Feel Good About the Juice Your Children Drink!

Our boys are huge drinkers. While they love water, they – of course – love juice and beverages with sugar. The Captain is very picky with his juice and many times I have introduced a drink to him and he just turns his nose up and refuses to drink it. I was afraid that would happen when I gave him a Mott’s for Tots juice box, but to my surprise, he L-O-V-E-S it!

I am not one to restrict my kids of the sweet things, but I do have my reservations about a lot of things – candy, sodas, and junk food. I don’t like the feeling of having to feel bad about something like juice. And sometimes there are so many additives and extra sugar in juice that it really does become unhealthy. But I am thrilled with Mott’s for Tots and their juice, which contains 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice*. It also contains vitamins A, C, & E so it provides all the nutrition and goodness of apple juice without sacrificing flavor. Mott’s for Tots was developed with toddlers and preschoolers’ unique nutritional needs in mind.

The Captain really enjoyed his “juice break” while helping me take out the recycling one evening:

Both the Captain and D couldn’t get enough of the Mott’s for Tots fruit punch juice boxes. They are the perfect size for taking on backyard adventures, trips in the car, lunch boxes, soccer games, or even just as a simple, delicious drink with a snack at home. The juice boxes are also great for portion control, so I can regulate how much they have had and help them realize when they have had plenty of juice for the day. Their dentist told them to only have one juice per day and they are good about following his rule. But, you can bet they ask for their “juice of the day” soon after they wake up!

The Mott’s for Tots is also their favorite brand of apple juice. It’s a great treat for them and I’m happy because it has 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice*!

Learn more about Mott’s for Tots on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out all of the delicious, low sugar flavor options available, and feel better about the juice your children are drinking!

*Mott’s Fruit Punch Rush and Wild Grape Surge have 15g sugar and the market average of 100% fruit juices and blends have 25g sugar.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Motts for Tots via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Summer Fun and Eco Friendly Drinkware for Kids

This eco friendly drinkware for kids post was brought to you by Silikids.  All opinions are mine.

We celebrated the first day of Summer with a trip to the park and splash pad.  The boys had really been looking forward to a family picnic, so we thought it was the perfect time.  I packed some deli meat, cheese, blueberries, and crackers, as well as some juice and water to drink.  We arrived at the park and decided to eat first because we were all hungry.

I have been trying to use as much eco friendly dishes as possible, and our picnic was the perfect time to try out our new drinkware from Silikids.  The boys were excited to drink out of something more "grown up" and "cool."  I was excited that they were drinking from eco friendly glass without BPA and leeching chemicals, that is protected to some degree with a silicon sleeve.

Eco Friendly Drinkware from Silikids

While D is great at drinking out of an open cup, sometimes sippy cups are preferred.  The boys were actually both trying to get to drink out of this 8 oz glass sippy cup because it is colorful and holds 2 oz more than the cups.  
Glass Sippy Cup from Silikids
Silikids Eco Friendly Drinkware
Eco Friendly Drinkware for Kids

Other great aspects of Silikids glassware:

  • silicone grips glass
  • air suction keeps top of sippy cup in place
  • dishwasher safe
  • can be boiled to sterilize
  • easy to hold
  • shock absorption design
  • 2 pack 6 oz. glass cups (in tart or sea colors) sold for $12.95
  • 8 oz. glass sippy cup sold for $12.95
  • replacement glasses only $3 each
  • can be purchased on the Silikids website, Amazon, or find a store near you

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Enjoy your summer and take Silikids anywhere to keep kids hydrated so you can have more of this:

Splash Park Fun

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Find the Perfect Graduation Gift For Your #GreatestGrad at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

graduation gift

Graduation from high school or college is a big deal and it's important that friends and family celebrate with the graduate and support them as they begin this new phase of their life. Since the hubby has been a youth minister for about eight years now, all of his youth group kids are growing up and graduating.  We had quite a few gifts to buy this year, so that meant we couldn't spend a lot on each gift, as much as we really would have liked to.  We were reminiscing about how gifts for our graduation were always towels or picture frames…which were needed, of course, but it's always nice to get something really cool that will also be useful for college or starting a new job.  Did you know that Best Buy has a great selection of gifts for grads under $50?  My favorite would have been the Oster Blender.  I would have loved being able to whip up a smoothie in my dorm room freshman year!  (Seriously…I thought I was cool for having a toaster oven and a fridge!)  

