Friday, July 30, 2010

New feature.... Etsy Bitsy Sunday

I love etsy. Seriously. It's like a giant craft fair where you can find anything you're looking for and stuff you didn't even know you were looking for! I could spend hours just looking at all the awesome handmade items on etsy. oh wait...I do!

In appreciation of all things etsy, I'm starting a new weekly feature... Etsy Bitsy Sunday.
Each Sunday, I will tell you about one interesting item I found on etsy. Well at least promises that it won't be more.
So, tune in this Sunday for the first installment of Etsy Bitsy Sunday- and until then, check out MY etsy shop [yes, this is my shameless plug.]

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Posted by The Spears Family at 10:39 PM Comments Links to this post

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Chicks! Candles

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SanLori is a gift company run by two college friends, Sandra Marbaise (San) and Lorraine Maxwell (Lori). They took the business plunge after deciding that they could build a creative, thriving business and also have an active family life. And they never looked back.

SanLori currently offers stationery, including birth announcements, kids party invitations, thank you cards, wedding invitations, and much more. Their designs are adorably unique and stunning.
Recently, SanLori has introduced new line of products…candles!

These aren’t just any old candles either! Their Hot Chicks! Candles, which are available in 6 deliciously chic scents, are 8oz. poured glass candles standing approximately 4 inches tall. They come adorably packaged in a white gift box decorated with yellow antique swirls as well as yellow and pink Hot Chicks! The package is topped off with a hot pink "feather puff"! There is also a "TO" and FROM" space right on the box, making this a great gift item for family, friends and co-workers!

SanLori was gracious enough to send me a Hot Chick candle, which my 3 year old daughter promptly claimed as her own. What can I say- the child is in love with all things girly! I think that’s great news for this company though- I loved the packaging and so did my daughter…meaning their products appeal to girly girls of all ages!

In addition to the Hot Chick candle, I was also sent samples of all 6 scents that SanLori offers in this product line. Here’s a breakdown of each scent, as described on their website:

"Cosmo Compatible" - a fruit infused mélange of cranberry and citrus liqueur reminiscent of a very popular cocktail a’ la Carrie Bradshaw

"La Vie Gypsy!" - combines the ancient oils of Sandalwood and Patchouli known for their earthy notes

"Espresso Yourself" – contains the warm, rich flavor of a cappuccino along with the sweet infusion of Hazelnut

"Olive My Love" - combines the fragrances of olive, sage and thyme to create a fresh and light fragrance mixture that is contemporary and carefree

"Sea & Be Seen" - contains Ocean Breeze and White Ginger scents, infused with a light floral scent that will take you back to the beach

"French Kiss" - combines the fragrances of lavender fields and the lemony scent of verbena that infuses this candle with an energizing and mood-enhancing quality

My favorite of these scents are Espresso Yourself and French Kiss.

I LOVED the Espresso Yourself candle! Seriously- it smells SO GOOD! I was actually quite shocked that I liked this one so much, because I am NOT a coffee person. At all. But something about this mixture of scents seriouly made me want to just lick this candle! HAHA! I didn’t, of course, but I really loved the way it smelled… rich, creamy, and deliciously yummy! I guess I’m just a sucker for Hazelnut! This candle would be great to burn in a living room or dining area…it’s very warm and inviting.

I like the French Kiss Hot Chicks! Candle for a bedroom. It’s a sweet, airy scent that makes you feel carefree and in love, running through poppy fields. Well, that’s what it makes me think of at least! It is also supposed to have mood-enhancing qualities…who wouldn’t welcome that?!

As mentioned before, these candles are approximately 8 oz, in a 4 inch tall glass container. They also come packaged in an adorable, super chic gift box and are reasonably priced at $15. You can purchase online at SanLori. Or, you can enter to win one!

Yep, that’s right, SanLori is giving away one each of their deliciously scented Hot Chick candles to fans who comment on this blog, their Facebook or Twitter fan pages or the SanLori blog. When you comment, just say which scent you would prefer. Winners will be selected randomly. Six candles total will be awarded. Winners will be announced on July 30, 2010.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned items from SanLori for agreeing to do this review. All opinions are my own. Winners for the Candle Giveaway will be selected by SanLori and prizes issued accordingly.

