Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ENTER the Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

These crayon rocks literally feel silky when you hold them. They don't feel anything at all like typical stick crayons.
American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

These crayons are made from Soy that is grown right here in the United States. They're molded and packaged in the United States too.
American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA


Being from Soy they're an environmentally sound choice because it's a renewable resource that's non-toxic and phthalate-free. 




American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

Regular stick crayons are made from traditional petroleum wax- not renewable and likely imported.  Also let's be fair, kids stick things in their mouths, they eat things, and they eat crayons. If you catch your child eating these crayons they'll be okay! These are small enough however that they are a choking hazard and aren't for children under 3 years of age.  

Barbara Lee invented them after being inspired by Jan Olsen, OTR, and the Handwriting Without Tears program. Barbara has a big heart and supports several charities.
American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA
These crayon rocks help to develop a good tripod grip. My three-year-old son immediately held the crayon rocks properly.
American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

Notice how he holds a regular stick crayon without my coaching. It's completely awkward and stressed. I am convinced these rocks are an instinctive tool to help children learn fine motor skills that they can enjoy a tremendous amount. 

The 16 color set that I am reviewing has beautiful shading options for more depth if you're feeling especially artistic. The only con I can see about these is my son cried a LOT when I took them away because he finally split one rock in two pieces after treating them..like rocks!

ENTER TO WIN "Just the rocks in a box" set OF YOUR VERY OWN!

American Mom Review of Crayon Rocks, Soy Crayons Made in USA

Thanks to Crayon Rocks, one lucky reader will win their very own "Just the Rocks in a Box" a massive set of 64 crayons!
Giveaway is US only. No PO Boxes, please!
You can enter by completing the tasks on the form below. The first task is mandatory, but as soon as you complete it, the other tasks will open. Remember, the more tasks you complete, the more chances you have to win!
Please do NOT immediately hit the Green button- Click the *GREY* button inside the boxes FIRST!  Thank you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

ENTER the Flatten Me ABC&123 Book GIVEAWAY, Made in USA

American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA

American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA

If you're unfamiliar with the company Flatten Me, it's a company that combines story telling with your personal photograph of your loved one. They are able to take a photo that you sent them of your child and carefully craft their smiling face into the actual book!
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
I felt they did a good job of putting my child's face and hair into the pictures. They were even able to get this one wild curl of hair on my son's head into the picture! They also incorporate your child's first name into the story line.
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
The binding of the book is of very good quality and it's hardbound. I can see no possible improvements in the quality of construction. 
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
One of the things I loved about this company is they match the skin tone of your photo so it fits seamlessly into the story. Just make sure your photo is clear and in color, they do all the artistic stuff. 
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
If there is a problem with your photo, don't worry they'll let you know what they need. When they're finished making your order they keep the photo on file in case you wish to order another product. 
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
They have a full line of cards, journals, wall art, BPA-Free water bottles, and T-shirts. I'm uncertain as to the origin of manufacture of their water bottles and T-shirts. I will update when I find out. 
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
They also offer their books in English, German, French, Spanish, Finnish, Dutch, Norwegian, Turkish, and Italian. If you need a different language they are adding new translations all the time.
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
I tried to pick out pages of the book that had my son's name "Sebastian" printed on the page. 
There were more pages than I included here, but I wanted to give a general idea of the whole book. It really grabbed my son's attention.
American Mom Review of Flatten Me ABC&123 Book, Made in USA
He kept excitedly pointing to his picture and saying "It's Sebastian!" When he grows up I'm sure he'll keep it as an heirloom. I feel like this is a very personal gift that is unique and will forever be cherished. It's way better than a regular book any day! If you want to order anything for 15% off, use code Back2School_15 on their site (expires Oct 31/2013) or enter to win for free below!



Enter to win a Flatten Me ABC&123 book of your very own!

Thanks to Flatten Me, one lucky reader will win their very own customized book Or any item on their website (up to $39.95)!
Giveaway is US only. No PO Boxes, please!
Winner is responsible for $3.99 flat rate shipping
You can enter by completing the tasks on the form below. The first task is mandatory, but as soon as you complete it, the other tasks will open. Remember, the more tasks you complete, the more chances you have to win!
Please do NOT immediately hit the Green button- Click the *GREY* button inside the boxes FIRST!  Thank you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America!

American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
All Granola is Gluten-Free and Vegan!

