Amazon Gift Card Giveaway {2nd Annual Santa’s Little Helper Giveaway Hop} #SantasHelper

Welcome to the Santa’s Little Helper Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

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We all know that everyone could use a little help around the Holidays, so for this Event I’ve teamed up with more of your favorite bloggers to be your Santa’s Little Helper… giving away prizes that anyone would want to see under the tree! You might find the perfect gift for a little one on your list – or even for yourself, so hop around to all the blogs on the linky at the bottom of this post and don’t miss the Santa’s Little Helper Grand Prize from Step2!

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This is a self-sponsored event. One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, just in time for the holidays!

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Fine-ish print: One winner will receive an Amazon gift card via email, valued at $25. Giveaway runs from December 4th {12:01 am EST} through December 18th {11:59 pm EST}. Entering is easy! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. By filling out the form, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions linked in the bottom of the Rafflecopter. Must be 18 or older, and a resident of the U.S. only. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winner has 48 hours after initial contact to claim prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to visit these other awesome bloggers for more giveaways!




So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Santa’s Little Helper participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

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Lessons Learned – Car Seat Safety

** This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting PGM!

You’ve probably seen this story circulating all over Facebook for the last week or so. I shared it on The Practically Green Mom Facebook page, and based on my post, one person has already told me that she turned her daughter’s seat back around. :)

But, Cameron’s passing should start a conversation about more than rear-facing vs. forward facing young children. We should really be talking about PROPER USE of ALL car seats. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about rear-facing vs. forward facing. Today, it’s still one of the most read posts on this blog, but I no longer agree with some of the information I provided my readers.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the following graphic, and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS in your car seat’s manual regarding installation and proper use of the seat (height and weight limits). Also, verify that your car seat is not EXPIRED by looking for a label on the seat itself. (Yes, car seats have expiration dates!)

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If the label has a date of manufacture, but no specific expiration date (like the picture on the right above), you will need to verify the expiration year with the manufacturer. In this case, from the Britax website: “BRITAX convertible car seats manufactured after June 2010 (excluding the Classic line) have a service life of 7 years.” So, this seat with an August 2011 date of manufacture will expire in August 2018.

Rear-Facing (birth to age 2 minimum, ideally age 3-4)

The best way to keep your child safe is to have them rear-facing as long as possible. A child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Infant seats are not intended for long term use, as most babies outgrown them before their first birthday (usually by eight or nine months). If your child has outgrown their infant seat, the next step is a convertible car seat that can be installed rear-facing.

My son is 3 years old, and he could still be rear-facing…if we had a seat like the Graco Size4Me Convertible that would accommodate a taller child. (I believe this is the tallest rear-facing seat that is currently available.)

We have an older model Britax Advocate 70 CS Convertible – manufactured in 2011, which is outgrown in height earlier than some other seats (as I found out after I bought two of them…lesson learned!) Based on the “1 inch from the top of his head to the top of the shell” rule for this seat, my son has outgrown the rear-facing limits. The easiest way to measure this is to find a 1″ thick book, and put it on top of the head perpendicular to the shell. With the headrest in the way, you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s pretty easy to see that we have 1″ or less between the top of his head and the top of the shell.

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**The new Britax ClickTight Convertibles seem to have fixed this problem, though. Children can rear-face in these seats until their heads are one inch below the adjuster on the headrest, not just the shell. So, outgrowing the ClickTight seats in the rear-facing position by height won’t be an issue (even for really tall, skinny kids) as long as they are still under 40 lbs.

Forward-Facing (age 2 to age 5 minimum, ideally age 7)

As I mentioned above, the older Britax convertibles don’t accommodate taller children well, so he is also at the highest forward-facing harness level in the Advocate.

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So, we are replacing that seat in DH’s car with a Harmony Defender 360 soon. The Defender is a Combination Seat, which transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness into a booster. This will allow him to continue forward-facing with a 5 pt. harness until he is old enough (and mature enough) to sit properly in a booster seat with a seat belt.

Another popular Combination Seat is the Britax Frontier 90 Harness-2-Booster which I have in my car now. It has the tallest forward-facing harness on the market as of this post. (See, I did my research this time! lol) It is ridiculously easy to install with the ClickTight technology, and my son has plenty of room to grow in it.

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Booster (age 5 minimum to age 10-12)

There are three types of booster seats (confusing, I know!)

  • Combination Seat: As I mentioned before, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a 5 pt. harness into a booster.
  • High Back Booster: Designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. Only for children who are old enough (age 5 minimum) AND mature enough (for many kids this isn’t until age 6-7) to sit correctly 100% of the time with only a seat belt. High Back Boosters are recommended for younger booster riders, because the high seat back reminds them to sit correctly, and they usually do a better job of positioning the seat belt on smaller children.
  • Backless Booster: Just like the High Back, it is designed to boost the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly. Be sure to have a vehicle headrest behind the child’s head, at least up to the tips of their ears.

