Private Selection Product Testing

I got to try out some great Private Selection products as part of another Bzz Campaign from bzzagent.com. I got coupons to try three different items for free this time. Ice Cream, ground beef, and a personal pie.

1. I loved the ice cream. I tried the black raspberry chip with my coupon and also purchased a chocolate moose tracks. Both were delicious! Black raspberry chip is my favorite ice cream flavor and most brands don’t carry it so I was so excited to see that Private Selection has it! Graeters is still my favorite ice cream brand ever, but Private Selection came pretty close. And Private Selection is a lot cheaper. All in all, I’ll definitely be purchasing Private Selection ice cream again!

2. Ground Angus Beef. I used this to make tacos one night for company. The tacos were delicious. To me though, ground beef is ground beef and I have trouble telling the difference in flavor or texture between this and the Kroger store brand. The Private Selection Angus beef is at least twice as much as the Kroger store brand ground beef so it’s hard for me to justify purchasing the more expensive meat. It sounds like it should taste better so I may purchase this again, but only with a coupon or on sale.

3. Personal pie. The coupon is for a free 6″ apple or cherry pie. Unfortunately, I hunted 2 Krogers (I even asked the lady at the deli counter) for these pies and they were not to be found. My coupon doesn’t expire for a while yet so maybe I’ll still get to try them. I was really looking forward to my very own cherry pie…

Private Selection’s products are pretty good. A little more expensive than the store brand and a little cheaper than a name brand so when I have a coupon I definitely prefer Private Selection to a name brand since I can save so much money and it tastes basically the same.

Garnier Fructis Review

I got to try Garnier Fructis’s new Sleek & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner from bzzagent.com.

First of all, I like the scent of the shampoo and conditioner. It’s very mild, and a little bit sweet. The scent doesn’t seem to stay on my hair after I rinse it out, which is always nice.

I have slightly wavy hair and this shampoo and conditioner combination helps to keep my hair from getting frizzy, and keeps my hair feeling softer and shinier.

However, the shampoo tends to straighten my hair a bit, which doesn’t work well if I’m going for a wavy style. As long as I decide how I want to fix my hair before I wash it, it’s no big deal. I also noticed that after a week of using it it’s kind of building up in my hair a little bit, so I need to use a different shampoo at least once a week to keep this from happening.

So, it smells good, makes my hair soft, shiny, and straight, and it builds up in my hair just a bit. In the end, I like the shampoo pretty well, but I think I still like my old shampoo better.

Radio Flyer Wagon

I have a 3yr old and a 1yr old and we love to spend time at our local (or almost local, it’s about an hour away) amusement park and water park. Last year I pushed the oldest in the stroller and carried the baby but this year that’s not an option since they’re both getting so big. So, I went on a hunt for a good two-seater stroller option.

My first thought was to purchase this Graco Ready2Grow Stand and Ride Stroller. I love that the children sit back to back so they can’t kick each other. However, I have trouble with my current stroller getting wet and otherwise dirty at the water park and it’s so hard to clean a stroller. Plus, I would still have to lift my 3yr old in and out of this stroller. If I had an infant again this year this would have been my pick. But, since I have two young children and no infant I decided to go a different rout.

I decided to purchase this Radio Flyer Ultimate Comfort Wagon for the girls this summer. It’s plastic and it has drain holes in the bottom. So, when it gets dirty all I have to do is take it outside and hose it off. Or, I could have the girls clean it while I clean the cars.

I took it with me to the amusement park for the first time this past week and I loved it! It rolls really well – sometimes a little too well, it’s easy for my 3yr old to get in and out of, and the seats are super easy to move around for one or two children. Part of the time both girls rode facing each other, part of the time just the baby rode with the tray down and her bowl of popcorn on top, and near the end of the day when they were getting cranky they both rode facing the same direction so they couldn’t kick each other any more. It takes just a few seconds to move the seats, so much easier than I was expecting!

And the best part, it was so much easier to get all the popcorn out than it was with my stroller! I really think the girls had more room, and definitely more freedom, than they would have in the stroller.

As for cons, the wagon rolls really well, which is great unless you’re going down hill. With both girls in it it kind of pushes me down the hills. Next time I’m going to try turning it around and taking it down the hill backwards so it doesn’t run me over. On the bright side, it’s pretty easy to get it up a hill.

Also, there’s no wheel locks like on a stroller so if I need it to stay in place while my child climbs in or out I have to keep it still, and I can’t park it on a hill. And there’s a lot of hills around here.

And, I haven’t figured out how to get it up or down steps so if a place doesn’t have a ramp I’m not sure what I’ll do. However, I don’t think a two seater stroller would be any easier and most buildings have a ramp somewhere.

All in all, I thought it was easier to pull around the park than a stroller, the girls had more room and more freedom, and the snacking was way easier to clean up after.

The storage bag easily fit my two beach towels, diapers, cups, extra clothes, and snacks. There’s still room for more beach towels, clothing, diapers, and anything else I need. I also love that each of the girls has a cup holder for their cups and there’s two cup holders for my cups (though my 1yr old figured out how to reach my cup – while buckled in. Every time I turned around she was helping herself to my drink).

I really enjoyed my new wagon, and I’m very happy with how easy it is to use. I can’t wait to see what else I can do with it this summer!

Easter

Easter with little kids is so much fun! From the fun Easter dresses to all the tasty food, and the multiple egg hunts. Easter at my house is always lots of fun.

I like to do Easter dinner for my family so the next few posts are going to be my favorite Easter dinner recipes. I calculated this weekend and I used over three dozen eggs, two boxes of butter, and almost a gallon of whipping cream! Mmmmm!

