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Tazo Tea Product Review

29 Mar

I wanted to get this review in yesterday however I was not expecting maintenance to come in and fix our roof. We had water leaking into the ceiling from last week’s rain. There is a huge water stain that only kept getting bigger as it rained for what seemed like five days straight. I’d say the stain is about the size of a basketball. We learned a couple things about our duplex when they came over. The first thing we learned was we apparently have an attic. We’ve been in this duplex for seven months not knowing we had an attic. The second thing we learned is that there is roof damage which caused the leak which probably happened during the Leap Year storms that caused damage in our town. Our landlord is also going to get the electric company to come by & fix one of the poles by our side of the duplex as part of the pole is bent.

After maintenance came over we went to see The Hunger Games. I was proud of myself for not having a meltdown while watching a movie in the movie theatre. Since the tornado I haven’t been able to go to movie theatres or see movies with violence. I was able to tolerate both in The Hunger Games. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it. It has inspired me to read the books. We visited my parents for a little bit before going home. My mother graciously agreed to watch Bouncy Buns for us. While I was at her house we were able to see that he is indeed teething! It looks to be his front bottom teeth. That explains why he is so grumpy. I hope he cuts them soon.

Today I ended up having an emergency visit with my doctor. I had another bad anxiety attack which had me freaked out so bad I thought I was dying. I’m comfortable knowing it’s anxiety. I wish it’d stop but because of my PTSD therapy I don’t think it’s going to let up any time soon. I also found out why my ears are ringing. My doctor was surprised I could hear because of how much ear wax is pushed in the back. I’m purchasing Debrox in the morning.

If you watched my poor excuse of a vlog you would know I purchased caffeine free tea to try. I have been craving a nice glass of tea for awhile. It’s that time of the year where I find tea especially pleasant. Because of my new caffeine sensitivity while on Wellbutrin I can’t tolerate any form of caffeine. I knew Stash Tea has flavored caffeine free tea. Stash Tea was in Influenster’s Love Vox Box in some lovely flavors. I’m going to have to wait a little longer to try out Stash Tea as they did not have any caffeine free varieties at my local Wal-Mart. I then stumbled upon Tazo Iced Passion Herbal Infusion. I was immediately drawn in by the packaging.

Caffeine Free goodness in a glass.

Being that is caffeine free I decided I wanted to try it out. When I use to go to Starbucks all the time I’d always pick up a passion tea. I hoped this would be the same.  I was really impressed with the list of ingredients. Let’s take a look:

Ingredient List: Hibiscus flowers, natural tropical flavors, citric acid, licorice root, orange peel, cinnamon, rose hips, lemongrass, and fruit juice extract.

 

I love their ingredient list being fairly simplistic, and not filled with a lot of chemicals. The only down side I have, and this is by personal preference only, is the use of the term “natural tropical flavors.” I feel a bit more confident in a product when every ingredient is listed.  Oh well. Overall I’m very pleased with what I see.

The steps to make Tazo Iced Passion Herbal Infusion Tea was easy. Easy enough in fact I could probably make it with my eyes closed. Steep 1 teabag with 1 quart boiling water for five minutes. After teabag is steeped, add in 1 quart of cold water. Voila!  I wish child birth was this easy.  I added sugar to my tea. I would sweeten it with your favorite sweetener. I took a photo of my finished drink.  Please excuse the use of a Coca~Cola glass. I haven’t been able to get new glassware yet. Everything for the kitchen in my house was donated. I’m very thankful for everyone who helped.

A small piece of heaven in this glass.

 

Tazo Iced Passion Herbal Infusion is definitely a peace of heaven in a glass. There were so many different layers of flavor. I could taste the hibiscus flowers, the passion fruit, and lemongrass.  I immediately had to get another glass when I was finished the first one. It was that good. The more I kept thinking about it the more I realized this tasted almost exactly like the passion tea I got at Starbucks. I gave my husband a taste. His comments?

“It doesn’t taste like cheap fruit flavored tea. I like it alot.”

I don’t know the difference of cheap fruit flavored tea but I will take that as a compliment.

With every company I review I went to the website displayed on the box. Tazo is owned by Starbucks. The Iced Passion Tea I am tasting today is the same I use to have at Starbucks. Huh. I wish I realized this a long time ago so I could have started enjoying this tea at home more often.  The downside of being apart of Starbucks? They don’t have a company Twitter, Google +, or Facebook account associated with Tazo. Also on the side of the packaging Tazo claims to give back to communities. When I went to the website displayed on the side of the box I got a “Resource not Found” error. That was a little disappointing.

