Friday, May 30, 2008

For cleaner air in your home...

After many visits to a neurologist and trying a number of medications to prevent migraines, (that failed) someone mentioned a visit to an allergist.

I came. I saw. I got tested. And I was allergic to more than 25 things. And since many of the allergens would "kick in" at different seasons, I'd had year round allergy issues and never really realized it. (And since my allergies were a migraine trigger, I got ALOT of migraines.)

Aside from getting allergy shots, changing the type of bed sheets/pillow sheets I use, vacuuming ALOT and taking allergy medications, I still have issues. That's why I very, very interested in THIS website!

According to the website, the AccuClean Whole Home Air Filtration System "removes up to an unprecedented 99.98% of unwanted particles and allergens from the filtered air in your home." That means all of those little floating causes of misery -- like mold spores, pollen, animal dander and dust mites are removed before they settle on your carpets and flooring.

I have a small air purifier in the master bedroom. I LOVE it. Aside from breathing cleaner air, one of the other benefits I hadn't anticipated (but makes sense now that I think about it) was less dust on the furniture. Hey, less dusting equals more time to do stuff you WANT to do.

But the small purifier we have can't help the entire house. So we do need some sort of system - especially since "the boy" has developed allergies too. This AccuClean Whole Home Air Filtration System is something I definitely plan to check out!
This post was written on behalf of

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Make Dinner "Fresh and Simple"

You know how it goes -- the evening rush to get home and feed the fam. Well, apparently the people at Ragu are all too familiar with the drill too! Recently, they've come out with a new take on an old favorite. Enter Ragu Fresh and Simple.
Ragu Fresh and Simple is sauce in a pouch that can be heated in 90 seconds then poured over pasta for a quick meal.

Recently MomCentral asked me if I'd give the sauce a try. We love our pasta in these here parts. And we buy ALOT of Ragu. So I was game. The package was small -- about three servings per pouch. So when the hubby was out of town last night, I figured this would be the PERFECT time to try it out. (Like alot of the women with hubbies who frequently travel, I typically don't do much cooking when the hub's out of town.) I boiled some multigrain pasta then poured the All Natural Garden Veggie pasta sauce.

It was... yummy. The flavor has a little bit of a zing to it but overall is pretty mild. And since the sauce came from a pouch, there was no extra pot to clean up. (Any harried mom who's trying to get her dishes done at 10:30 at night will tell you that's a good thing.)

The boy loved the sauce. He's not a big fan of the multigrain pasta, but because of the sauce, he didn't seem to notice the healthier swap. And speaking of healthy --there's a full serving of veggies in every 1/2 cup of sauce. (If your kiddos loathe veggies like mine? You appreciate stuff like that!)

I've got another package of Ragu Fresh and Simple. But I'm saving it for the next time hubby goes out of town. No doubt "the boy" will enjoy the Tomato Basil sauce as much as he did the Garden Veggie.

Oh and did you know? Ragu has created a recipe booklet with bunches of yummy meal planning suggestions and time-saving tips. The FREE booklet (found at includes recipes/tips from Food Network’s Robin Miller, celebrity fitness trainer Kathy Kaehler, and MomCentral's Stacy DeBroff. (I've met Stacy. And if she's involved, its gotta be good!) So take a few minutes to peruse!
This product review was written for MomCentral.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Buy someone a clue - aka "Raised by Wolves"

I grew up in a very small farming community. As the eldest in a working class family, I was the first of my generation to go to college. At 22, I moved to St. Louis and began working for an engineering/architectural firm. I was living on my own, for the first time, in a city I barely knew. I was working mostly with well-educated men who held high positions and lived affluent lifestyles.

So what does this useless information about me have to do with Christie Mellor, the author of Raised by Wolves: Clues to the Mysteries of Modern Living? Well, as a clueless 20-something who felt completely out of her element, I would have welcomed this book with open arms. Even 13 years later, (and with far more life experience) I STILL welcomed this book with open arms.