I get out my nice dishes and cloth napkins and have lots of fun. This year my 3yr old got to help me set the table. She didn’t quite get which side of the plate the knives and forks went on but we had fun!

Bringing up Bebe

Just finished reading an interesting book on childrearing. Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. This was a fascinating book. The author is an American who’s living and raising her family in France. She covers the many differences between American and French parenting styles and philosophies.

I didn’t agree with every French parenting decision that she liked in the book, but many of them were quite insightful, and some were useful. She talked about things like how is it that French children eat a variety of foods including vegetables while American children will spend months refusing to eat more than peanut butter and jelly? And why do French children rarely throw temper tantrums?

Definitely insightful and a great look at some different parenting styles. A fun read, and a book I would recommend.

Smarterer

So, for bzzagent.com I tried out this website called smarterer.com. Basically, you take and contribute to “tests” about all sorts of different topics. I tried out the bzzagent test and the adobe illustrator test.

And then you can compare your score against other test takers. Really, in my opinion it’s an interesting idea but there are some flaws. You loose points for wrong answers but since all the test questions are user generated I’ve actually answered some questions correctly and it’s been the wrong answer so I loose points.

You can report this but there doesn’t seem to be a really good review process to ensure that the questions are accurate and make sense. Also, you get points for creating questions, so it’s possible for someone to be doing better on a test than me simply because they submitted more questions than me.

All in all, this site just felt like a waste of my time. I didn’t learn anything new about adobe illustrator and how can I accurately know how much knowledge I have about a topic if all the questions aren’t accurate?

New Black Dress for the Baby

So…shiny black dresses are apparently hard to photograph, but I think you can get the general idea.

I found this huge skirt at a yardsale this past summer for $1 that I decided to make a dress for the toddler out of.  You can’t see it really well in the picture but it has embroidered flowers all down the front of the skirt. The minute I saw it I knew it would make a cute dress, and I even had enough fabric for the bloomers!

Up close on the front of the dress. You can kind of see where I did some altering to the from to make the very top section of the front see-through.

If I ever do a project like this again I’m going to remove the waste band from the skirt before I start cutting. It was a little difficult to cut out a pattern because the skirt was gathered at the top and I couldn’t get the pieces to lie flat.

I tried it on the baby already and it’s so cute! Now, on to my Easter dress project!

Comforts for Baby

I really enjoy trying new products, and my favorite product review site is BzzAgent. I get to try out real products for free and leave my feedback.

My latest campaign was from Kroger’s line of baby items. Comforts for baby.

I received a free box of diapers (96 diapers in the size that I got), a free container of baby wipes, and two free sippy cups.

1. I loved the baby wipes, they’re store brand so a lot cheaper than a name brand but they’re still thick and soft. Walmart’s baby wipes are really thin so I don’t use them, I’ve been using pamper’s instead. But I think I’ll switch to Comforts. I like them just as well as pamper’s baby wipes and Comforts are a lot cheaper!

2. The diapers are ok, they’re a little smaller than the same size in Pampers so I wish I’d gotten one size larger. The weight limit was the same on the size 3 comforts and the size 3 pampers so I expected the same size diaper. They still fit my toddler but a slightly larger size would have been better.

I think they’re a little rougher feeling than Pampers but my toddler doesn’t notice the difference. They always seem more saturated to me when I change my toddler but I haven’t had any diapers leak or any rashes on the toddler.

They’re cheaper than Pampers and work as well even if they seem less nice to me. I still have half a box of diapers to go through before I have to decide which I’ll purchase.

3. I did not like the cups. My kids don’t like cups with the rubber stoppers so I had to pull those out. Which wouldn’t have been terrible, but the cup is tall and skinny so it tips over easily, and without the rubber stoppers, they spill everywhere.

I liked the flip lid that is on the cups, it’s a great idea, but the cup still leaks when it’s on if I don’t have the rubber stoppers in. If you have a child that drinks out of cups with the stoppers in it, you’ll probably like this cup, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Graham Cracker Houses

My husband had a great Christmas idea four years ago. This is the fourth year we’ve done it and we always have a blast! Instead of gingerbread houses – which are a lot of work – we make graham cracker houses.

We invite a bunch of friends over and make graham cracker houses. This year, I assembled the houses earlier in the day so they were set before the party and kids trying to put candy on them. It worked out really well.

Graham cracker houses are really easy, and a great holiday party idea if you have kids (or if you just like playing with candy and icing)

My house. I actually did this the day after the party before I cleaned everything up. The trick to a good house (in my opinion) is the icing. It’s just powdered sugar and water, and you want it to be thick enough that it doesn’t run but thin enough that you can pipe it. I put my icing in a plastic bag, cut a hole in the end, (a very tiny hole) and pipe the icing out so I have good control over where it goes.

Side of my house

My 3yr old’s “house”. It looks like a tent to me. She made two other houses as well. The party this year was so much fun for her and her little friends! I just handed them bowls of icing with spoons in them, piles of candy, and let them have at it.

And, a melting house. This batch of icing was a tad thin and ended up slipping but I think it looks pretty cool!

And, as a plus, these houses are just as much fun to eat as they are to make!

Candy Tree

Let’s start off the holiday food posts right. With candy! A friend of mine made this great candy tree for us.

I think it’s so creative and so much fun. I just have to keep everyone from eating it until Christmas 🙂

There was a yellow star at the top but my 3yr old removed it with the lollypop that was attached to it at the top. And of course, ate the candy, so I couldn’t put it back on the tree…