Monday, October 24, 2011

itti bitti Limited Edition printed minkee Change Mat Review & Giveaway!

Thank you itti bitti for sending me this incredible limited edition fall print change mat & allowing me to be one of the 20 bloggers to review it. One lucky reader will also receive a minkee change mat in the color of itti bitti's choice, based on the gender of your baby. The giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada who are 18 & over. This ends on 11-07-11 at 12:01 am EST.

Before I jump into this, let me tell you about the itti bitti Sweepstakes on Facebook that you can enter through October 31st. You can enter once daily to be entered into a giveaway for 3 prize packages featuring the new itti bitti fall limited edition prints. To enter you can visit this page or select "Sweepstakes" from itti bitti's Facebook page.  

They've also started their "Fall In Love with itti bitti" buy 4, get 1 promo. Look for this fabulous deal with participating retailers through the end of Oct!

I've definitely fallen in love with itti bitti! From the moment I tried out the itti bitti d'lish they sent me over the Summer, it's been LOVE.

The Ayannah Print Minkee Change Mat

So pretty & so soft!!! I received this in the mail last week & felt like it was Christmas! My 13 year old daughter went to get the mail, & asked what the package was. As soon as I opened it she snatched it out of my hands! She begged to keep it for herself saying "But it's so P-R-E-T-T-Y!"

 "Oooooo S-O-F-T!!!" She purred as she rubbed it against her face. I quickly grabbed my camera to capture it.


She continued to beg to keep it. I asked her what she planned to use it for. "I don't know. A hat?"

I finally succeeded in getting it away from my 13 year old, & decided to take my baby to the park. While there
I realized how much bigger the minkee change mat is in comparison to the one in my diaper bag. It's 26.5" x 17.5" big.

Look at the difference!

 Normally when we go to the park I bring a blanket to sit on, but I forgot it at home this time. The itti bitti minkee change mat was plenty big enough to lay my baby on! The plus side is that because it's water proof, there was no dampness seeping through. The print minkee is waterproofed & there's a super soft bamboo velour on the opposite side to lay your baby on, but both sides are soft.

She was so comfy!

Then I took her for a stroll around the park. It was an unusually chilly day, & I forgot her blanket, so I threw the change mat over her. I know that's a strange use for a change mat, but this one is so incredibly soft that it's just like a small blanket!

Teething on it.....

Just like big sissy - she loves rubbing it all over her face.

Thanks itti bitti!

Seriously, this change mat is like the Cadillac of change mats! It's very luxurious for a baby. Yes; of course I use it as a an actual change mat too, but who wants to see pictures of that?!? And my pink plastic like mat has been pitched to the curb!!!

For more information in video format, check out itti bitti on youtube.

The Giveaway:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway. Please follow the instructions. The 1st step is mandatory for entry. Open to residents of the US & Canada who are 18 & older. This ends on 11-07-11 at 12:01 am EST.

Montz Pumpkin Farm & Hayride Review

I've visited the Montz Pumpkin Farm & Hayride every year (except last year when pg) for the past 10 years. It's a lot of fun, educational, & a good value for the money!

The very first time I visited Montz Pumpkin Farm was when my oldest daughter was 3 years old. I was a newly divorced mom at the time, & for a few years it was a tradition for us to go alone - just the 2 of us. It was our special time. A few years later I met my (now) husband. Yesterday was the start of a new tradition as a family of 4. My 13 year old is at that age where she's starting to think it isn't so cool to hang out with parents, but she enjoys some of the things we do. The Montz Pumpkin Farm is one of the things that she truly looked forward to!

You arrive at the farm & pick a parking spot in their front yard. There's a large covered area that you purchase your tickets at. It's $6 per person for a hayride (minus the hay) & a pumpkin. Kids under 1 are free. You might be thinking "why drive out to the country & pay $6 to get a pumpkin when I can buy a large one for $3.99 at Rouse's?" Well....that's true, but you don't get the experience, the beauty, & the fun of the hayride when you buy from the grocery.

The view from the shaded area where you buy tickets.

In years past they would allow me to ride with my oldest daughter for free as long as we only got one pumpkin. I'm not sure if that's still the case or not, but I'm inclined to say they've changed the policy because they give you actual tickets now that are collected as you board. Even still, it's well worth the money! It was $18 yesterday for the 4 of us to ride the hayride & get 3 pumpkins (since my baby is only 8 months).

There's a large flatbed pulled by a tractor, with screened sides to hold you in, & a handrail in the center to hold onto if you aren't lucky enough to get a spot at the edge. The Farmer allows plenty of time for boarding, then stands up on the rail to make an announcement about what to expect. He explains how difficult it is to grow pumpkin here in LA due to all of the rain, that he grows gourds also, & this year he planted flowers to try to help soak up all of the excess moisture due to Tropical storm Lee. He also had to lay extra pumpkins in the field that he bought from other farmers to make up for the loss in his crop, so that the children wouldn't be disappointed at Halloween.