All in all I am very satisfied with this tea. The next time I make Tazo Iced Passion Herbal  Infusion Tea I will mix it with fresh lemonade. You can find Tazo Iced Tea at most local retailers and health stores. The price ranges anywhere from $3.00 – $5.00 depending on where you live.

That concludes today’s blog. I apologize it was posted so late in the day. I didn’t expect to end up at the doctor’s office today. See you all tomorrow.

A Vlog About a Mom Who Says “um” Alot. Oh and Tea!

27 Mar

I hope YouTube updates the thumbnail soon. I look silly!

Cheerios and Free Stuff. Can life get any better?

26 Mar

I think my son’s grumpiness rubbed off on me. I woke up in a pretty grumpy mood. I’m combating the grumpiness with a bowl of Dulce de Leche Cheerios. Have you guys tried this cereal yet? I’m not much of a Cheerios fan but these are amazing. I snagged this image off of the Cheerios website to give you an idea of what they look like.

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The Dulce De Leche Cheerios look just as pretty as the product picture above. I was expecting the caramel to either be too sweet or too bland. I was delightfully surprised they have the right amount of sweetness without it being too sweet.

You can find them in your local cereal aisle. Or you can check out their website right here.

All grumpiness aside I wanted to share a revelation with you all. I was completely unaware of two of the coolest websites around that let you give your opinions to brands, and get free stuff.  A lot of people I know are afraid to join these sites since most of them make you put in hours of work and get little to nothing back. I’ll admit I’m one of those people which is why I’ve stuck to finding legitimate freebies. The two websites I’m going to talk about today are practically effortless, have tons of positive reviews across the internet, and the products you get to sample are flippin’ outrageous. In a good way of course.

CrowdTap
CrowdTap is a nifty website where you answer very simple questions about yourself and questions given by select brands.There is a points system which lets you gain points to redeem for discounts, gift cards, and 5% of what you redeem goes to your charity of choice.  Yep, that’s right, you can help out a charity of your choice. My charity of choice is the ASPCA since I am an avid animal lover. You can gain points by answering quick hits and completing “missions.”  I was surprised the questions they ask you, known as quick hits, are relatively simple. When you answer the question they will give you the results of the question. It’s pretty neat to see what the majority of everyone who answered that particular question think. I’ve been asked questions by brands such as Verizon, Woolite, and Old Navy to name a few. Missions are pretty interesting to participate in, and in my experience they are the way to gain the most of amount of points. A example of a mission can be “Post in a Discussion.”

Crowdtap gives incentives to come back with their leveling system. When you level up you can unlock more missions and actions.

So what exactly does all the quick hits, and missions lead up to? It leads up to you being selected to participate in brand discussions, challenges, and the ability to host parties & receive samples. I got offered the opportunity to participate in an Old Navy Discussion about their shoes, and the opportunity to host a brand sponsored party at an Old Navy. I’m still waiting to hear back if I was accepted to host a brand party but it looks wicked fun. On other websites I have seen people who participate in Old Navy host parties receive wonderful freebies like a free pair of jeans, a free shirt, and a free dress for the host & friends who participated. Who doesn’t like free clothes? I’m sure there are other brands on CrowdTap that do similar but right now I’ve only gotten the opportunity for Old Navy.

The biggest draw for point redemption, in my opinion, has to be the $25 gift cards for Amazon. If you do a quick Google search about CrowdTap and Amazon gift cards you will see a plethora of people who have gotten multiple cards so far. I’m about halfway towards a $25 gift card myself.

You need to come back to CrowdTap regularly to check out the latest quick hits and not miss out any opportunities to join actions or discussions as some brands have a limit of how many people can participate.

Does this sound interesting to you? I sure hope it does. If you’re interested in signing up you can either click on the banner on the side of my blog or you can click here.

Influenster
Influenster is another relatively easy site to participate in that gives out amazing free sample boxes based on your lifestyle. The concept is simple: Unlock badges which match your lifestyle. Don’t worry that’s pretty easy to do.  Influenster sends out mystery free sample boxes. Influenster will choose who receives the mystery box, known as VoxBox, to a random selection of people based on their badges. You then review what you get in the box on your blog/youtube/twitter/etc. They hold twitter parties to talk about the VoxBoxes. Do you want an idea of what type of samples you may get? Check out this Youtube Video of last month’s Love VoxBox. As you can tell they don’t skimp out on the samples. Influenster confirmed on Twitter at the last Twitter Party the Gillette Olay Venus Razor was an Influenster exclusive. It won’t be available until the end of March. They also include bonus sample to people with specific badges.  The next VoxBox is geared towards mothers, and they will be doing a spring VoxbBox shortly. I highly recommend this site as well.  If you want to join Influenster click here.

