on this week's plan.  


Macaroni Salad
BLT wraps


Crock Pot Chicken & Peppers
Garlic Bread




Steak Fajitas 



Leftover Night 


Crock Pot Ravioli 
Crusty Bread

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ Week of September 2nd

It's Labor Day and the summer is just about over!  I want to spend today with my family, so I'm not going to do a really detailed Menu Plan with descriptions...I'll come back later to add the links!  


Macaroni Salad 
Tossed Salad





Steak Fajitas 
Cheesy Rice 




Pepper Steak 

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

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