 

Top Gifts Under $50:

  • Roku Streaming HDMI Stick
  • Nose & Ear Trimmer
  • Oster Blender
  • Mr. Cofee 12-Cup Coffeemaker
  • My Blend Blender
  • Shark Lightweight Iron
  • BISSELL Cordless 2-in-1 Handheld/Stick Vacuum
  • SOL REPUBLIC JAX Earbud Headphones
  • Case-Mate Glam Case for iPhone
  • Insignia Case for Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Otterbox Symmetry Case for iPhone 5/5s & Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung S-View Flip Cover for Galaxy S5
  • Speck Case for HTC One (M8)
  • Modal case for iPhone 5/5s
  • Modal Bluetooth Speaker
  • Thule Gauntlet Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase City Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase City Laptop Sleeve
  • Incase Neoprene Laptop Sleeve

​Get a FREE case with the *online only* purchase of Sony QX10 attachable lens style camera.  (click for coupon)

Visit the Best Buy Gift Center and find lots of great gifts for the graduate who is moving out to get them all set up, the networker who uses technology to stay connected, or even the fitness fanatic.  Find the perfect gift for your greatest grad at Best Buy!Best Buy

Cook Orange Bell Pepper Nachos Safely Every Time with Ozeri Green Pan

Disclosure: I received this Green Pan as part of an advertorial.  All opinions are mine.  This post contains affiliate links.

Lunch is always a big ol' question mark in this house.  Usually our choices are leftovers or a sandwich.  Lately though, I've been making the most out of my new Green Pan and have been making migas, eggs and toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, or this delicious little bowl of goodness:  Orange Bell Pepper Nachos.

Orange Bell Pepper Nachos

The recipe is simple.  Just top baked tortilla chips with pan grilled orange bell peppers and cheddar cheese.  It's such a semi healthy treat and absolutely easy to whip up in minutes!  

Ozeri recommends rubbing a little oil on your pan after hand washing it and not adding much oil when you cook.  This has worked really well for cooking.  Nothing I have cooked has stuck and for that, I'm pleased!

Bell Pepper Nachos

The ultra safe ceramic coating on the Green Pan is GREBLON, which is non-stick and free of PTFE, teflon PFOA, and other harmful chemicals.  Even under high temperatures, no harmful toxic fumes are ever released into the environment.  It is more durable and scratch resistant than other non-stick surfaces.  It allows you to sauté, fry, bake, boil, and braise with little oil.  Your food will cook evenly every time and cleanup is really a breeze!  I love the textured aspect of this Green Pan.  It adds variety from the Earth Pan, (which is also pretty awesome.)safe cooking Ozeri Green Pan

This 12" pan sells for around $38 on Amazon.  You can also order a 10" Green Pan for around $32.

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

DIY Drinking Glass for Kids using Repurposed Glass Jars

We have been using glass cups, bowls, and plates for a few years now to limit our use of plastics in the home.  I try to get our dishes from thrift stores or clearance but things DO break with kids using them, so you really can never have enough!  Recently, my mother gave me quite a few of these cute little jars that she had saved for us, because they are the perfect size for little hands.  (They are great for portion control for juice and keeping spills small, too.)  I had seen a great idea to decorate coffee mugs with oil based paint markers and thought it would be fun for the boys to personalize their repurposed glass jars.  We dedicated about an hour to decorate our clean glasses and let them dry for about 24 hours.  I think they turned out super cute!  They've made it through one dishwashing without chipping, but really should be hand washed to avoid chipping.

DIY Drinking Glasses for Kids Using Repurposed Glass Jars

Supplies needed:

  • clean glass jars
  • oil based paint markers
  • clothes that can get messy (because as much as you tell a three year old "don't get it on your clothes…it's not going to work ;)
  • imagination!