Are any of you a member of CrowdTap or Influenster? Leave a comment below about your experience. I’d love to hear from you. Before I go I want to send a special thank you to my Twitter friend & fellow Mommy Blogger Lisa. She was the one who told me about those websites. If it wasn’t for her convincing I probably wouldn’t have ever joined. Thank you Lisa!

Cakes by Nessa

23 Mar

I am so excited. My stepson’s cake for his birthday party on Saturday is done. I have been waiting for this cake for over a month. The Pickle wanted a Lego Star Wars themed cake.  His mother wanted to pick a cake out of a book from Wal*Mart, but I wanted to go a step further. I have a friend who creates absolutely amazing cakes. Her name is Vanessa & she is the owner of Cakes by Nessa.  I have known her since high school. I have been a fan of hers since she made my husband’s World of Warcraft cake last year. After some convincing I was able to get The Pickle’s mother to agree to let my friend make his cake. He wanted a Lego Star Wars themed birthday party. You guys have to check this out:

Lego Star Wars Cake. The topper is an actual lego set. The stars and text were painted with edible dust.

Isn’t it cute? Lego Star Wars is all the rage right now with little boys. The cake is covered & decorated with fondant. It 3 layers of cake & serves 40. Vanessa and I looked for the candy blox to put around the cake but we could not find them locally. I’m going to have a very happy 7 year old on Saturday. Reavera was surprised at how nice the cake is. If anyone is interested I will be taking pictures of The Pickle’s birthday party and including them in Sunday’s blog.

Vanessa’s work does not stop there. Let’s take a look at some of the other cakes she has created. She gave me permission to post these photos on my blog.

Everything on this cake is edible.

Not only is everything on this treasure chest cake edible, but look at all the detail. This is one of my favorite cakes. I love how the chocolate gold pieces sit perfectly without looking like they were placed there for a reason.

Princess Castle Cake

This is another one of my favorites mainly because I like all things girly and this princess castle cake screams girly. Again, everything is edible on this fondant cake.

Toy Story Cake

I’m not 100% sure Buzz Light Year, Woody, and Rex are edible but the rest of the cake is. It takes a lot of work to make sheet look like a sheet on a bed with cake. I can’t get enough of the hand painted text.

My husband's birthday cake last year. He was completely surprised.

As the caption stated this is my husband’s birthday cake. This is the first cake I order from my friend Vanessa. At the time I was unaware she even made cakes. A friend of mine who is also friend of hers happened to refer me to Vanessa.  After being completely blown away with this cake I wanted to order Reavera a cake this year. We were not in a good place financially at the time, however, so the cake will wait until next year. Have I mentioned yet that Vanessa does not have formal training in cake decorating? Can you say talented? I knew you could.

Care Bears Cake

This is another one of my absolute favorites. Anyone else remember growing up watching the Care Bears or collecting Care Bear dolls? I would be one happy momma if I received a cake like this for my birthday (Not like I’m hinting or anything like that.). Everything about this cake is perfect to me.

Penguins!

I’ve been obsessed with penguins as of late, and this Happy Feet cake Vanessa made is not helping. The water and snow on the top of this cake is very realistic.

Angry Birds

Anyone who’s been on the internet the last three years is very well aware of the hit game Angry Birds. If you haven’t heard it – you have either been hiding under a rock or you have been oblivious. It is one of the most addicting games to play on your smartphone or tablet.   If you haven’t had a chance to play it the game is available on Facebook now. I’m stuck on Level 62 Poached Eggs which happens to use quite a few of the black birds. Vanessa got the black bird’s expression spot-on on this fondant cake.

Spider Man Spider Man does whatever a Spider Man does. Wait, what?

This was one of Vanessa’s first cakes, and one of the cakes that was a deciding factor for me to utilize her cake decorating services. A cake perfect for any child, Vanessa shows detailed piping work in this Spider Man cake.

Wedding Cake

Vanessa creates wedding cakes as well. This is only her second wedding cake but it is my favorite so far. For someone with no cake decorating training I am amazed at her detail in her piping. Her skill outshines many cakes I have seen in grocery stores.

Vanessa has crazy mad talent in cake decorating, and I can really see her business going even farther in the future. She makes all of her cakes at home, and is the mom of an adorable little girl. If anyone is interested in ordering a cake from her she resides in the Southeast Kansas area. Vanessa will pretty much make any cake you want her to. The cakes I am showing you tonight are only a small sampling of what she’s done. You can view her full work by going to her Facebook. She also takes orders on her Facebook as well. I hope she opens up a business website for Cakes by Nessa soon. When I look at her cakes I think of happiness. She puts in 200% dedication into all of her work. You will not be disappointed when you order a cake from her. Her prices vary depending on what type of you cake you want and the size. She will quote you a price before she begins working on the cake.