Before entering the giveaway contest, I wanted to share with you my experience with this ridiculously good granola. I was very excited to try out three scrumptious flavors from Courser Farm Kitchen, and when they arrived in my mailbox I immediately opened them.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
The three flavors are Almond Cranberry Granola, Coconut Date Granola, and Mocha Chip Granola. The bags have a very nice resealable top and are very easy to open.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
I first opened up the Almond Cranberry Granola. I have to say, I've never had granola like this before. I realize for the first time in my life what "fresh" actually IS.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
The granola was softer than what I've experienced before but not to the point of being called chewy. The balance was earthy nut of the almond slivers mixed with freshly dried cranberries.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America

Usually the dried fruit I've had in my life takes a lot of effort to chew. I guess I've never had dried fruit as fresh as this.

American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
When I bit into the cranberries they were nice and pliable and gave a nice counter of tang to the slight sweet of the granola. I struggle to put the bag down to go to the next bag!
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America

Next on my plate is the Coconut Date Granola. When I opened this bag and took a whiff, the aroma made my eyes pop open.

American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
The sweet delectable aroma of coconut was intense and the sweet dates intoxicating. I don't normally use adjectives like "intoxicating" but I love coconut and this has won me over.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
There was a nice balance of tropical in this granola and I found none of it overpowering. The coconut flakes are large and thin so you don't feel like you're trying to chew through leathery coconut. The coconut was not too sugary.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
The dates were nice and soft and the ratio of them to the rest of the granola was well balanced. I love the pumpkin seeds to provide a little bit of substance in the crunch. This one I ate more than I wrote about.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
The next is Mocha Chip Granola. When I saw little chocolate chips throughout the granola I knew I was in trouble. This granola was much crunchier than the previous two and had thicker almond slivers in my perception.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
I could taste the mocha but it was subtle. Just enough to let me know it was mocha but in a pleasant way, not over-powering. You get the occasional chocolate chip and it melts in your mouth.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
Chocolate is not the dominating flavor in this mix, and neither is the mocha. Crunchy granola is still the predominant presence albeit more earthy with the mocha.
American Mom Review of Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, Made in America
This is probably the slowest review I've ever written because I had to stave off eating in order to keep going. All of the granola flowed nicely from the bags- straight into my mouth.
America
Hats off to you Emma of Courser Farm Kitchen- you've won me over.   Courser Farm has been in the family for over 100 years and has put over 1200 acres under conservation. Right now the land is used to grow corn, pumpkins and a variety of fruits and vegetables. In the spring the Maple trees are tapped for maple syrup which Emma uses in her granola. The fields are mowed for hay in the summer and the wood lots provide cord wood in the winter.

Enter to win Courser Farm Kitchen Granola!

Thanks to  Courser Farm Kitchen Granola, one lucky reader will win 8 bags (one of each flavor they offer) their very own Granola!
If you'd like to buy yourself some granola, use my COUPON CODE "MOM" at their site for a 10% discount on 10 oz bags!
Giveaway is US only. No PO Boxes, please!
You can enter by completing the tasks on the form below. The first task is mandatory, but as soon as you complete it, the other tasks will open. Remember, the more tasks you complete, the more chances you have to win!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA

American Mom Review of Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, 

Made in USA

Note: I was given Glass Dharma straws in exchange for an honest, unbiased review
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA
Scroll to the bottom for a Children's Science Project!

If you don't already know, Glass Dharma has been on my mind lately. These glass straws, I dare say, are changing my life. The cheerful "tink" they make when I brush the straw against my teeth, the healthy weight of them in my mouth as I drink, the playfulness of seeing my drink go through a perfectly crystal-clear straw. It's all a delightful experience. Frankly, much more so than I would have ever thought.
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA
Although not all is cheery on the glass straw front though. My family laughs at me. Yes. Yes they do. What ever for? (Science project on this at the bottom) Well you know how when you're drinking through a plastic straw, there is a tiny space of time from when you stop sucking on the straw and you can let go of the pressure you put on the straw with your mouth and the straw will slowly slip back into the cup. It's such a slight thing you don't even notice it until something changes.
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA
Like the straw's weight. Now that I'm drinking through these heavier glass straws I can't let go with my mouth right at the moment I stop sucking. If I do that, the straw immediately plunges into the drink but the suction of the liquid is still, ever so slightly, still coming upward.  The result of this phenomenon is a delightfully comic sprinkling of my face and surrounding person, then the sudden uproar of laughter in the car as we merrily toot along the highway.
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA
notice the small opening of the sipper for hot liquids
This brings to light two options for me. Leave the straw resting on the bottom of the cup, or learn to stop sucking - then - drop the straw.  Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised at how a lifetime of habit turns into the new family comedy hour. Despite my personal sacrifices, I *really* enjoy my glass straws. I wanted to use the sipper straw today because I'm trying out my new tea "Organic Berry White" from Heavenly Tea Leaves.  

Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA
The silver tin is a very nice presentation of the tea. When I opened this tin up, I was hit with a beautiful waft of berry aroma. It smelled delicious. The tea colors were a dusty dark green intermixed with large dried berry pieces. I steeped about a teaspoon in 6 oz of boiled water for about 2-3 minutes. The flavor was mild, sweet, with a *hint* of fruity. I felt the fruity taste was much weaker than I expected because the smell was so good.  The tin makes approximately 25 servings they say. I'm assuming it's about a teaspoon each time. That works out to about 25 cents a cup. 

What are the pros and cons of the Glass Dharma Sipper Straw?
Pros:


  • Very environmental
  • Beautiful and strong
  • Induces laughter

Cons:

  • Induces laughter
  • could disrupt a lifetime of habit
  • it's annoying to try to tell drive-thru people to not give you a straw. They don't ever understand. Forego this step and simply hand it back to them.

Would I purchase Glass Dharma again?

I plan on filling my purse, diaper bag, jars at home, and giving them as gifts this year. Simply- yes.

If you'd like to have your very own straws, get yours here. It helps my little laughing family out and it costs you nothing more than it would normally :)

Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA


If you'd like to have your very own Organic Tea by Heavenly Tea Leaves, get yours hereIt helps my little laughing family out and it costs you nothing more than it would normally :)
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA

Children's Science Project!

Suck and Drop
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA



A super-simple activity which also happens to demonstrate a fundamental scientific effect.
What will happen when the following three things come together? Kids will love trying this out to see how it goes.
You Will Need
drinking straw
two drinking glasses
water

Instructions
Half fill one glass with water.
Put the straw in the glass.
Suck a small amount of water into the straw.
Hold your finger across the top of the straw.
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA

Take the straw out of the water.
Place the straw over the second empty glass and take your finger away from the top of the straw.
Observe what occurs.

What’s Happening?
The water will come out. But why?
When you suck through a straw, you take away some of the air inside the straw. This makes the pressure inside the straw lower than the pressure outside the straw.
The greater air pressure under the straw holds the water inside.
Take this a step further and put this colored water onto paper that has a secret message written on it with white crayon. You can't really see the message until the colored water is dropped on it, but the water won't go where the crayon was drawn. Why is this? 
Glass Dharma Sipper Straw and Heavenly Tea Leaves Organic Berry White, Made in USA

Crayon is a wax, also called a lipid. Any lipids like oil, wax, and fats have a property known as hydrophobic. This literally means "water fearing". Oil and water don't mix! The lipid repels the water away from it, revealing the message written in the crayon!
Have Fun!
Thanks to, and adapted from kidspot.com.au



Monday, August 19, 2013

Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA

American Mom Review of Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA

Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA

I saw these chips at a party. You know that friend, health-conscious and on the razor's edge of the latest healthy snack. I wish I had her cupboards!


Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA

I saw this chip and immediately my interest was piqued- Avocado oil?  I had to know, are these things green or avocado-flavored or something strange like that? Much to my relief these chips weren't green or had any artificial powders to make it taste like avocado.

Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA

Hurray I can choose my own dip! Anyway, these chips were pretty impressive. The chip size is much more consistent than you usually see.




Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA
It's hard to tell, but I think these are unpeeled potatoes, of the variety that has a light-toned skin.
They had a substantial crunch and while they weren't the thickest chip I've ever seen, they were a nice medium ground on thickness.

Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA
Some chips are so thick I feel like I might chip a tooth on them. I felt no such risk with these, but they were really nice and crunchy. The sea salt is used in balanced proportion, and adds nice flavor. 


Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA


These delicate kettle style chips are delicious, as good as any I have tried. They are fried in avocado oil which is much healthier than soybean or other seed oils.


Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA
One of the great things I've learned about oil is most oils become damaged when heated and Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points when it comes to oils. The avocado oil lends a very tasty, extremely subtle flavor. Don't get me wrong- they taste like regular potato chips. They just have what I'd describe as a more sophisticated complexity in their simplicity. 

What are the pros and cons of Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA?

Pros:

  • A 1-oz. serving has only 140 calories, and 40% of your daily Vitamin C
  • They are lighter than olive and other oils
  • Corn-allergy safe chips

Cons:

  • Don't be fooled, they're not diet food
  • The sea salt was unevenly distributed in my experience

Would I purchase Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods again?

Yes, these are a great alternative to regular potato chips and they add good cholesterol to your diet. Dang now I really want some!
If you decide you'd like to try these chips, please get yours here. It helps my little family out and costs you nothing more than it would normally :)
Avocado Oil Potato Chips, by Good Health Natural Foods, Made in USA