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Saturday, September 18, 2021

5 Tips for Family Sun Protection


As we get older and search for the fountain of youth, many of us realize that preventative solutions are important for our health and well being. Too much of anything is usually a bad thing. This is especially true when it comes to sun exposure.  I wish that I had better sun protection when I was younger, but it's better late than never. I also want to make sure that my entire family has good sun protection. In today's post, I'll share tips for family sun protection.


Let me start with my motivation for this post. I had skin cancer on my back almost 5 years ago.  It was caught early which gave me a big advantage in life. If I would have waited for it to grow larger, my outcome would have been much worse. I feel incredibly lucky that it was caught early and that I received a better chance at life. I encourage everyone to take sun protection seriously and to have annual skin cancer exams. 

1. Wear clothing and swimwear with UPF 50+ protection.
One of the best inventions related to family sun protection is fabric that provides UPF 50+ protection!  As a mom of energetic children who don't want to slow down to reapply sunblock, I am very appreciative of Coolibar UPF 50+ clothing and accessories that don't have to be reapplied while they play!  It's a luxury to just call them over to reapply sunscreen to their face and any other small areas that are not covered by their UPF clothing or accessories. I'm happier and my children are happier!  (On a very personal note, I love that Coolibar offers plenty of rash guard options to cover my children's backs since this is where I had skin cancer.)



If you are looking for a good brand of sun protective clothing, check out Coolibar. This brand is excellent quality and has a wide selection of clothing, swimwear, and accessories. I actually became hooked on this brand shortly after my son was born. Someone gifted us a Coolibar baby gift set that included a baby blanket and hat that provided UPF 50+ protection.  They knew that I am not a fan of chemicals, so the blanket and hat were a perfect way to give my baby some extra sun protection.   I've loved Coolibar's products ever since!

My family currently wears Coolibar swimwear that we love. In Texas, we use swimwear for most of the year and on vacations throughout winter.  This year, we are all coordinated in blue swimwear. Coolibar has it all!  My husband and boys have matching swim trunks and then their own special rash guards. We recently learned that the long sleeve rash guards are the way to go because they actually keep us cooler and provide more protection. As you know, it's hard to slow my children down when they are playing, so the less sunscreen that we need to reapply, the better! 


2. Wear hats with UPF 50+ protection.
I'm sure that you are noticing a theme that we love sun protective clothing and accessories! Coolibar has the best hats with UVF 50+ protection for men, women, boys, girls, and babies.  Their collection is extensive with sports caps, bucket hats, floppy hats, fedoras, visors, and more. We have some of their sports caps and floppy hats. They are very comfortable both in and out of the water. My sensitive skin appreciates the extra protection from the strong Texas sun in these generously protective hats! My boys have been wearing their hats since they were tiny. I recently forgot their hats when we visited a splash pad and they were bummed. They didn't like how the sun was so strong on their skin or that I had to apply extra rounds of sunscreen.  It's funny that they've always had Coolibar sun hats that they take for granted!


Coolibar has many styles of hats in a variety of colors.  It's fun and easy to pair a UVF 50+ hat with your swimwear. For instance, I love this Women's Brighton Chlorine Resistant Bucket Hat with UPF 50+ with a long sleeve swimsuit with UPF 50+ protection! This hat is made of stretchy fabric and is easy to adjust. It stands up well to chlorine and saltwater. Of course, my favorite thing about it is that it is comfortable and provides sun protection.




The designers of Coolibar's Women's Lanikai 3-in-1 Swim Bottoms with UPF 50+ deserve accolades. These overachieving swim bottoms have an adjustable ruched skirt for customized length, but offer even more because you are able to pull the skirt all of the way up to convert it to a swim suit! It has a removable strap for added support.  The Aqua Vesta fabric is lightweight, breathable, and quick to dry.  


The Coolibar short sleeve swim shirt with UPF 50+ complements it nicely with the flattering design and pretty pattern. I love that there is gripper elastic on the back hem and that the Flatlock seams prevent chaffing.  It's made from Aqua Classic fabric which is chlorine and salt water resistant.


