Thursday, May 29, 2014

Your move or mine!

Disclosure: I received this product in order to facilitate my review.

One summer when I was around 12 or 13 I learned to play chess and spent the whole summer having fun with it. Since then I've never really played again (why??) and I've completely forgotten how. Hubby has tried unsuccessfully to teach me a few times but still enjoys playing himself. I want the boys to learn as it helps develop critical thinking skills but guess I better brush up myself first.

Enter ThinkFun's new game Solitaire Chess. This is a one person skill building game that aims to work out your brain and teach you some basic chess moves and skills in the process.

Hubby's skills were a bit rusty so he started on the beginner level. He said it quickly came back to him and he was able to run through some of the advanced puzzles even. If you've ever thought you should learn chess but like quick puzzles more, this is the game for you. It provides puzzles you set up with corresponding pieces. The movement rules of each piece are given and you then try to end up with only one piece left on the puzzle in order to win.

It's recommended for ages 8 and up but I think the boys would be able to grasp the concepts around 6 or so. I love all of the younger aimed ThinkFun games we have like Zingo and Rush Hour Jr. (Nolan loves this game starting around 4! Highly recommend.) and Solitaire Chess is no exception!

Check out ThinkFun on Facebook and Twitter in order to catch all their new releases!! They really do have learning yet fun games for all ages!

I received the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Zest Tea!!

I started out my trial of Zest Tea excited to try a new drink. I had no idea I'd find such a flavorful and invigorating one!! When I shared tea bags with a few friends they were immediately amazed at the aroma. I've never opened a tea and loved the smell so much. It certainly packs a punch from the start.

Zest Tea isn't your run of the mill flavored drink. They produce tasty and energizing tea blends that contain as much if not more caffeine than a cup of coffee. If you're like me the taste of coffees is dreadful and you can't afford to spend every morning in line getting a sugary and edible Starbucks version. I've been using my Zest Tea now instead. It gets me going and tastes delicious for a fraction of the cost of takeout coffee drinks.

In order to facilitate my review, I received Pomegranate Mojito Green Tea, Blue Lady Black Tea, Earl Grey Black Tea, and my personal favorite the Apple Cinnamon Black! The 20 satchel tins of Early Grey retail for a mere $11.99 or the 20 satchels with no tin for just $9.49.  The other products are similar in price too.

How tasty are they?? Apple Cinnamon Black can only be described as a dessert drink. I love that you're drinking something that gives your tastebuds the same sensation as a calorie laden and decadent dessert. The Earl Grey has a light orange hint and is a mild tea that's both fragrant and sweet. I honestly enjoyed just breathing in the steam as I sipped it. The Blue Lady Black is a blend of orange, lemon, passion fruit, and hibiscus. I even tried this drink chilled which is perfect for a Florida morning. 

So now about the caffeine. I never felt jittery or wired like I often do after consuming coffee. It tends to increase my energy levels but it's a more smooth and lasting transformation.

Since the kiddos usually have all the fun in my circle, this time I hosted a tea party playdate with apple juice for the littles and Zest Tea for the moms. What a hit! We practiced manners and noshed on scones too.Thanks to the kickin' Zest Tea I had the energy to keep up with my wild child the rest of the afternoon too.

If you want to try out Zest Tea for yourself check out their website!

Carter all dressed up for his tea party.

"Tea with Rex" reading

Monday, May 19, 2014

Seventh Generation Healthy Baby

Seventh Generation, the company you know for their innovative line of products aimed at reducing the amount of chemicals in your everyday life, has recently branched out into politics. They reached their goal of getting 100,000 signatures in order to petition Congress to amend the Toxic Substance Control Act. Here is what they say about their goal... 