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Posted by The Spears Family at 5:07 AM Comments Links to this post

Monday, July 19, 2010

Suddenly Salad Pasta Review & Giveaway

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WINNER: The winner of this contest Tracie Trump who says... "I have been makingthem for years and my favorite add in is fresh chicken breast!" Congratulations, Tracie! I hope you enjoy your prize pack from Betty Crocker & MyBlogSpark!

Obviously, I’ve heard of the Betty Crocker ‘Suddenly Salad” product before, I live in SC, not under a rock! But, although I have heard of it, I have never purchased it. Admittedly I’m not much of a cook. [NOTE: I am trying to make progress in that area- Grilled cheese is my specialty!]

Anywho, a few weeks ago, the folks over at Betty Crocker, through MyBlog Spark, were kind enough to offer me the opportunity to participate in their “Suddenly Delicious” campaign in which, I received a sample of the GREEK Suddenly Salad Pasta, a Pyrex storage container, a Zak! Designs serving bowl and an insulated tote.

Last weekend, my in-laws came over for dinner, so I decided to give the Suddenly Salad a try. Since I was also cooking chicken wings, I needed something that would be very low maintenance.
Well, I can now honestly say that I was missing out by not trying this product before.
I say this for several reasons:
1- It was EASY! Seriously… Boil the water, add the noodles, and let them cook. Drain, rinse and add the seasoning. The End.
2- It was GOOD! My in-laws loved it! I thought it was really good…and I’m not typically one to eat colored noodles. [Nothing against noodles. I don’t tend to eat colored chips either.]

As if these two reason’s aren’t enough, Suddenly Salad comes in a variety of flavors which you can check out here. You’ll find great recipes, including one for Greek Tossed Pasta Salad, using Suddenly Salad Caesar pasta salad mix, and Garden Ranch Pasta Salad, using Suddenly Salad ranch & bacon pasta salad mix. When I made the Greek Pasta Salad, I did add some Parmesan cheese in after mixing it.

Have you ever used any of the Suddenly Salad products? Do you have a special recipe for these products to share? What would be the idea atmosphere to have such a quick, easy and delicious Suddenly Salad product on hand to make?

Answer 2 to 3 of theses questions, and you’ll be entered to win a “Suddenly Delicious” prize pack of your own from Betty Crocker via MyBlog Spark. The Prize pack contains a sample of the Suddenly Salad Pasta mix, a Pyrex storage container, a Zak! Designs serving bowl and an insulated tote.

For extra entries:
1- Follow me via GFC and leave a comment.
2- Blog about this contest on your blog and leave a comment with the link.

Leave a separate comment for each entry.
You must complete the mandatory entry for extra entries to count.

Contest will run until 10pm EST on Friday, July 30, 2010.
Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned items from Betty Crocker via MyBlog Spark for agreeing to do this review. All opinions are my own.

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Posted by The Spears Family at 2:27 PM Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sometimes a girl just wants to be...


There are so many "artistic" things that I want to do!

1. Learn to do website [blog] design - This is at the TOP of my list. I REALLY want to learn to do this! I know enough to build a basic site, but I want to learn Flash and CSS and all the cool stuff!
2. Learn to sew.
3. Learn to smock.
4. Learn to make delicious dinner... but do it quickly.
5. Learn to use a crock pot.
6. Have a tie-dye day with my DD.
7. Spend a Sunday morning downtown w/my DH taking photographs.
8. Learn to applique.

I hope that one day I will find the time to do them all, but right now, with working outside the home full-time, an active [high-maintenance] three year old, a husband who loves to spend time doing things as a family [God bless him for that!] and trying to prep our house to put it on the market... well I'm feeling like I'll never have time to learn anything again! Guess it's a good thing I marked "Learn to Sew" off already, huh?
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Posted by The Spears Family at 11:30 PM 2 comments Links to this post

Monday, July 12, 2010

Adorable, Afforable Hairbow Sets!

If you're mom to a little girl, you probably have the same obsession with hairbows that I do. I love adorable hairbows! Solid, striped, curly, shaped...each outfit must have their own. My little one is now three and, to her father's dismay, she shares the same love of hairbows [and shoes] as I.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a link to a contest in which the blogger was giving away hairbows. Of course, I'm not going to turn down the opportunity to win free hairbows, so I decided to check it out. I am so glad that I did!

Cami, the creator of Baby Hair Bows makes the cutest little hairbows.. and even better... she sells them in sets! I looked through her photos and saw several that I loved. Guess what?!?! I was a winner in the contest! I choose the bandana set to go with an adorable cowgirl pillowcase dress I made. I received my hairbows in the mail very quickly and let me say, the bows are even cuter in person!