3. Avoid peak sun hours.
Some people mistakenly think that peak sun hours are noon to 4pm. This actually varies by geographic location. For instance, at this time of year, Texas has 5 peak hours of sun to avoid while some northern states have 3.5 peak hours to avoid.  You'll want to look up the peak sun hours for your location or vacation destination when you make your plans.


4. Use good quality sunblock and check the EWG database for reviews.
Sunblock is important for families. We actually use a few different brands. There are many nice brands out there, but I always check the EWG database because it tracks health concerns of skincare products.  I've been using this website for over a decade. When I was younger, I didn't realize that some of my skincare products contained known carcinogens.  I came across the EWG database and was shocked to realize that I was using products that could be dangerous to my health. I quickly made changes. Over the years, the EWG website has grown. I use it regularly to look up information about all of the skincare products that we use. This includes sunblock.


5. Visit your dermatologist for annual skin cancer exams.
Annual skin cancer exams are important because early detection makes a big difference.  I had skin cancer on my back which was removed at an early stage.  I'm happy to say that I only have a small area of scarring and am otherwise fine. I go for annual skin cancer checks more often based on my skin cancer history. The rest of my family has annual skin cancer checks.   Our health insurance makes our appointments more affordable.  However, if you do not have health insurance, look for the Sun Bus that visits the Dallas/Fort Worth metro annually to give free skin cancer screenings.  The screenings are relatively quick and easy.  If you or your family members have skin cancer, you'll want to detect it as early as possible!  (You'll notice in the photos that my family wears Coolibar swimwear to protect their skin. Thanks to Coolibar's rash guards with UVF50+ protection, everyone's backs are covered in the area that I had skin cancer. As a mom, these rash guards help to ease my worries on fun outings.)


I hope that these tips help you as you strive to keep your family safe in the sun. There are so many easy and fashionable ways to prepare you family for outings that involve sun exposure!  

Learn more
Coolibar is our go-to shop for clothing and accessories that offer UVF 50+ protection. While we featured Coolibar swimwear and hats, you'll also love their UPF clothing that includes stylish dresses, shirts, pants, and more. They are the ultimate brand for stylish sun protective clothing and swimwear!  




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Saturday, September 11, 2021

(Win it!) Superior Source Vitamins - Support a Healthy Mind and Body! @SuperiorSource #SuperiorSource

 

My workplace recently informed me that I need to go into an office a few days each week instead of working from home.  I'm nervous about the transition since COVID-19 is still prevalent in our area. I'm trying my best to stay healthy with a good diet, exercise, and vitamins. In today's post, I'll tell you about Superior Source Vitamins since I am a fan of these MicroLingual vitamins with “Under the Tongue Technology” that works fast, and are quickly absorbed into the body, dissolving in seconds.



Did you know that by swallowing supplements, as much as 50% of the potency is lost in the high acid environment of the stomach!  When I learned that, I was surprised and couldn't help but think about how much I disliked swallowing vitamins in the first place.  When I learned about Superior Source vitamins that have“Under the Tongue Technology”, I quickly tried them and was hooked. I love that their tiny little vitamins are so easy to consume. They are approximately 90% smaller than many other vitamins. Even better, you don't have to swallow them whole since they dissolve under your tongue. I love them for myself. I also love them for my teen who doesn't like to swallow vitamins, but enjoys taking relatively tiny Superior Source vitamins that dissolve quickly!


Some of the vitamins that we love and that are included in the giveaway opportunity are especially timely for September. Since I am returning to work, I was excited to tell you about the particular formulas that I am using:

Sleep & Immune

Our Sleep & Immune is formulated for better sleep and cold and flu protection. Zinc promotes recovery from the common cold and related symptoms. Vitamin D3, C, and elderberry are added for enhanced immune system support and Melatonin for a restful night sleep.

Just Women Iron

Superior Source Just Women's Iron helps maintain optimum levels of iron in women. Ferrous fumarate helps restore iron levels in the body when levels are low. The ferrous fumarate salt may help reduce the chances of getting gastro-intestinal problems which are sometimes associated with other iron salts.