"The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976 and has never been updated. Some people might assume that the chemicals used to make products sold in the U.S., like toys and food containers, are regulated and tested for safety — but they are not. Over 80,000 chemicals are currently available for use in the market. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) grandfathered in 62,000 chemicals when enacted in 1976 and over 20,000 have since been added. The EPA has required very few of these to be tested for their impacts on human health and the environment. Now is the time to update the regulation on these chemicals."

In order to promote their petition, seventh generation sent out sample packs of their favorite products from their products and other companies for moms to use to host a healthy baby, healthy generation party. I was lucky enough to be chosen and we invited our friends over in late April to share in the samples. 

Along with the samples, I also got to try their diapers. As you know, I exclusively use cloth so disposables are new to me. Talk about perfect timing I traveled out of town last weekend and took our pack of diapers with us. I was very happy with the diapers overall and had no leaks or issues. They held up overnight (with a fleece cover as always for my heavy wetter but it wasn't even needed). I liked that I could trust the diapers were free of chlorine processing, unbleached, hypoallergenic with no fragrances, inks, or petroleum-based lotions. They are a tan natural color instead of the stark white you get from most other disposable brands. If I was not able to use cloth diapers seventh generation would be my first disposable choice! Also unlike other brands they do not have a strange smell once peed in. They don't smell much at all but when they do it's just normal pee. This may seem strange but it lets you know it's not choke full of chemicals masking the urine smell.

Nolan waiting for his friends to arrive!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Smart for Life

Do you remember my post highlighting the HUGE giveaway Smart for Life is doing? Be sure to check it out and enter. As promised, here is my review!

Smart for Life is headquartered in Boca Raton and has in person weight loss centers in addition to their online available diet products. At their centers, clients can have one-on-one supervision from a Doctor.  These include a line of cookie diet products designed to curb a sweet tooth craving for those trying to watch what they eat. They recommend their cookies for breakfast, lunch and snacks and then a sensible regular dinner. The benefits of this are that it slowly trains a person to eat small frequent meals. They also encourage healthy traits like increasing water intake and light exercise.

Smart for Life sent me a few of their items to sample.  I used the tasty treats as snacks and did not attempt to diet with them.

Now for the fun part... how did they taste? The cookies were definitely filling. They were tastier than other protein bars I've had and contain no additives or preservatives and are high in protein. One of my favorite things about Smart for Life is their new gluten free line. You can see Nolan above trying to pick out which snack we should sample next. All three of those products were gluten free!! He was thrilled that he could try them too!

If you've been thinking of trying to loose a few pounds and want an in home solution check out the Smart for Life program!

To find out more about Smart for Life check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and check out their site.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Homemade Popsicles!!

Disclosure: I received this product in order to complete a review.

Ice cream and other cold deserts are the boys' favorite summer treats. Nolan like to think he's smart and will tell me he's hungry. When I ask him what he wants he'll say, "Hmm I think it has to be something cold." I've made homemade popsicles in the past but with the plastic tubs you fill and place a stick in. They were fun but hard to get out of the molds and I usually lost about half in the molds not to mention the drippy mess. I tried out FoodWorks silicone reuseable ice pop molds and we're hooked!! They sell a colorful set of six on Amazon and were a perfect addition to our Easter baskets this year. 

They are individual silicone tubes with lids for easy no spill freezing. Because they are silicone I simply twist the tube to release the popsicle and hand to the boys. Even C can manage to get most of the popsicle out by himself. Nolan can't quite yet eat the plastic sugar filled ones the grocery stores sell yet. He doesn't push the ice up by himself so he ends up just drinking from it as it melts. I was afraid he'd do the same with these but the thickness of the silicone helped him get a grip and he easily popped it up to eat!

What I love most about them was that I could fill them with no sugar added items and feel better about my kiddos snacks. Our first batch was simply 100% juice I had on hand and some strawberries and pears that were overripe. I mixed it all in the blender and poured in. A few hours later, I offered the fun snack and the boys thought they were really getting something special. It was much better received than if I had just handed them the fruit and some juice!