Have I mentioned that I love adorable hairbows?!?! Even more I love adorable hairbows that are also AFFORDABLE. Baby Hair Bows are @ $5 per SET! Yes, that's TWO HAIRBOWS for FIVE DOLLARS!

I decided that I must find out more about this wonderful woman who makes and sells these super sweet hairbows at awesome prices. So I did.

Who are you and where are you from?
I'm Cami, a 27-year-old mother of two girls under 2 years old. I'm originally from Houston, TX but my husband's in the Air Force so we move often. We're currently in Monterey, CA and loving living on the beach.

Why hairbows?
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I noticed the growing trend of putting baby girls in hair bows. But I had a difficult time finding hairbows and if I could find them, they were outrageously expensive or didn't come in the colors that matched the clothes I had for her. So I decided to learn how to make my own.

How did you get started in the hairbow making business?
I tried several different types but settled on one kind of bow that I liked the best and was good at making. After making a set for my daughter, I started giving them out as presents and then did a demonstration at church on how to make them. I made so many bows that I decided to start selling them. So I set up my blog and started selling them mostly by word of mouth. Last year a friend and I shared a booth at a craft fair and sold our hair bow creations. It was a lot of fun.

How long have you been making bows?
About 3 years

How long have you been selling them?
About 2 years

How long does it take to make a set?
Once I get all the materials together, I can make a pair of hairbows in about 8 minutes, but I've had a lot of practice.

There is some disappointing news to this lovely story though... Cami has decided to put the bow making business on hold for now so that she can focus her time and energy on raising her two adorable daughters and completing her college degree. DRATS for me, KUDOS to Cami!

The good news here [besides the fact that Cami is earning her degree and raising her girls] is that she is trying to sell out the remainer of her inventory...and she needs your help!

Visit Baby Hair Bows and have a look around. If the bows are pictured, they are still in stock. Low inventory items will have a * next to them. If you see a set of bows that you adore, BUY THEM! [Seriously, they are $5 a set!] Don't forget to tell her that Bloggymom sent you!

BONUS GOOD NEWS: If you order 2 sets of Baby Hair Bows, you can get the third set FREE!

Also, Baby Hair Bows will be hosting a GIVEAWAY Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 16. The winner will get 1 set of hairbows!! To enter, visit Baby Hair Bows.

One more thing...the friend Cami mentioned above? Well she sells hairbows too. So once Cami closes shop, she'll referring her customers to her friend's blog... you'll just have to go back to her site to see who she is!

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Posted by The Spears Family at 12:06 AM 2 comments Links to this post

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Little Looster Review & Giveaway


WINNER: The winner of this contest has been determined. Congratulations to Candace! I hope that Aidan & Nadia find this product as useful as K does!

Potty Training. Ugh.
Not the most exciting part of parenting. A necessary evil.

I remember when we first decided to start, around 18 months, I did research on seemingly HUNDREDS of pottys. I read article after article and review after review on the “best potty.” We finally settled on a very simple, although not exactly “cheap” potty.

“Why can’t we just put her on the regular toilet?” my husband asked. Of course I explained to him that A) she couldn’t reach it in the precious few seconds she would have to get the clothes down and the tail on the toilet before the waterworks started flowing and B) she might fall in.

Our family was very lucky that our childcare provider worked with us and helped to potty train our daughter. She was fully potty trained at 21 months, which we were very happy with. Finally, out of the woods! Or so we thought.

See, the thing about the fancy potty chairs that we parents don’t realize as we are caught up in all the excitement of potty training is that they don’t grow with your child. So, while my daughter was potty trained before two, she hit a growth spurt and grew several inches. The potty chair I spent so many hours researching was still the same height and became more of a hassle than a help. At the same time, she still couldn’t reach the big potty and also ran the risk of falling in.

We solved the falling in problem by purchasing a potty seat, and attempted to solve the “can’t reach” issue by purchasing a cute little blue and green step stool. It’s a rectangle shape, and we put it in front of the potty…so she could step right up. It worked great….except for the times that it wasn’t there, which was becoming increasingly more frequent.

What happened to it? Well, she would move it to the sink to wash her hands and not put it back. My husband would move it to the side so it “wasn’t in the way” and not put it back. So basically, my solution wasn’t really a solution because, while she would make it to the bathroom on time, precious seconds would be wasted trying to find the stool so that she could climb up on the potty. Imagine the messes I had to clean up!