Melatonin

Melatonin acts as a natural aid for healthy sleep regulation and the promotion of normal sleep cycles during travel. Chamomile is an herb that works together with melatonin to promote calmness and restfulness. 

Advanced Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral required by more than 300 enzymes for the support of multiple systems and functions in the human body. In addition, studies have indicated that zinc promotes recovery from the common cold and related symptoms. Our Zinc Lozenjets are formulated with vitamin D3 as added protection for your health.

K2  

This formula combines vitamins K-2 (MK-7) and D3. The benefits of Vitamin D (maintaining strong bones, immune system support, healthy muscle function, etc.), and Vitamin D requires vitamin K-2 to maximize its benefits. If you’re supplementing with vitamin D, it is a good idea to take vitamin K-2 as well. Just one MicroLingual® Tablet per day provides 100 mcg of K-2 (as MK-7) and 5,000 IU of D3 which helps support strong bones, a healthy cardiovascular and immune system.


You'll find Superior Source Vitamins online and at stores nationwide. The image below shows popular stores that carry their vitamins, including iHerb, Lucky Vitamins, Amazon, and more.


Win it!
One lucky winner will receive: Superior Source Sleep & Immune, Just Women Iron, Extra Strength Melatonin, Advanced Zinc, and K2. Substitutions may occur.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. address. No P.O. boxes. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to our email. Otherwise, we will choose a different winner. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Learn More

Visit the Superior Source Vitamins website and list of online retailers.  Follow on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.



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Saturday, September 4, 2021

(Win it!) Learn about customized Visa and Mastercards from GiftcardGranny.com


Did you know that we begin to work on our Holiday Gift Guide at the end of August?  The Holiday Gift Guide is our largest project of the year and goes live in early November.  We spend a lot of time searching for the best gift ideas, testing products, taking photos, writing posts, and planning social media shares. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.  This year, we are going to give you some sneak peaks of items that you'll see again in our Holiday Gift Guide!  In today's post, we'll tell you about one of our favorite gift items -- customizable gift cards from GiftcardGranny.com!  We'll also share a giveaway where one lucky winner will receive a customized $50 prepaid Visa to use for early holiday shopping.

If you have tweens, teens, and others on your list, you know that cash, gift cards, prepaid Visas, and prepaid Mastercards are often the way to go for holiday gifts. However, cash is often so impersonal. The same for gift cards. That's where GiftcardGranny.com is a game changer -- they allow you to upload images to gift cards! At GiftcardGranny.com the Build-a-Card Visa or Mastercard option let’s you upload an image of those special holiday moments shared, like driving through Texas-sized holiday light attractions, sprinkling reindeer food on your sidewalk, or catching a loved one eating a bite of the cookies left for the red-suited guy.

For instance, I created a prepaid Visa for my son that has a picture of him when he was younger with reindeer face paint at a Christmas carnival.  I know that he will love it!  The prepaid Visa is a perfect gift for him now that he is older. He'll love the adorable photo from his childhood that reminds him of the annual Christmas carnivals that we attended.  It's the perfect combination of the true gift that he actually wanted (money) and sentimentality (a reminder of happy childhood memories).

This is one of the gifts that I am most excited about this holiday season. I know that my son will be thrilled!  The team at GiftcardGranny.com found the perfect solution for holiday gift giving with their customizable gift cards.

Win it!

One lucky winner will receive their own customizable $50 prepaid Visa from GiftcardGranny.com!  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to our email with their shipping address. Otherwise we will select a different winner. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Learn More

You may have heard of GiftCardGranny.com on the Today show, Oprah, Forbes, and other outlets. As mentioned above, we love this company! Learn more about them here.



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Friday, September 3, 2021

Recipe: Crumbled Feta and Tomato Pasta

 

Recipe: Crumbled Feta and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients

  • 12 Campari tomatoes (or substitute your favorite type of tomatoes)
  • 1 4-ounce container of crumbled feta (we use reduced fat crumbled feta)
  • 1 Tablespoons of truffle olive oil (or use plain, if you prefer)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil (if you use fresh, add double the basil)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box of chickpea Cavatappi or your favorite pasta.
Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8"x8" glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Wash and chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the glass baking dish.