Children should remain in booster seats until they are tall enough (4’9″ tall) to fit in a seat belt properly, which happens around age 11 for the average child. A proper seat belt fit meets the following 5 step criteria:

  • Child sits all the way back against the vehicle seat.
  • Knees are bent at the edge of the vehicle seat and feet are on the floor.
  • The shoulder belt fits evenly across the collarbone and sits flush with the torso. It does not cross the neck or face.
  • The lap belt is low on the hips, touching the tops of the thighs, not the stomach.
  • Child can stay comfortably seated this way for the entire ride.

And remember: your child should still ride in the back seat (even in a seat belt) because it’s safer there!

If you are getting concerned about the number of car seats you may have to purchase over your child’s 10-12 years riding in one, I have good news! There are a few seats on the market that could safely fit a child from birth to booster, including the new (and highly sought after) Graco 4ever All-in-One. (I wish I had one to review, because I have heard nothing but good things about it!) In fact, I did recommend another “all-in-one” seat (Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite) in my previous post, but I would like to retract that recommendation. I got this as a back-up seat for my in-laws’ car, and we’ve used it twice (I think) in over three years. While it is a perfectly safe seat in both rear and forward facing harnessed modes, it is not truly the “only seat you’ll ever need”. It is difficult to properly install rear-facing, and the versions with a 40 lb. harness limit may be outgrown very quickly height-wise. (Most of these models do not allow use of the top slot in harnessed mode.) This would cause a child to move into booster mode too early. And speaking of booster mode, several reputable sources and car seat techs do not recommend any child use this seat in booster mode due to inadequate fit.

I know I’ve given you a lot of information here, but it is SO important! Again, please FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS in your car seat’s manual regarding installation and proper use of the seat. If you have questions, PLEASE ASK a certified car seat technician! There are several Facebook groups (including Car Seat Safety), and online forums (like car-seat.org) with people ready to help you keep your child safe while riding in the car.

{This post is not affiliated with any car seat manufacturer, but does contain Amazon.com affiliate links. Making a purchase via these links helps support this blog. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Lucy’s Cookies {Review}

** I was compensated for the following review, but all opinions are my own.

I have a big sweet tooth, and that’s part of why I love the holiday season! But, for people with food allergies, it can be tough to find a snack to truly satisfy a cookie craving…

That’s where Lucy’s Cookies come in! The company’s founder, Dr. Lucy Gibney, has a child with food allergies. So, all of Lucy’s products are:

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • No Peanuts, No Tree Nuts
  • Dedicated Bakery
  • Ingredients Tested
  • O g Trans Fat
  • O mg Cholesterol
  • Non-GMO
  • All Natural

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I just tried the Chocolate Chip cookies for the first time, and they are really good! Not overwhelmingly sweet, with just the right amount of dark chocolate chips. I do prefer cookies that are chewy (which these are not), but these are delicious! Even my three year old liked them (and we all know how picky little kids can be about food!) I can’t wait to try the other varieties of Lucy’s Cookies, especially the seasonal options like Pumpkin Patch, Holiday Sugars, and Chocolate Mint. Yum!

If you need some allergy-friendly cookies for a holiday party, or to satisfy your own sweet tooth, give Lucy’s Cookies a try! You can find Lucy’s products at your local retailer, including Target and Whole Foods Market.

{I received two boxes of Lucy’s Cookies in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

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Available Now – Mabel’s Labels Limited Edition Holiday Products

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

From now until December 30th, Mabel’s Labels is offering their limited edition Stocking Stuffer Combos and Holiday Return Address Labels!

The Stocking Stuffer Combos make the perfect stocking stuffer, party favor, and personalized add-on to other gifts. Best of all, you only pay $30 for 6 sets! The Holiday Return Address Labels are adorable and come in a variety of exclusive limited-edition Holiday designs. Don’t miss your chance to shop these great offers!

In addition to these limited edition products, Mabel’s Labels now offers new e-gift cards! There’s no need to run around searching for the perfect gift, because cards are available in $25 increments up to $200!

Happy Holidays!

(I am an affiliate blogger for Mabel’s Labels. The post above contains affiliate links that support this blog. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.)

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Botanical Splash – Body Moisturizer and Revitalizer {2nd Annual Thankful for Our Followers Giveaway Hop} #Thankful4Followers

Welcome to the [2nd Annual] Thankful for our Followers Giveaway Hop hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

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YOU are the reason that bloggers like us host giveaways so we’ve decided it’s time for all of us bloggers to show even more of our appreciation to you… our readers and blog followers. Normally we offer giveaways with entries to help boost our blog and following numbers, but this Hop is all about making it easier on YOU.

Each blogger in this Hop is offering a wonderful prize, worth at least $25 and ALL giveaways have only ONE way to enter!
Hop around to them all as we show you how we’re Thankful for YOU!

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Special thanks to Trusted Health Products for providing the giveaway prizes for this event! Three winners will each receive one bottle of Botanical Splash Body Moisturizer! (Be sure to check out my previous review of Botanical Splash.) Each prize is valued at $25.

botanical splash review

Fine-ish print: Three winners will each receive one bottle of Botanical Splash Body Moisturizer. Giveaway runs from November 3rd {12:01 am EST} through November 17th {11:59 pm EST}. Entering is easy! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. By filling out the form, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions linked in the bottom of the Rafflecopter. Must be 18 or older, and a resident of the U.S. or Canada (excluding Quebec and Puerto Rico). No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Winner has 48 hours after initial contact to claim prize.