I've already concocted a few recipes that hide veggies too. It's also been a great way to use a few of the fruits that we end up with that the boys don't love. Cantaloupe and honeydew for instance! Yogurt based pops for a little more calories have been on our menu too.

These are BPA free and FDA approved for food use too. For busy moms they are dishwasher safe even. FoodWorks really wants to be sure you're happy with your purchase. They send out a great FAQ and recipes to get you started. I loved the tips and tricks section but found htem very easy to use even without reading ahead of time. These would also be awesome for some mommy wine-sicles!! oh the possibilities!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Birth humor!

Not my picture but I had to share!! Hilarious. I'd love to find a card like this haha. Imagine sending it to all your friends after birth addressed from their babies.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Online Karate and GIVEAWAY!!

Disclosure: I received this product to facilitate a review.

Ninja Nolan is scared of classes or group events. Seems crazy I know but if it's a lesson or class he wants nothing to do with it. If it's ninja play or soccer play in a big group he's fine but tell him it's a class and he shuts down. Our friends take karate and our mom's group has monthly karate events too and my little guy just won't do it. When I offered him the chance to learn karate at home he was excited!!

Martial Arts for Kids is the first online open classroom where children can learn karate at their own pace with interactive online instructors. Besides the normal self defense it aims to teach the children respect, discipline, and how to stay physically fit! The part about being fun is a given too. The course comes with 13 lessons and a digital handbook. We viewed out lessons on our laptop and handheld device and then had fun practicing. Five of Nolan's buddies also tested out the series and had a blast from the comfort of their home.

Here's what mom of two Courtney had to say: "They have absolutely enjoyed it. It has been such a fun experience watching them follow along to the videos. It's an extra bonus that we can do it from home whenever convenient for us."

Krista, mom of two young energetic boys, says, "We love the convenience and flexibility of learning karate from home. The ability to take a karate class whenever the mood strikes the kids has been a blast. They love showing off their new skills."

Do you have little ninja's at home or children who you'd like to get active without breaking the bank? Check out Martial Arts for Kids

Do you want to win a membership for your very own Martial Arts for Kids online program?? It's easy. Just comment below on this blog post with your favorite Karate flick. Want a bonus second entry? Read another blog post here on LeMastering Motherhood and comment a second time on this post with which additional blog post you read. Winner will be drawn May 15th! Who knows we may get lucky and give away more than one copy so be sure to enter and spread the word!!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, all opinions are my own.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tea Overflow!!

Disclosure: I received this product as part of a review.

There are lots of tea varieties in the LeMaster household and I'll be reviewing a few different kinds on my blog here in the upcoming weeks. We've fully acclimated to southern life and drink tea most of the time. I never order soda in a restaurant anymore. Besides iced tea though, I've always enjoyed hot tea. Recently, I received a sample of matcha white tea powder. If you're like me you've never heard of matcha! I started with google and learned that matcha refers to a find ground powdered tea.

Instead of a bundle or tea bag of various tea leaves the leaves of green or white tea are stone ground to a fine powder and the whole powder is mixed with water for the tea. It's best to use hot but non boiling water to develop the flavor. Tea provides many antioxidants and is touted for other more natural benefits and consuming the entire leaf is said to give one more of those goodies!

So how does it taste you're asking?? I will admit it's strange mixing in the powder and turns to an almost coffee like consistency. I was worried I might not like but that wasn't the case at all. I was pleasantly surprised. It's actually quite yummy and delicate with very little bitter notes. It gives a very rich full feeling when you drink it too. Elsewhere I've heard the benefits of drinking green tea touted as weigh loss. This tea is very filling so I'd imagine it'd help control your appetite and let you feel like you're drinking something more than water with minimal calories. It'd also be great in a smoothie!! I've heard it's great with milk instead of water too! If you are a fan of teas I'd definitely give it a try! Check out Red Leaf Tea available on Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, all opinions are my own.