Mellor is here to tell you (or anyone you feel needs a clue) how to still save money on a modest income, how to make an "E-Z Bad Boy Bar" and how to be the perfect house guest.

But there's also more than how-to's. There's tips galore! Want to find a bazillion uses for baking soda? Or how about another great use for the safety pin? Or a sure-fire cure to the common hangover? Christie's got the 411.

Overall, I liked the chatty, friendly tone of the book. The writer's style is breezy and humorous. She infuses energy and wit into what could be a very stuffy and staid subject. I just want to invite her to a dinner party at my house, make her "the perfect martini" (yes she covers both areas Raised by Wolves) and tell her that I now make the bed each day because of Chapter One.
Oh and have you seen the illustrations? So darling and fun!

Overall, this book is a great read for the twenty-something set. Even people beyond their 20's will pick up a few hints. I plan on giving my copy to a certain college graduate. (I won't say who!) And I also plan to make Mellor's previous book, The Three-Martini Playdate my next read.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bugging out -- Discovery Channel's Bug Net Launcher

When we opened the box and the toy emerged, Seth's eyes grew big. As I explained the premise behind the toy, I could tell by the look on his face. Saying the word "launcher" was all it took -- the boy was in love.

The Bug Net Launcher looks like a futuristic gun. The four safety darts are attached to a mesh net. When you pull the trigger, the darts fly out. This pulls the net over the unsuspecting insect, butterfly, spider, or even toad. (Yes the net is big enough to cover a small toad or frog.) And if you're wondering about spring action? Oh yeah. The launcher shoots the darts/net so fast, the critter won't have time to react.

The darts can be difficult to jam back into the gun but determined youngsters will find ways around that once you tire of doing it for them. (Like putting all the darts back into the gun then pushing it up against a hard service like the sidewalk or retaining wall.)

As for "catching" stuff, a good aim and a steady hand helps. But so does a plentiful supply of "specimens" for targets. While Seth has the first two, we've found the bug supply lacking lately. But I'm sure summer will bring a vast amount of insects.
Oh and if you're hosting a playdate of more than one child, be beware. Three boys + one bug launcher = drama. ("Hey, quit hogging the gun! Its MY turn!") Oh and depending on the rambunctiousness of the group, the gun may quickly be used for other, um, endeavors instead of its intended purpose. (Not that I had the latter experience but from watching the older kids running around in our 'hood? Its doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that one out.)

For the kid who practically lives in the backyard, is fascinated by bugs, and has a strong love of "weapons"? This toy (priced at $24.95) is something you'll want to look into -- especially since we're on the cusps of summer.
This review was written on behalf of The Parent Bloggers Network. For more reviews on this product, go here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pasta at Pizza Hut? (Yes siree)

Pizza Hut recently debuted an alternative to their pizza -- Tuscani Pastas. If you happen to catch any sort of television programs during the dinner hours then you've probably seen the commercials of hot, steaming, tantalizing pasta. You might have even drooled a little.

The meal (that's supposed to feed a family of four), also includes five breadsticks. So you get a hot dish delivered to your door for the price of $11.99. And hey, if you use paper plates? Clean up is easy-peasy. What's not to love about that?

A rep at Pizza Hut contacted me a few weeks ago and offered to have my local Pizza Hut deliver a meal to us. All we had to do is give them a delivery time and specify whether we wanted the "Meaty Marinara" or the "Chicken Alfredo".

At first we chose the chicken but when we hosted a last-minute playdate, we decided to change the order and move up delivery time. I LOVE our local Pizza Hut. The service has always been great. They were very nice about both changes. Dinner was prompty delivered.

What did I think? It was... Ok.

The meal does feed a family of four -- unless you've got teen boys. (At that point, you should probably order a full tray just for two of them.) I was expecting more sauce and cheese. We are a cheezy kind of family, so I ended up adding more shredded cheese. The hubby, son, and playdate ate the dish. They didn't complain but they didn't rave about it either. It was just sort of... there.