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Be sure to visit these other amazing bloggers for more GIVEAWAYS!




So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Thankful for Our Followers participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

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My Search for the Perfect Christmas Cards at Minted.com

** I was compensated for the following review, but all opinions are my own.

With Halloween over, I am in HOLIDAY SEASON mode! Time to start making a to-do list…and the first thing I need to do is to find the perfect Christmas cards to send to our friends and family!

I was recently introduced to Minted.com, and I’m super impressed just from browsing their site. I have about 83748238423 favorite photo Christmas cards that I have to narrow down to just one. With so many great designs from their global community of independent artists and designers, it’s going to be difficult to choose!

At first, I thought I had it narrowed down to a holiday postcard. Less paper, and no envelopes to stuff, makes my eco-friendly side happy! I really love simple designs like this, with a photo being the focus of the card.

Minted Collage

I’m also considering this postcard from the “new home” category, since we moved earlier this year.

minted home card

There is something to be said about the more traditional holiday greeting, though. This card is simple and a bit elegant with the foil-pressed lettering.

minted real foil card

If I decide to go that route, Minted has beautiful envelope designs AND recipient addressing! That is appealing…all I would have to do when I get my order is add postage and put them in the mailbox!

Don’t wait to check out the great selection of Minted photo Christmas cards for yourself, because you’ll definitely need some time to pick the right one!

Happy Holidays!

(I received a store credit from Minted.com in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.)

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Botanical Splash – Body Moisturizer and Revitalizer Review

Winter is coming, and for me (and many of you, I’m sure!) that means dry skin. Right on cue, Trusted Health Products sent me a bottle of Botanical Splash, their new Body Moisturizer and Revitalizer. (Full disclosure: I did receive this item for free in exchange for my honest review.) I will admit, I had high expectations for this product! I have reviewed a couple of things previously from Trusted Health Products, and have not been disappointed!

Botanical Splash is a blend of 100% pure botanical oils – almond, orange, lime, lemon, olive and avocado. It works well on all skin types, and has no preservatives, parabens, petroleum-based oils, GMOs, synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, colorings, or additives of any kind!

botanical splash review

There are so many things I love about this product! The spray application makes it very easy to use. Just spray, and lightly spread on the skin. No greasy lotion residue all over your hands! The refreshing citrus scent is great to wake up to. I use it in the morning after my shower, and a little extra throughout the day on trouble spots, like my elbows and knees. It definitely has smoothed these rough areas! My skin just soaks it up, and it feels so clean and healthy! Botanical Splash can also be used as an underarm deodorant. I haven’t tried it for that purpose, but I think I will.

Once again, Trusted Health Products has provided a great MULTI-USE product! Using Botanical Splash, not only am I treating my skin with natural oils (as opposed to chemicals), I’ll save money, too! I am a very happy customer!

{SPECIAL OFFER} For a limited time, the manufacturer is willing to offer my readers one FREE bottle. They said they would love to have our readers try out Botanical Splash and agreed to send one bottle FREE if our readers would pay a minimal shipping and handling charge. This is a one-time only offer! Click here to get your FREE bottle now!

{Trusted Health Products provided me with a free bottle of Botanical Splash moisturizer in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

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Simply Bridal Classic Microfiber Quilted Tote Review

A few weeks ago, I did a giveaway for Simply Bridal Invitations and Gifts.  Today, I am reviewing an item I chose for myself from their website. (Full disclosure, I did receive this item free of charge from Simply Bridal, in exchange for a review and giveaway.)

I don’t know about you, but I love tote bags. They are so versatile!  I have several brands and sizes, but surprisingly, even the smallest one in my collection was too big for a quick trip out with one child. That’s why I’m so glad I found the Simply Bridal Classic Microfiber Quilted Tote. It’s the perfect marriage (pun intended) of size and style, and I don’t look like the crazy bag lady who packs her entire house for a trip to the grocery store with her 3 year old!

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I’ve been using the bag almost exclusively for a couple of weeks now, and it’s really working out well. The quilted exterior and polka dot interior are both easy to wipe clean, and I love the extra large interior zippered pocket! Both my wallet and cell phone fit, and there’s extra room, as well. The main compartment has plenty of space for the items I carry on a regular basis.

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The only time I wished I had a larger bag is for our weekly trip to the library. It was very heavy with all of our books in it, and without padded straps, it was a bit uncomfortable to carry. I’m also not a huge fan of the outer pockets on either side of the bag. I was unable to fit my usual Klean Kanteen water bottle in them, but I did squeeze my Brita water bottle in with some effort. I think it would be fine for a plastic water or soda bottle, though.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Simply Bridal Classic Microfiber Quilted Tote. I can see myself using this bag for many years to come.

{I received the Classic Microfiber Quilted Tote free from Simply Bridal Invitations and Gifts, in exchange for my review and giveaway. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.}

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