3. Move the tomatoes to the sides do that you have a clear space and pour the crumbled feta.


4.  Drizzle the tomatoes and feta with the truffle olive oil.

5. Sprinkle the salt, garlic salt, dried basil, dried oregano, and freshly ground black pepper on top.


6. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the top of the feta is golden brown and the tomatoes look cooked.


7.  While the feta and tomatoes are baking, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box.

8. Stir the tomatoes and feta.


9. Toss the feta and tomato sauce with the pasta.


10. Optionally serve with garlic bread.



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Recipe: Toffee Fruit Dip


Recipe: Toffee Fruit Dip
This recipe is great for after school snacks, play dates, and parties. It is a great way to entice everyone to eat their servings of fruit for the day. 

Ingredients
  • 8 oz. of whipped cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of crushed toffee candy bars
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons of crushed toffee candy bars for garnish
  • Optional: Serve with apples, grapes, and your favorite fruits
Directions 
1. Add the 8 oz. of whipped cream cheese, 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of crushed toffee candy bars to a medium size bowl or container and stir until thoroughly mixed.



2. Serve the Toffee Fruit Dip with your favorite fruit. 



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Recipe: DIY Mild Taco Seasoning for Kids (without onion)


Recipe: DIY Taco Seasoning for Kids (without onion)
This DIY Taco Seasoning is relatively mild and does not have onions in it. My children love it!  

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1. Simply mix the ingredients together.  It's so easy to make your own taco seasoning!
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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The 2021 Back to School Guide - The Best Products for the New School Year! (Updated on 9/1!)



Welcome to our Back to School Guide. Did you know that our Holiday Gift Guides and Back to School Guides are among our most popular posts?  I always write posts in hope of helping others, so I hope that you find inspiration in today's post that features unique and useful items for the new school year!  

U.S. Polo Assn. should be your first stop for new clothing this school year!  They have you covered with sizes that range from children through adults.  Personally, my son is like many other boys and typically wears polo shirts and button down shirts to school. U.S. Polo Assn. deserves credit for perfecting their polo shirts and offering them in a variety of colors and patterns. For instance, my son loves the classic white button down shirt, plaid button down shirt, and knit polo shirt below.  He is energetic and needs good quality clothing that lasts.  These shirts are excellent quality and should last the entire school year.


The new school year is also a great time for parents to refresh their wardrobe. My husband loves the iconic U.S. Polo Assn. polo shirts and button down shirts. For instance, the photo below shows his favorite two button down shirts with patterns for workdays and a polo shirt for casual Fridays.

My favorite casual dresses for work are from U.S. Polo Assn.  I'll return for in-office work next month. I've heard many friends mention that they haven't shopped for work clothing in almost a year. However, it's time to shop for work clothing again now that many workplaces want employees to return to their offices. The U.S. Polo Assn. is the perfect shop for a fresh wardrobe. They have it all, but let me highlight a few dresses that I personally love. The belted denim dress is my favorite. I love the light denim fabric and that the fitted style complements my figure. The oxford style dress is perfectly fitted and comfortable. Similar to my husband, I enjoy casual Fridays at work. The polo style dress is my go-to dress for Fridays.  I love the soft fabric!

You will find U.S. Polo Assn. clothing in 180+ countries at independent retail stores, department stores, U.S. Polo Assn. brand stores, and on the U.S. Polo Assn. website

Sperry is one of the most popular shoe brands right now. This iconic brand has been around for decades, but my son and all of his friends have recently become obsessed with Sperry's stylish designs.  My son is excited about his new Sperry Men's Striper PLUSHWAVE Slip On Sneakers. These best selling shoes are easy to slip-on and go with almost any school outfit. The innovative technology that provides light-as-air comfort technology grips and rebounds that stand up to my energetic tween.  The perforated suede uppers give enhanced breathability. My son raves about the comfort. I love that he has a favorite pair of shoes that he is excited to wear to school!