DIY Drinking Glass for Kids using Repurposed Glass Jars

DIY Drinking Glass for Kids using Repurposed Glass Jars

Directions:

  1. Follow directions on markers to get them ready for drawing.
  2. Draw, write, create with the markers on your glass jars.  I wouldn't recommend drawing inside of the glasses because I'm thinking that would leech chemicals into your beverages..which is the whole point of using glass jars anyway.  :)
  3. Let jars dry for about 24 hours.
  4. Place decorated jars into a cold oven.
  5. Turn on oven to 350º.
  6. Leave the glasses in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Warning: you will smell the paint "cooking," so definitely open up a few windows or do like we did and head outdoors during this time.
  7. After 30 minutes, turn off the oven but feel free to leave the glasses inside to cool….then they're ready!

This was so much fun for the boys and they just went to town, asking for more jars to decorate.  It all cost about $12, which was the price of the markers…the jars were F-R-E-E!  So now, all of my glass jars that I use for food storage are pretty and decorated! 

We also made a fun Father's Day gift for Daddy to drink his favorite juice:

DIY father's day Drinking Glass using Repurposed Glass Jars

(The jars I used were from this product, in case you wondered.)

 

*contains affiliate links*

Finally – A Baby Seat That Can Be Used For A Long Time!

This baby seat post was brought to you by Mamas & Papas.  All opinions are mine.

Baby Brother loves being where the action is.  He also wants to sit like a big boy and watch the action around him, but I can't trust his sitting skills enough to just let him sit in the middle of the floor by himself.  He's getting too big for his bouncer and other baby chairs, so I  needed something different for him.  We received the most awesome Mamas & Papas product – the Baby Snug – at the perfect time. 

Finally - A Baby Seat That Can Be Used For A Long Time! #ad @CptFussybuckets @MamasandPapasUS

I am able to leave Baby Brother in the Baby Snug (always on the floor of course!) and get some work done nearby while he laughs at his brothers, plays with toys on the tray, or just watches the world around him.  I also love the Baby Snug for eating because it wipes down so easily.  We recently started giving him some food to play around with and sit on the floor with him while he explores new foods.  His favorites have been orange bell peppers and bananas, but the carrots weren't so much a winner…yet.  

Mamas and Papas Baby Snug for BLW

I love that the Baby Snug isn't just for a short time in a baby's life.  The insert is meant for kids 3-12 months and it is easily removed so older toddlers can use  the seat.

Baby Snug @MamasandPapas #ad @cptFussybuckets

Both D and the Captain love sitting in the Baby Snug, for whatever reason…but it works!  It's a clean resting spot when we go on picnics and play outdoors.

baby seat - through toddler hood

Other great features of the Baby Snug:

  • extra wide base ensures that the Baby Snug will stay put
  • ergonomically designed to provide back support and comfort for Baby
  • portable and easy to move

Find out more about the Baby Snug and check out the other colors, too.  You can also purchase the activity tray to keep Baby entertained while he sits.  (This would come in handy because Baby Brother loves to throw his toys off of the tray!)  The Baby Snug sells for around $59.99 on the Mamas and Papas site, Babies R Us, Amazon, and other stores.

Another fabulous Mamas and Papas product that we love is this super cute knitted baby blanket in Chevron.  It's the perfect size to throw on the floor or grass for Baby Brother to play with toys and practice his mobility skills!  (It's coming all too soon!)  I love the print and the bold gold trim.  It's made of 100% cotton and super soft against Baby's skin.  It's approximately 27.5" x 35.4" and sells for $39.99.  All of the Mamas and Papas blankets are adorable and would make a great addition to any baby's nursery.

Mamas & Papas blanket Chevron

Learn more about Mamas and Papas and all of their fabulous products on the US website, Twitter, and Facebook, too.  

How to Naturally Control Squash Bugs

Out of all of the things I have tried to grow over the year, yellow summer squash has to be my very favorite!  It is easy to grow and take care of, and summer squash is one of my very favorite vegetables.  You can do so many things with it, like bake, sauté, fry, or grill it.  You can even cook a delicious squash casserole and more.  We also love the green variety of squash, zucchini.  It is more popular, and we like to make Zucchini Lasagna with our garden produce.