The sauce did have a nice amount of meat added. But overall, hubby and I prefer the flavor of a marinara sauce to be more robust. But then again, alot of people (like my parents) who like their food to have a more subtle flavor would really like these pastas.

So what am I saying? Like most products on the market, it has its place. For a quick meal that's delivered to your door that younger kids would eat? (Because typically kids prefer a mild flavor) It is a meal that will work. But if you are looking for a dining experience and want a pasta with more robust flavors? You probably won't enjoy the pastas.

As for us? We might try the chicken dish soon. But when it comes to a fast, cheap, yummy meal delivered to our door? We still prefer our pizza.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Refresh yourself

The hubby is on my "bad" list. Why? While I was out of town this past weekend, he drank my last Ocean Spray Cranergy drink. (And yes, I am serious. They really ARE that yummy!)

If you love green tea (or drink it for a little lift) and Cranberry juice (I do! I do!), you will really enjoy this beverage. (Grape juice is included as well as the artificial sweetener to give it a sweet taste.) At a mere 35 calories per eight ounce serving, its a nice little treat for when you're craving something sweet.

Ever since I tried this beverage, I've been hooked. I drink alot of liquids throughout the day in an effort to curb snacking urges. But let's face it, you can only drink so much green tea and water. So I'm happy Ocean Spray came out with this product.(They've also got another flavor -- raspberry.) And ever since I've had my first taste, I've been on the lookout for Cranergy at two large grocers near our house. I can't seem to find any yet. But I'm hoping that if the product isn't on shelves yet, it soon will be.
Oh, and once I get my hot little mitts on some Canergy? You'd better believe I'm going to hide it from the rest of the family.
This review was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I may be cheap but I'm not easy...

That little ole holiday called “Mother’s Day” is just around the corner. Julie and Kristen, the masterminds behind Parent Blogging Network, are asking moms everywhere how we’d like to be recognized this Mother’s Day. Ladies? So glad you asked!

First off, the hubby can skip the flowers. The easiest way to get to my heart is to bring me a fountain soda from Quik Trip. Nothing says “I love you” like waking up to find a QT soda waiting in the fridge. (Yeah, I’m cheap.)

And then, he could hang up the blinds we bought last fall, cut the grass, then finish up a certain administrative project he promised he’d finish ”before the baby comes” (Seth turns six next month!). Oh and the icing on the cake would be for him, on Monday, to call Satan’s helpers (insurance company) and battle with them over coverage of his surgery from last year. (The home admin tasks? Definitely not easy.)

I know the man works hard so the boy can be up to his elbows in Star Wars stuff and I can stay home/pursue writing opportunities. I appreciate this greatly. I know that when the weekend rolls around, the last thing he wants to do is dive into chores around the house. He’s tired. Watching a few movies or taking Seth to breakfast sounds far more appetizing. But when he does work around the house, in my mind, he’s telling me that he cares about our home and household. It makes me feel valued and taken care of. It is lovely to feel that way, yes?

So I guess this year I just want the loose ends tied up from a few old projects. And a soda.


In an effort to promote their new charitable giving site, Johnson’s Baby Cause, powered by Global Giving, Johnson & Johnson are combining energies with PBN to launch a new blog blast. And this particular blog blast? Prizes galore! All you have to do is write a post on your blog about how you’d like to be recognized this Mother’s Day. Post anytime between now and next Thursday, May 8 and include links to and Then, send your blog post link to The posts will be listed on the PBN blog Thursday, May 8. (And don’t forget to give your post a unique title.)

Both Johnson’s and PBN are chipping in for the prizes. Ten winners will receive a Johnson’s Mom and Baby product gift basket (thanks to Johnson’s) and $25 credit to donate to the charities of their choice at Johnson’s Baby Cause (thanks to PBN).

Oh and don’t forget to check out the celebrity-sponsored eBay auction benefiting Johnson’s Baby Cause where you can bid on baby gear that been “gently used” by celebrities like Julianne Moore and Matt Damon.