The Women's Crest Vibe Textured Denim Sneaker is another fantastic option for the new school year. These are essentially the shoe version of my favorite pair of jeans because I want to wear them all of the time!  The memory foam insole provides all-day comfort. At the same time, they are lightweight which adds to the comfort.  They are the perfect everyday shoe for stylish comfort this fall!


pediped shoes are wonderful for little feet because they provide good support and have a brilliant design to accommodate growth spurts. Parents will love that they come with shoe inserts that you eventually remove to make the shoes 1/2 size larger. One thing that we've never skimped on is good quality shoes. I believe that shoes with good support are important for my active and growing children. At the same time, pediped has a hack that happens to make their good quality shoes more appealing than most. If your little one has a growth spurt, it is easy to remove the insert to make more room. We appreciate this since our little ones grow so quickly! Visit pediped here.


Related Garments has you covered with coordinated t-shirts, socks, and underwear. They make it easy to stock up in the beginning of the school year or to set up monthly deliveries so that your family members have fresh socks and underwear throughout the year. You may have seen them mentioned in trendy places such as the New York Post, Vogue, Esquire, Men's Health, People, and more.  Personally, my husband and son use their No Show Socks, Long Socks, and Boxer Briefs.  Personally, my husband and son have told me that they understand the hype -- their garments are comfortable and excellent quality. It's hard to switch to another brand after you've tried Related Garments because their products are so nice. This is a great time of year to stock up on the Weekday Package, Week Package, or to start a subscriptionVisit Related Garments here and use code MOMREVIEWS for 20% off site wide! 


Jed North offers stylish athletic clothing. If you plan to have an active lifestyle during the new school year, you'll love this  Toronto-based athletic and lifestyle brand. They offer nice quality clothing at competitive price points. Personally, we have a family gym membership and visit our local gym at least 5 or more times each week. Our youngest son plays in the childcare area while the rest of us take classes, use cardio equipment, run on the track, visit the weight machines, or join pickup games. Jed North is great for our family because we love a variety of activities and stress test our athletic clothing. Jed North has us all covered so that we feel confident during our gym visits!  For instance, I love that their women's leggings and joggers come in a variety of styles and provide nice compression and coverage. Jed North sports bras are also popular because they have comfortable designs and offer a variety of support levels. They have pretty and functional tops too. The Back Twist Muscle Tee Tank Top is my favorite! You also won't want to miss their Wanderlust Headband. My husband and tween love the men's shorts and joggers because they are comfortable and stylish.  Both are perfect for running and activities around the gym!  Visit Jed North for your family's athletic clothing here


CeraVe is our family's go-to skincare brand.  You may be surprised that despite our age and skin type differences, that my entire family uses this brand.  My dermatologist initially recommended this brand to us when I was struggling with my skin. We've been hooked ever since. Their gentle, yet effective formulas help my family to glow!

My tween is in a phase where his skin is starting to break out. The CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser does just the trick to fight acne without being too harsh. This formula not only dissolves dirt and excess oil while clearing acne with 4% benzoyl peroxide, but it also features hyaluronic acid to help retain skin's natural moisture and niacinamide to provide soothing benefits while skin heals. When I was a teen, I remember being impatient with acne and using overly harsh products that often made things worse. I'm glad that my son has the  CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser to treat his acne with a more gentle and less irritating approach. In addition to this foaming cream cleanser, he also needs a good moisturizer. He uses the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion before bed. He is picky and doesn't like residue from moisturizers.  This moisturizing lotion is perfect because it moisturizes well and feels lightweight!