The tractor, flatbed, & small trailor that the people & pumpkins ride in.

There's a long & bumpy ride out to the field - about a mile. It's very enjoyable, but makes most adults a little nervous since the screening that holds you in is pretty low down. Only once over the years that I've been there has there ever been any hay on the hayride, but that doesn't take away from the fun factor. Yesterday I claimed a corner & sat on the floor with my 8 month old because hubby & I were afraid we'd drop her. She had LOTS of fun!

Baby girl enjoying the hayride.

They drop you off at the field & give you plenty of time to walk around & find your pumpkin & take pictures. After you're all done, you bring your pumpkin to a small trailor attached to the back of the flatbed, & wipe the sand off your pumpkin with a rag provided by the farmer, & write your name on the bottom of the pumpkin with a marker provided by the farmer. Once evryone is boarded, he drives you the mile or so back to the farm, he throws the pumpkins in a huge vat of water, & you splash through the water to find your pumpkin & scrub it clean. The pumpkins float, & it's usually so hot here that it's pleasant getting your hands wet.

 The beautiful view when we arrived at the field.

 My oldest daughter trying to find the perfect pumpkin.

 There were butterflies everywhere!

 Pumpkins & flowers

My little pumpkin sitting on a pumpkin.

 "How's this one look?"

 Pumpkins folating in the water.

My oldest scrubbing her pumpkin clean.

They have large Igloo containers of iced water scattered about the farm for the guests, but in addition to that they sell refreshments at the ticket area - sodas for $1 a can, chips & candy (various prices), & they even sell T-shirts, beaded bracelets & homemade hairbows.

Montz Pumpkin Farm & Hayride17834 River Road
Montz, Saint Charles County, LA

All in all I'd say to allow yourself about 2 hours of time for this. It's not a bad drive from the New Orleans area. It takes about 45 minates to get there via Airline Highway depending on traffic.  You will cross the Spillway staying in the left lane, & turn left as soon as you're across. You'll see a sign on the side of the road indicating that you need to turn there for Montz, but it's easy to miss. You'll follow the road to River Road, & eventually you'll see a fire department on the right. Montz Pumpkin Farm is right after that. There's a sign for parking, so you can't miss it.

Have FUN!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Louisiana Pumpkin Patches & Farms

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Every year I look for fun things to do with my family. One of our favorite things to do is visit a pumpkin farm & go on a hayride. Almost every year we've visited Montz Pumpkin Farm, but we've also visited The Hickory Maize & Pumpkin Farm, & St Martin's Episcopal Church. Unfortunately, the Hickory Maize isn't open this year. In fact, we're visiting Montz Pumpkin Farm today & I'll post about it later.

I did a little research & discovered that there are others in the area, so thought I'd share my information. I'd strongly suggest calling ahead of time to make sure that they're open & what their hours are.

Precious Memories Christmas Tree Farm , Pumpkins In The Pine
455 Glen Acres Road
Calhoun, Ouachita County Louisiana, LA
318-396-5113, Fax: 318-557-0390

Saint Peter Catholic Church Pumpkin Patch
125 South Jefferson Avenue
Covington, Saint Tammany County Louisiana, LA

Red Bluff Farm
78090 Joe Laird Lane
Folsom, Saint Tammany County Louisiana, LA

Mrs. Heather's Pumpkin And Strawberry Patch
11215 Lee's Lane
Hammond, Tangipahoa County Louisiana, LA
225-567-3493, Fax: 225-567-2307

Saint Bernard Parish Catholic Church Pumpkin Patch
2805 Bayou Road
Kenilworth, Saint Bernard County Louisiana, LA

Anderson Farms
400 Slagle Road
Leesville, Vernon County Louisiana, LA
337-208-7107, Fax: 337-239-0066

Montz Pumpkin Farm & Hayride
17834 River Road
Montz, Saint Charles County Louisiana, LA

First Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch
5401 South Claiborne Avenue
New Orleans, Orleans County Louisiana, LA

St Martin's Episcopal Church Pumpkin Patch
2216 Metairie Road
Metairie, LA 70001

Crooked Pines Farm
Highway 190
Ragley, Beauregard County Louisiana, LA

Even though they aren't open this year, & have only sporadically been open since Hurricane Katrina, I'm going to supply information about the Hickory Maize as well. This is my favorite! We used to every year & loved it! They have corn cannons, a corn maize (with the option of going through a haunted corn maize at night), a hayride, an area to select a pumpkin & the opportunity for kids to paint the pumpkin. I hope they'll return next year!