So what are you waiting for? Go check out her Facebook. I’m going to ask a personal favor from all of you. I’d love to see her get past 65 followers on Facebook. Let’s all work together to give her 100 followers. Are you up for the challenge?

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I wrote this review because I love Vanessa’s cakes and want to show her cakes off to the world.  All statements in this review are my honest opinion. 

Me Two You Baby Blankets

19 Mar

What do you get when the great minds of an attorney, interior designer, and a marketing communications expert come together? An amazing product with a purpose.

Me Two You is a mom-founded company with an amazingly simple concept. For every blanket purchased, a blanket will be donated to an orphaned child. That means whenever you buy a baby blanket you are actually buying two blankets: one for you and one for a child in need. Me Two You works with foster care in the US and with orphanages around the world.

Now you may be wondering why I am blogging about them today. It’s a funny story actually. Well, not really funny. It IS a story. They recently followed me on Twitter. When I reviewed their website (I check out all of my Twitter followers) and read what they were all about I KNEW I had to write something about them. There are so many children in the world who are abandoned, end up alone, or thrown into the system. It’s a harsh reality that isn’t spoken about much, but lots of children do not end up with the luxuries we do. I’m sure almost all of my readers got an abundance of baby blankets at their baby showers.  I know I did. I ended up with more blankets than baby clothes. Some children are not as lucky though.

That’s where Me Two You steps in.

You definitely need to watch the following video below. It’s Me Two You’s first drop off to a child in Brazil.

The baby blankets are non-piling, highly detailed, reversible and 100% polyester.  You can also get the ease of mind knowing these blankets are made in the US.  They look so soft.

Available in 3 colors: Blue, Yellow, and Pink.

I do hope in the future they will have more colors available only because I prefer a variety as a personal preference. The blankets are $72.00 each, but remember that every blanket you purchase a child in needs get one. In actuality you are buying two. Me Two You baby blankets can be purchased online or at select stores in the northeast.

When I have the money available I am definitely going to purchase a baby blanket to give to a family in need in the Joplin area. That way I know that not only will my purchase help someone I know locally but someone else in the world will receive a great gift as well.

You can check out Me Two You at their website. They also have Facebook, and Twitter.

The Great Rye Bread Hunt.

16 Mar

Happy Friday everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the start of their weekend. A lot of kids are starting spring break this week.

My day has just been fried it seems. We still have the plague lingering over at our house. I decided to do this week’s shopping today. That was a bad idea. My husband wanted me to make him a Reuben sandwich for dinner. It just happens to be the day before St. Patrick’s Day so a dark rye or pumperknickle bread was completely sold out. 20 in-town miles wasted, and 3 stores later.. I finally found a rye bread but it wasn’t what I wanted.

I have to give my husband props for eating what I finished. I was not pleased at all, especially since I ended up burning it. Oh well! Live and learn, right?

While I was at the store I made it a mission to try something new in order to review. I came across this bad boy:

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Introducing Hansen’s Natural Cane Soda. I found this in my local grocery’s stores organic section. What appealed to me about this product is that it is caffeine free, made with real cane sugar, and claims to have no preservatives. After my pregnancy I got use to soda with less sugar (thank you gestational diabetes!). With my Wellbutrin I’m not tolerating caffeine so i figured this would do the trick.

The ingredient list is as follows:
Pure Triple Filtered Carbonated Water, Sugar, Natural Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Natural Flavors with extracts of Madagascan Vanilla.

I did some research on Hansen’s Natural. They have a plethora of sodas, juices, and teas – over 30 to be exact! In their company history they mention removing high fructose corn syrup out of all of their products & replacing it with cane sugar in 2008. I was a tad bit disappointed when I went to their Facebook & Twitter page the last time they were updated was back in September 2011.

When I opened the can I went to smell it. Maybe I’m weird but cola has a certain smell. I could smell the vanilla, which claims to be from Madagascar, in it. The cola – not so much.

I decided to pour my drink into a glass. There was virtually no fizz at all. My guess is that’s the result of the triple filtered carbonated water. It looked like regular cola, but fairly dark.

Now let’s talk about the taste. Overall I wasn’t impressed. The flavor of the vanilla was subtly sweet, however the cola reminded me off a very off brand cola. As I finished my glass my mouth started to feel dry. I wonder if it’s a product of the sugar. I’m not sure. It wasn’t overly sweet and didn’t taste like diet, which is a plus.