My husband and I also use CeraVe products. Our morning and evening routines begin with the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. This gentle face wash is a lifesaver for my dry skin and also works well on my husband's combination skin. It's fragrance free, contains niacinamide to help calm skin, and contains hyaluronic acid to help retain skin's natural moisture.  The CeraVe Skin Renewing line is also part of our daily routine. This line is seriously amazing for our 40-something year old skin. My skin is extremely dry. I have fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes. My husband has combination skin with similar signs of aging. The Cerave Skin Renewing Day Cream and Night Cream products are amazing. These moisturizers not only help to provide intense hydration, but do so using hyaluronic acid to help maintain natural moisture. They also help to improve the appearance of tired skin which is incredibly important in our 40's.  These moisturizers have been part of our routine for years now.  While the CeraVe Skin Renewing Line is part of our typical routine, we switch things up when our skin breaks out due to environmental changes and other factors. We use the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser which works well to quickly clear our breakouts. This gentle  salicylic acid cleanser helps to exfoliate and smooth skin by removing oil, dirt, and dead cells while also softening rough skin. It's a very nice formula! We also switch to the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion when we are surprised with breakouts. This gentle moisturizer is exactly what I need at the end of the day when my skin is stressed! it is lightweight and provides overnight hydration for my dry skin.  Visit CeraVe here.


Sweet Maria's has the best green coffee beans! A good cup of coffee is a big part of my morning routine on school days. Luckily, my husband's favorite hobby includes roasting coffee! Sweet Maria's is an iconic brand to coffee connoisseurs who roast their own coffee beans since high quality green coffee beans create amazing results. (Read more about coffee roasting at Sweet Maria's here if you are new to coffee roasting. Spoiler alert- if you learn to roast your own coffee, you'll probably quickly prefer the freshness and your ability to customize the roasts to your preferences!)   

We've featured Sweet Maria's for several years because the green coffee bean sampler is amazing and gives customers something to look forward to on busy mornings. My husband has found many of his favorite green coffee beans through their samplers. Sweet Maria's conducts multiple trips each year to connect with leaders of coops and to make deals for the best batches. They do an amazing job and we look forward to their best finds! My husband loves to roast green coffee beans for himself and others. Throughout the school year, he roasts coffee beans for our son's teachers.  This is always a popular surprise. Some teachers even share their preferences and special requests. Some prefer freshly roasted coffee beans while others prefer for us to make lattes or other drinks that we send in with our children in the mornings. It's a fun hobby personally, but also a unique gift to let teachers know that they are appreciated.  Click here to visit Sweet Marias.

FluffCo helps your family members to get a good night of sleep with their luxurious 5-star hotel pillows that provide a premium sleeping experience at home. A good night of sleep makes a big difference, especially on busy school nights. 


FluffCo helps us to melt into bed at the end of the day so that we are have better mental, physical, and emotional health. Their pillows are incredibly soft and comfortable. As a bonus, my husband is vegan and these pillows are vegan-friendly! Click here to visit FluffCo.


KC Cubs offers educational rugs with fun and whimsical designs that encourage learning. For instance, my preschooler is learning to read and loves playing games on the Animal Alphabet Rug. It's fun to practice letter recognition with this rug by telling him to jump on specific squares. We also play games to sound out the letters.  This rug is next to his bed, so he falls asleep looking at his alphabet rug which reinforces learning! Visit KC Cubs here.

Planet Buddies is an environmentally conscious child-friendly electronics brand, with a product range that includes Bluetooth and wired headphones, Bluetooth wireless speakers, tablet cushions, and more. My son loves their bluetooth wireless headphones that have a builtin microphone and volume limiting feature. He is picky when it comes to things like headphones because he doesn't like loud noises or tight fitting headphones. These headphones work for him because they are very comfortable with generous padding. They are good quality with clear sound. Of course, he loves the bright colors and whimsical animals on the headphones. They make it more fun for him to experience many of the great education apps out there.  We recommend ordering a pair for home and one for school. 

Planet Buddies headphones are the way to go for little ones for the reasons that I mentioned above, but there is more to love about this brand.  Each Planet Buddies product comes as a character that represents an endangered animal to help raise awareness and educate children - each has a story about its character, why they are endangered, and practical tips on what children can do to help protect all life on our planet. A portion of the revenue from each product purchase goes to World Land Trust and the Marine Conservation Society.  Headsets come in a variety of animals and start at $19.99.  BestBuy.com, samsclub.com, amazon.com and QVC.com.