When I first began growing yellow squash and zucchini, I harvested just a few and then my plants started turning yellow and were dead before I knew what hit them.  I assumed that I hadn't watered them enough – as it was a very hot summer and I was a gardening newbie.  Well, I started reading up and wondered if squash bugs had taken over.  I knew my dad and brother had talked about them, but I didn't see one in my garden, but then again, I never looked that closely.

How to Naturally Control Squash Bugs

Last year, I went all out and we made a big garden full of zucchini and yellow squash plants:

squash garden

What I didn't realize at the time of planting was that my plants really were too close and it would be hard to harvest, but I did make the very most out of my space and we had TONS of squash and zucchini!  However, before long, the plants started turning yellow again.  Upon investigation, I found squash bugs all up in my plants and I was not happy.  I was striving for an organic garden and didn't want to resort to chemicals, but something had to be done to save my plants.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Squash Bugs

I was advised to just find the squash bugs and squish them between my fingers.  Um.  Seriously?  I was about four months pregnant and still feeling somewhat icky, I definitely didn't want to be killing nasty bugs between my fingers.  But, I got some great gloves and set out in the garden.  It actually became quite fun, believe it or not, to find those little nasty bugs and kill them.  The kids even got into it when I got them (but really me) a cool bug vacuum toy.  It didn't suck up the big, huge bugs, but it worked a few times for the little ones.  My bro also advised that I look under leaves to find their eggs and squish them to kill them.  This is what the eggs look like:

How to Naturally Get Rid of Squash Bugs

This year, I have cut down on the number of plants and am being proactive in killing the squash bugs before they take over the garden.  Here is a list of a few great, natural ways to conrol the squash bugs in your garden, too:

  1. Closely inspect your squash, zucchini, melon, cucumbers, and other plants from the cucurbit family and kill any squash bugs you see.  Also keep an eye out for squash bug nymphs, which are likely nearby eggs that they have just hatched out of.
  2. If you check for bugs during and right after watering, you will find that they climb to the top of your plants.  This provides an easy way to capture and kill them.  
  3. Check daily for eggs.  I find that squash bugs love to lay their eggs on my tomato plants.  Also, if you go out after dark, you can use a flashlight to easily spot the cluster of eggs under the leaves.  Gently rub them back and forth with your fingers to kill them or remove the eggs and squish them with a spade or rock, burn them, or drop them in a bowl of water and soap (see #4.)  Just make sure they die or else you'll see baby squash bugs very, very soon.
  4. Have a bowl of water with a little dish soap mixed in to throw eggs and squash bugs in.  They will die without you having to squish them!
  5. Set out some bug trap boards.  I haven't tried this, but if you have an infestation, it's sure to work.
  6. Get some 100% Neem Oil and a spray bottle or a lawn and garden sprayer.  Mix with water, according to directions, and spray all over your plants.  Hubby recently discovered neem oil for our grape vine aphids and have found that they will work for any bug that eats the fruits and veggies in your garden.  The neem oil doesn't kill on contact, but is supposed to make them crazy and stop eating and mating, and thus, will kill them off.  Neem oil can be applied any time of the day, up to the day of harvest and it doesn't kill those helpful bugs.
  7. Rake up any leaves or debris under the plants and throw them away because squash bugs love to hide.
  8. I have not tried this, but a lot of sources say that you can try a floating row cover to deter the bugs.
  9. I read a tip online last year that said after the growing season is over, leave one squash plant in the middle of your garden and wait a day and then go and kill all of the adult squash bugs because they will survive over the winter and lay their eggs in the summer if you don't.  One man even said he sets his plant on fire, but you know, do that with caution if you want to!  Either way, make sure you clean up the garden area afterwards so the bugs won't winter in your garden debris.

​If you have any other tips for controlling squash bugs (or any other type of plant eating bug,) I'd love to hear about it in the comments!  Good luck!

 

*contains affiliate links*

Win a Math Bot for Educational Fun this Summer!