Hickory Maize & Pumpkin Patch
36524 Ed Yates Road
Hickory LA 70452
(985) 863-9662
Here's a link to their website, but it hasn't been updated in ages.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Save money on your child's wardrobe with thredUP! Get a $5 credit!

About 2 months ago I discovered a wonderful website called thredUP. It's the fastest growing kids clothing swap & mom community online! Not only can you swap kids clothes, but you can also swap toys, your clothes, books, etc! You can click on any of the links to receive your $5 credit.

I love this idea! I used to sell old baby & kids clothes on eBay as my girls outgrew them, but I can't even give things away there anymore. With thredUP it's like an even exchange.

Plus, according to, Jennie Garth (Kelly Taylor from 90210) lists her outgrown kids' clothes on thredUP. How cool is that?

How Does It Work?

The premise behind it is simple - save money on clothing & other items!
It works like this: pick a box you like, pay $5 plus shipping, prepare a box of items that no longer fit your child, send it for free when someone picks your box.

My Experience With thredUP

So far I've purchased 3 boxes from thredUP. Over the Summer I found an awesome box of books for my 13 year old daughter. She's an avid reader & hugely into the Twilight Saga (as am I). This box contained the complete series of vampire books aimed at tweens & teens called The House Of Night. This box was completely full of The House Of Night.

I also purchased a box of clothes for both of my daughters.

I don't have pictures of everything, but I will put up pics of the baby clothes I received & my 13 year old's books. Her clothes are scatted all over her bedroom, so it's impossible to figure out which ones came from thredUP.

The box of baby clothes I received

One of the outfits from the box

The rest of the clothes in the box

My 13 year old's books

Here is the step-by-step version:

PICK - Browse the listed boxes in the thredUP community and select one you'd like to receive.
PAY - Once you've picked your box, all you pay is $5 plus shipping to have it delivered.
PREPARE - As part of this process, you are required (this is a swap after all!) to list a box of clothes that your child no longer wears. They'll ask for basic details such as types of clothing, number of items, colors, brands, season and sizes. Don't worry, the USPS will mail you empty boxes for your gently used clothes.
SEND - When someone picks your box, thredUP will alert you and ask you to send the box. It is free to send boxes on thredUP because the recipient pays the shipping. You can print the shipping label on your printer. thredUP will arrange for the mailman to pick it up at your house. If you'd rather drop it off at the Post Office just cancel the pickup and leave a note for your postal carrier. As soon as your box is tracked by the USPS, you will see your box status has been changed to "shipped" in your thredUP closet.

Here is the link to join for FREE & get your $5 credit:
The idea is that for every box you offer you are able to obtain a box of your choosing. It's first come, first serve. To join for free, simply click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Essential Protection Oil Review/Giveaway for Harmony Aromatherapy

Winner: Maggie Keefe.

I'm happy to do this review/giveaway, & not just because the woman who owns & operates Harmony Aromatherapy is a long time good friend of mine. Amy Lapierre has helped me with health issues through the use of Aromatherapy in the past - long before I had this blog. I contacted Amy as soon as I started doing reviews because she made a believer of me! I want to make other people aware of the benefits of Aromatherapy as well.

About the Giveaway:

Today I'll be reviewing Harmony Aromatherapy's Essential Protection synergistic blend. One lucky reader will also win a 15 ML bottle of it! The giveaway will end on Oct 18 at 12:01 am EST & is open to residents of the US & Canada.

I was just approved to use the beta version of Rafflecopter (Yay!), so this is my first time using it. I believe it will make the entire process easier for both of us. However, it's throwing my usual start & end times off a bit. Details will be at the bottom of the review.

Some of the uses of this oil include:
  • Wound Healing
  • Pain relief
  • Fights against airborne germs - cold & flu
  • Use for household cleaning
  • Combat mold issues
  • Repel insects
  • Eczema treatment
  • Lung congestion
  • Air Freshener
  • Asthma & Brochitis
  • Arthritis
  • Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Gout
  • Hair
  • Heart
  • Hypertension
  • Memory
Are you interested in learning more now????

About Harmony Aromatherapy:

Allow me to introduce you to Amy. Amy Lapierre is a Holistic Aromatherapist, with a certificate in Aroma 101 from the East-West School for Herbal & Aromatic studies. She's currently enrolled and completing the Master program. She wears many hats - Doula, Aromatherapist, & she's currently studying to become a massage therapist as well.

Amy first became interested in Aromatherapy while she worked as a doula (holistic child birthing coach) and childbirth educator. One of her clients was an aromatherapist. This client used her remedies during her pregnancy & post partum. As Amy saw the effects that Aromatherapy had on her client, she was amazed at what a difference Aromatherapy made for prenatal and postnatal care. The client didn't have one single stretch mark, and was eased greatly during her labor. This aroused Amy’s interest in Aromatherapy and its healing benefits.