Osmo offers expertly created educational games that combine technology and hands-on interactions. My oldest son used Osmo when he was in elementary school and absolutely loved it!  We had it at home, but then the PTO bought Osmo kits for the school, so he had a lot of exposure to Osmo.  It was a big part of his childhood!  We weren't surprised that Osmo's new Math Wizard series rocked my youngest son's world!  We tried two games from this self-paced learning line - Math Wizard and the Amazing Airships and Math Wizard and the Enchanted World Games

Math Wizard and the Amazing Airships is part of Osmo’s new award-winning Math Wizard series that allows for fun, self-paced learning at home. Math Wizard and the Amazing Airships (available for iPad and Fire), focuses on mathematical thinking, where kids join Rupert the robot mouse in building and designing airships for the many islands of Spellbarrow Port. Using math and Rupert’s magical wrench, kids deliver packages, balance objects so they can fly, and navigate challenges like thunderstorms and high winds. The box features two games and contains: 1 Magical Board; 16 Ship Pieces; 16 Cargo Pieces; 12 Balloon Pieces. For ages 6-8 years or Grades 1-2. Check out a video for it here. The retail price is $59.99.

Math Wizard and the Enchanted World Games is part of Osmo’s new award-winning Math Wizard series that allows for fun, self-paced learning at home. Math Wizard and the Enchanted World Games (available for iPad and Fire) sets the foundations of multiplication and inspires critical thinking. Here, kids create power smoothies and meals for athletes across various competitions! Using math skills, they give their team the right mix of magic ingredients needed to win the gold. The box features 2 games and contains: 1 Lunchbox Mat; 27 Fruit & Veggie Pieces; 1 Juice Mat; 12 Fruit Strips; 1 Magical Token. For ages 6-8 years or Grades 1-2. Check out a video of it here. The retail price is $59.99.

Both of these games gave him the opportunity to practice hands-on problem solving which is more advanced than memorization. He wants to learn more and sees the value of the knowledge thanks to hands-on exercises and immediate feedback.  It's fun to watch him learn at a rapid pace! We love using Osmo at home because he views it as playing fun games while we know that Osmo is helping to reinforce the math concepts that he learned at school. Visit Osmo here.


Educational Products Inc. (EPI) has you covered when it comes to school supplies. The days of running to different stores to track down school supplies are over.  EPI has solved this problem by curating school supply packs for specific schools! The way that it works is that you visit the EPI website here, enter your zip code, select your child's school, and select your child's grade.  They show you the list of supplies for the respective school/grade. You then add the package to your shopping cart and checkout.  It's so easy and convenient to order their school supplies this way!  In the past, there have always been one or two items on the list that were unicorns and required me to visit multiple schools in order to track them down. The school supply experts EPI have you covered.  Their extensive database covers thousands of schools. Visit EPI here.


Urbanista has you covered when it comes to headphones for tweens, teens, and even adults! This brand originated from Stockhold, Sweden and has been popular for more than a decade. This brand strives to enable those who live a life in motion to experience quality style and sound without compromise. One of their most popular products includes my son's favorite wireless headphones - the Urbanista Miami Wireless Headphones! These wireless over-ear headphones offer up to 50 hours of playtime. The Active Noise Cancelling is great for blocking out surrounding sounds for an enjoyable experience. Miami headphones come in four Miami-inspired colors. My son loves being in his own world with these headphones when he works on homework and more.  Visit Urbanista here.


SprezzaBox is a fun subscription box for the school year. You may have heard about this professionally curated box in GQ, Esquire, Forbes, or other venues.  My husband and son love this subscription!  They offer several different boxes to choose from each month. Each box is generously packed with products that follow different themes. For instance, my husband and son love the kits that include a tie, pocket square, socks, and more. However we switched things up this month and chose a taco themed box! Since the new school year is here, we thought that it would be fun to have trendy supplies for family taco nights. This is the ultimate box for Texans!  Visit SprezzaBox here.