“I wish there were some sort of stool that was tall enough for her to reach the toilet, but was contoured to fit around it, so it didn’t get in the way,” I remember thinking to myself. Well…guess what?!?! THERE IS!

Mother of 3, Monica Mylet, invented just such a product which she calls The Little Looster… a booster for the loo! She came up with the design and need after parenting 3 kids through the potty training process.

The Little Looster website states, “As an extension of the toilet, the Little Looster never needs to be shuffled around the bathroom. All grown-ups can use the toilet while standing or sitting without needing to move it out of the way.”

Some advantages of the Little Looster include:
Comfort - Provides total comfort & leg support for years of use.
No more painful pins-n-needles feeling when little legs are not supported
Confidence – Promotes complete certainty.
No scary feeling of “falling in.” Kids legs do all the work.
Cleanliness – Allows children to have their hands free at all times.
No need to grip the back of the toilet seat or the inner, germ covered rim.

Monica was kind enough to send us a Little Looster to try out. When I opened the box, the first thing I noticed was the size. The Little Looster is made of molded plastic. It’s a contoured stool that is steady and sturdy with a very wide step area, which I was very excited about (my daughter has fallen off more than one stool in her time.) The one thing that I wish the Little Looster had was a rubber grip along the bottom, but that’s really a non-issue because there are some many great things about it!

The Little Looster is taller than most step stools. I think this is great because it allows her to hop right up- no squirming and scooting to adjust. I would imagine that the height is also a great advantage for potty training boys- makes it much harder to “miss” the target!

Here’s the other great thing about the Little Looster- since I placed it in the bathroom, it hasn’t been moved! It fits perfectly around the toilet and doesn’t get in anyone’s way! Woooo-hoooo! We found a keeper! Thanks so much, Monica for developing this great concept and for make it available to other parents!

Currently, the Little Looster is sold at My Precious Kid in Hillsboro Oregon and online at Also, if you’re a retailer interested in carrying this great product in your store, you can contact Little Looster for more details.

Monica has graciously agreed to send one lucky Bloggymom Reviews reader the Little Looster… a booster for the loo! This prize is a $39.99 value and a must have for any parents who will be potty-training at some point!

To enter this contest, leave a comment telling me what age you think is best to start potty training and any tips you've heard that you (might) try for the process.

To earn extra entries, you can also
(1) Follow this blog via GFC
(1) Follow me on twitter @BloggymomSC
(1) Follow Little Looster on twitter @Loostermama
(3) Tweet about this contest using this statement “Win a Little Looster potty booster from Bloggymom Reviews @"
(3) Post about this contest on your blog, leaving a link to your post in the comments.

Leave a comment for each entry. You have until 10pm EST on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 to enter.

Read my review of Suddenly Salad and enter to win some pretty nifty items from Betty Crocker!

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Posted by The Spears Family at 9:09 AM 41 comments Links to this post

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Local Eats - Monte Cello's - Pittsburgh

Over the July 4th weekend, our family ventured north to the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania to visit with my brother-in-law who recently moved to the area.

Whenever we visit new places, I like to have a least one meal in a local restaurant. This goes back to my childhood vacations in which us kids would always ask to eat a the chain restaurant and my dad would say, "You can eat (name of chain) at home- we've gonna try someplace new." I hated that answer then, but now, I use the same line! We've discovered some pretty good eats following this philosophy though!

So... on Friday evening we had dinner at a place called Monte Cello's in Cranberry Township, the town my BIL lives in.

Monte Cello's is a locally owned Italian restaurant that has been in the Pittsburgh area for over 30 years. They currently have 8 locations within the area.

Monte Cello's serves pizza as well as a wide array of Italian dishes. Man do we love Italian food! Especially GOOD italian food. Monte Cello's is not only VERY GOOD, it's also very affordable!

We all opted for the dinner dishes (lasagna, manacotti) which came with salad and a mini loaf of bread for each of us. This for under $10 each! K had a slice of pizza which ran $1.50. It was absolutely delicious! I tell ya, it's a good thing that we don't live in Italy because I think we would eat pasta dishes every day!

So, the moral of the story is that if you ever find yourself in Allegheny or Butler County Pennsylvania, check out the local Monte Cello's!

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Posted by The Spears Family at 10:50 PM Comments Links to this post

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