This giveaway has been brought to you by The Learning Journey International.  All opinions are mine.

This is the Dads, Grads, & Everyone in Between Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.  It's the beginning of Summer and a time when we're celebrating Dads and Grads, but in this Hop we're not leaving anyone out! Hop around to all the bloggers participating in the linky at the bottom of this post to enter awesome giveaways worth at least $25.

I have teamed up with The Learning Journey International and we are giving away a Mathematics Bot!  Read all about this fabulous educational toy in my review.  Enter in the Raffecopter form below.  Good luck!

Win a Math Bot from The Learning Journey International!

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So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Dads & Grads participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Keep Your Children Motivated this Summer with Learning Toys

This post about learning toys was brought to you by The Learning Journey International.  All opinions are mine.

Summer is here and school is out.  Hooray!  Well, it was "hooray" for a day or two and then what?  Boredom.  The Captain is busy, busy, busy and loves to learn, but if I don't make learning toys and educational items available for him, he tends to want to sit in front of the TV or play games on the iPad.  

We received the Touch & Learn Mathematics Bot to try out and he has really enjoyed playing with it.  The Captain LOVES math and Math Bot is perfect for him to play with.  Math Bot has helped the Captain with his math skills and kept him entertained already.  Math Bot features a colorful touch pad sensor panel, interactive LED face, and four game modes.  The different modes are different levels of difficulty.  "Learn the Numbers" is good for D, who is still working on learning what the numbers look like and what their names are.  "Find It" is challenging to D, because it encourages him to find the number that Math Bot says.  "Mathematics Quiz" and "Calculator Fun" are more on the Captain's level and really challenge him to sharpen his math skills!  Bot requires three "AA" batteries and sells for $29.99.

Touch & Learn Mathematics Bot

The other learning toy we were sent is the Go Green Recycle Truck Remote Control Shape Sorter.  Both of the boys really love this super cute and fun recycle truck.  What kid doesn't love a remote control toy?  The boys have driven this toy all over the house (and entertained Baby Brother with it, too!)  

The Recycle Truck encourages kids to learn their shapes and colors with three fun play modes.  The truck can be moved forward and backward with the remote control.  It also plays melodies and the lights blink, too!  I love how the back opens up, making it more realistic and fun.  The Recycle Truck also has an automatic shut-off feature that preserves the battery life of the three "AA" batteries for the main unit and two "AA" batteries for the remote.

Learn to Sort with the Go Green Recycle Truck Shape Sorter

The fun, educational toys are endless at The Learning Journey International.  Check them out, and make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Don't forget to enter to win your very own Math Bot!

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New Products for Mommies at Anna Naturals {giveaway, too}

Anna Naturals

I'm excited to be able to tell you about some new natural products for mommies from one of my favorite companies, Anna Naturals.  These products have been tailor made for new and expectant mommies any all of the "issues" they sometimes face.  These awesome little products will help any new mama be able to enjoy their little newborn more and not have to think about stretch marks, sore nipples from breastfeeding, pain from childbirth, or the baby blues!

Baby Bump Oil™ hinders stretch marks and provides relief as your belly grows. Its light, non-greasy feel and subtle citrus scent makes it great for everyday use.

Healing witch hazel blended with therapeutic grade essential oils, Soothing Mama Postpartum Spray can help soothe and cool after delivery.

Blended with therapeutic grade essential oils, All Smiles Postpartum Spray can help elevate your mood and calm your mind.

Nursing Mama Natural Nipple Cream is specially formulated to soothe and heal dry, cracked nipples and is completely safe for baby — no need to wash off before nursing!

new products

Order these and more great products at Anna Naturals!  Each one of their products are recommended for use during pregnancy and nursing are developed with only all-natural and organic ingredients, and never contain any harsh chemicals, additives, artifical flavors, artifical colors, preservatives or any other harmful ingredients.

anna naturals

New & Natural Mama Gift Set containing:

-Baby Bump Oil 2oz
-All Smiles Uplifting Spray 4oz
-Nursing Mama Nipple Cream 2oz
-Soothing Mama Healing Spray 4oz
 
Retail value = $45.96

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