GoGo squeeZ recently released delicious plant based pudding pouches! These delicious almond blend puddings are dairy-free (made with almonds) and feature 5 grams of protein. The pudding has 30% less sugar compared to traditional dairy pudding. They come in four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, cocoa-hazelnut, and banana. Our reaction to trying these delicious treats was -- Why weren't these invented sooner?! They are truly delicious! We love them for snack time and lunches. They don't require refrigeration, so they are easy to toss into lunchboxes. You'll find these nationwide at Target, Walmart, and many grocery stores. Use the store locator here.


SKG's F5 massage gun is perfect for relaxation during the hectic school year. The SKG F5 massage gun is easy to use anytime and anywhere to provide relief for aches and pains. In addition to the nice massage gun functionality, we love that it has a 3 setting heating mechanism that is built in the bottom of the gun's handle to help loosen muscles. It's perfect for post-workouts. It weighs just 300g, so it's easy to carry in a gym bag. Who doesn't love a quick massage after a good workout? Visit SKG here.


No Fade Fresh is a revolutionary brand that you've probably seen at professional salons, CVS, Target,HEB, and other stores. They offer the "1st Clean Hair Color" and DIY products on the market!  After you try their products, you will wonder why no one invented them sooner.  The products provide fabulous results without using "dirty dyes".  All of the products contain a bond rebuilder to heal hair, are 100% vegan, cruelty free, and can be applied in the shower in 2-5 minutes. They are semi-permanent dyes, so there is no long-term commitment, but the products keep your hair looking ‘salon fresh.’  Personally, I love clean products, but only if they provide high quality results. No Fade Fresh checks both boxes! I love that this brand helps my hair to look pretty without dirty ingredients. I noticed that when I used No Fade Fresh products on my blonde highlights, my hair soaked up the formula for a vibrant look.  I later colored my hair brown for fall and then used the No Fade Fresh products for brown hair to reinforce the rich color.  I'm in love with their products! This plant-based color depositing line of products is available online and at stores nationwide for a retail price of $14.99/each. Use the No Fade Fresh store locator here.
 


Xlear helps our family with our seasonal allergies throughout the year. We run multiple air purifiers in our home, use fragrance-free products, and keep our home clean in order to minimize allergens. Still, we suffer with allergy symptoms. Xlear kid’s nasal spray is a natural xylitol-based sinus care product that helps flush out harmful toxins and bacteria from the nasal cavity. Xlear is also recommended by medical professionals for treating allergies and flu symptoms – perfect to help kids prevent a cold before it starts during the school year. Our kids both love Xlear kid's nasal spray. My husband and I use the Xlear Sinus Rinse with Xylitol and Saline Solution for rinsing our sinuses in the morning and evening. 


Starling Skincare offers gentle products that help tweens and teens to smell fresh all day. We love that they are gentle and non-irritating for kids. These stood out to me because the founders of the company have food allergies and created the brand based on their own desires to have clean products and to avoid their allergens. Their products avoid many common allergens and are made without aluminum or synthetic fragrances.  They have three tween and teen friendly varieties, including Force Field, Birthday Cake, and Birthday Cake Sensitive. You may order items individually or sign up for a convenient monthly subscription. Visit Starling Skincare here.


Celestial Silk hair ties are popular for the new school year because they don't tug and pull on hair. Celestial Silk is a nice brand because they offer 100% mulberry silk hair ties. Each three piece set arrives in a small bag for $17.99 They comes in 20 colors and 2 sizes. Visit Celestial Silk here.


GoSili offers brightly colored reusable cups and straws that are perfect for the new school year. This is a brand that was created to provide safer, more sustainable and more practical options other than single use disposable plastics. It is estimated that Americans throw away 500 million straws and 40 million coffee cups a day. GoSili products offer a way for us to make a difference.  This is a great time of year to think about renewal and ways to make the world a better place.  GoSili makes it easy to be more eco-friendly on a daily basis. Plus, when you are done using the GoSili items, you may recycle them on your own or ship the items back and GoSili will recycle them for you! GoSili reusable cups and straws are nice for teacher gifts. Children will also love these brightly colored and eco-friendly cups and straws! You can look for goSili straws at Target stores nationwide and online at www.target.com.







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