Next time I try Hansen soda I will go with a fruit flavor to see how I like it.  This one was a miss. Oh well. My motto today is “Live and Learn.”

Product Review: Birthday Cake Oreos

14 Mar

Hi all. I’m feeling a little bit better. It seems like the plague has hit my whole house. So far Bouncy Buns has not contracted what we got. I hope not. Reavera and I are MISERABLE. I felt good enough to go to my PSTD Therapy today. We are starting what my therapist calls “exposure” treatment. I’m suppose to write, not type, how the May 22nd EF5 tornado impacted me. We’ll see how that goes. Everyone around me is saying the Wellbutrin has completely changed me for the best. I do see an improvement in my mood and I’m able to cope with my son alone better. It still gets to me that I am one of those medicated moms. Society looks down on us for needing that type of help. Luckily I have a group of girls online that I consider my support network. I’m hoping to find more mother’s or father’s out there who are in the same boat as I am.

When I get the chance I need to take new video of Bouncy Buns. He’s starting to blow bubbles!  That may not seem much to some of you but to me that is amazing. He’s went from crying, pooping, sleeping, rinse, repeat to blowing bubbles, cooing, smiling, pooping, sleeping, rinse, repeat.

Anyways ONTO the Product Review. I realize that since I’m new to the Mommy Blog world no one is going to come up to me and ask me to review their product. I have major interest in doing that on my blog so I figured why not review some of the stuff I have in my house? What better way to kick things off with the Birthday Cake Oreos!

Birthday Cake Oreo Packaging.

Birthday Cake Oreos. Limited Edition

The Birthday Cake Oreo is a limited edition cookie that celebrates Oreo’s 100th birthday. I need to make a confession. When I saw these in my local grocery store I was kind of perplexed. How could a birthday cake flavor mix with the chocolate flavor of the Oreo? When I went back to the store the next day they were all gone. All over my Facebook feed were friends clamoring over delicious these cookies were. I made it a mission to find them. Were these cookies really that good? Two weeks later they were back in my local grocery stores. I almost have given up hope. Victory is mine!

There's a surprise on the back..

When you look at the Birthday Cake Oreo it is your typical Oreo design which has been used since 1952. When you flip the cookie over there’s a surprise..

Happy Birthday Oreo!

If you’re unable to see the picture the other side of the Oreo has a single candle in the middle with the text “OREO 100”. I believe the design around the text is suppose to represent frosting design of a cake. It would have been nice to have the design on both sides from a design standpoint but I’m not complaining.

Front/Side/Back/Whatever you want to call it aside let’s talk about the most interesting part of these little bad boys. You know what I’m talking about: The mysterious birthday cake filling.

Can birthday cake and chocolate really mix?

This picture does not do it justice. If you’ve ever paid attention to the inside of an Oreo cookie the filling is fairly thick. That can make it difficult to pull apart for those of us who like to open the oreo, lick the filling, then eat the cookie. Most of the time they usually break. Not this cookie. I was able to pull it apart easily. The color of this filling is more of an off color white compared to the white filling of a regular Oreo. Now comes the test. What exactly does the filling taste like? Could Oreo really pull this off?

Look at all the color.

The aroma of the filling reminded me of a birthday cake covered in buttercream frosting. Questions, and prejudice aside I took a taste.

It was amazing. I think my tongue died and went to cookie heaven. 

It tastes exactly like a birthday cake. I was expecting the taste to be overwhelming but it was not. It was just the right amount of birthday cake goodness. I was also delighted to see the extra sprinkles when I licked. The filling was a lot more creamier than a regular Oreo. This Oreo was made for us who eat the filling first! I just know it. But what about eating the cookie whole. Can birthday cake and chocolate really go good together?

The mystery is solved.

The answer? Absolutely! The combination is perfect. It’s like it was always meant to be. It wasn’t overly sweet together. The chocolate was in complete harmony with the birthday cake filling.

So how did these cookies go over with my family? Unfortunately my stepson was sick so he couldn’ try them but my husband loved them. As my stepson is an Oreo fan as well I am very sure these will go over nicely with them. That is if they’re not gone again before I can get some more. My package of Birthday Cake Oreos only lasted a couple of days.

Be warned: They are that addicting.

It saddens me they are only limited edition. Maybe one day they will come out permanently. If Oreo could change one thing it would be to match the consistency of their filling in this flavor with their regular flavors. I enjoyed the creamier, softer consistency of the birthday cake filling. I hope there are other Oreo cookie eaters, like me, who agree.

I’ve learned my lesson: Don’t judge a cookie by it’s filling.

Want to check out more from Oreo? You can visit their Facebook page here and their website here.  You can follow them on Twitter at @Oreo