In 2007 Amy decided to start the education process to be come a certified Aromatherapist. Today she is working as a Holistic Aromatherapist and continues to research and find many new things that Aromatherapy is beneficial for. Amy has worked with migraine suffers all the way to chronic pain clients. She has been very successful in her work and therapies. She facilitates the healing process, & works with you to identify the current problem you are facing. She believes that our bodies have their own natural healing abilities, and she will help you learn to utilize essential oils to aid that process.
Harmony Aromatherapy is family owned & operated. It's been in business since 2008.

Amy offers private consultations with custom designed oil blends to meet your own personal needs.

About Essential Protection synergistic blend:

The very first thing I wanted to know was the definition of synergistic. Amy informed me that it's the blending of oils that work well together.

This is Amy's brand new oil. It's specially formulated to help combat germs & bacteria. It protects your family with an all natural earth friendly formula. It's diluted with water & used in a spray bottle for cleaning around the house. You use it in place of any commercial cleaner, such as 409 or spray bleach. It also has many holistic uses, as listed above.

Germs & bacteria are getting stronger & harder to combat. Amy chose oils that are super charged for germ fighting & supportive of a stronger immune system.. She uses 100% pure essential oils. Sometimes the oils you buy in organic food stores aren't pure.

It can also be mixed with coconut or olive oil for use on the skin.

How To Use Essential Protection Oil:
Here are just a few examples of how to use it.

For household cleaning:
Add 15 drops to 6 ounces of distilled water (or 20 drops to 1 cup of water) in a mister bottle to help against mold issues.

To help repel insects:
Add 10 drops to 6 ounces of distilled water.

To clean and battle germs on just about any hard surface:
Add 20 drops to a ½ gallon of water.
Amy was aware of my eczema issue, so informed me that it could be used on both my eczema as well as my baby's (with my baby's concentration being much weaker than mine obviously)!!! I wish that I could've tested this out, but neither of us have had a flare up recently. However, Amy has 2 clients who use the Essential Protection Oil to treat eczema. One of them says that her eczema has completely gone away. If using the oil for that purpose Amy will start you off at the lowest concentration, confer with you every 3 days to see how it's working, & make adjustments accordingly.

My 1st use - insect repellant

I live in a suburb of New Orleans. Unfortunately, all of the water we have seems to make for a roach problem. Ever since we moved over a year ago we've had issues with small roaches! I noticed the benefits of Essential Protection Oil as I mixed the oil with water in a spray bottle at my bathroom sink. As soon as  opened the bottle of oil & began dropping it in the water I watched the few nearby roaches scurry away. YAY! They did not like it one bit!

I've only been doing this for a week, so it's not 100% tried & true yet. However, I do have a good idea of how this works. They can't stand the way it smells! As soon as I mix it up they start to run away. Spraying it at them when I see them is fun! They run. If I manage to hit one of them it seems to stun them. I have been seeing fewer of them during the day.

My 2nd use - household cleaning

I added 20 drops to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. My first test was in the kitchen. My teenage daughter spilled iced coffee on my counter & left it there. It was dry when I tested Essential Protection Oil , & as soon as the mixture of oil & water hit it I could see it breaking up. All I had to do was wipe it up with a sponge. Very easy! It leaves behind a nice clean smell - not the smell of bleach. I also tested it in my bathroom (sink, counter, toilet seat). It worked well wherever I tested it.

Mixed up in spray bottle:

Before Pic (Coffee Spill):

After Pic (Coffee Spill):


There are so many things that I could continue to test this on! My teenage daughter has a bad knee with some knee pain, my husband has asthma, I'd like to test this on mosquitoes, & Amy even mentioned that she applies it to the bottom of her 2 youngest sons feet in the morning to give them protection against cold/flu. If I tested all of this out the review would be so long that you wouldn't read it.

My impression of Essential Protection Oil

I think this stuff is awesome! It has so many uses that it's invaluable to have around the house. Because it's a concentrated oil that requires mixing, it lasts a super long time! How could you go wrong with it? It's the ideal thing for a Mom to have on hand.

My experience with Amy

I mentioned earlier that Amy has helped me with other health issues over the years. She's always been extremely caring & concerned & checks in regularly to see how/if it's working. She's helped me bring on & intensify contractions during labor, helped me stay calm during labor, helped me with insomnia, helped my skin heal from nasty cat scratches & bites, & when suffering with post partum depression! There are other more personal health issues that she's helped me with as well.

The Giveaway

One reader will win one 15 ML bottle of it! The giveaway will end on Oct 18 at 12:01 am EST & is open to residents of the US & Canada.

Simply enter with the Rafflecopter instructions. You may have to hit the "more" button to see it. It should be MUCH easier than my previous giveaways.