Tuesday, January 31, 2012

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Superfood Snacks - Chocolate Goji Treats


The other day, I was browsing on the web and it lead me to learning more about raw Chocolate Goji energy nuggets from Superfood Snacks.  It caught my eye because it is certified organic, all natural, made without gluten, wheat, dairy, rice, soy, corn, fillers or refined sugars..and they help boost energy!  And another great fact is the packaging is eco-friendly made from biodegradable compostable materials.

On their facebook page I read many great reviews and love for the products.  I was intrigued by this and finally got to try it.  I tried the Chocolate Goji Treat, at first bite I was hesitant and anxious to see what it might taste like, but once I did..I like it!  It was chewy, and perfectly flavorful, yet nothing I expected it to taste like.  I tasted lots of coconuts.  I really like the subtle flavors with every bite, and have decided to add it my diet for good.  I haven't had it enough to see much of a difference in energy and more yet, but anxious to see.  They don't taste like candy or a sweet treat, but I'd say more like a chewy healthy bar.

The raw and organic ingredients are as follows: Clear agave nectar, Goji berries, Cacao powder, Walnuts, Hunza Raisins, Coconut, Dates, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds, Maca Powder, Vanilla powder, Cinnamon, Selina Naturally Hawaiian deep sea salt, Cayenne pepper.  
Please note that although I mentioned them being free of certain allergens, they are not completely allergy friendly.  These are processed in a facility that processes nuts.  Important to always read labels and ask questions before trying new products if you have food allergies.

To find out more about Superfood Snacks check out their site, where you can buy a sampler pack, as well as order in bulk.

You can also WIN here!  Two readers can win a sampler packet of the Chocolate Goji Treat to try for themselves!  Enter below following the easy step by step instructions, give it time for the Raffelcoptor to load up. :)  Good Luck!


I received this item for review, all opinions are a 100% mine.  The sponsor will be responsible for delivery of prizes.  Giveaway will end 2/14. Winners will be contacted via e-mail or Twitter and will have 48 hrs to respond. *US ONLY.

Monday, January 30, 2012

For the Love of Duane Reade #DReade

I love Duane Reade and when I learned of the opportunity to be one of the VIP bloggers, I couldn't let it pass by me. I have shopped at Duane Reade for years, and have many memories.

My friends and I would always wander in with nothing in mind, come out with something we all felt we needed when I used to study and work in Manhattan. My favorite Duane Reade location was one in Woodside, Queens, right around the corner of where my family lived for years, and right along the path that I took to get to the train station daily. We stopped by there for anything anyone needed, including prescriptions. I have memories shared walking in with my mom, and any memory with my mom is the sweetest most cherished. My brother always bought gummy candies, my sister always bought blue mascara, and I was always around wandering the aisles with them. This particular location had a money-gram where we were able to wire money to family abroad for the holidays and whenever we needed. It couldn't have been more convenient unless they'd wire some money on our behalf. ;)

I moved a few years ago, and no longer have a convenient location near me, but I'm not complaining as I have a reason to venture out of my neighborhood to visit a Duane Reade. I'm a mom now, and have changed my shopping list over the last few years to baby products and little toys I could bring him home to surprise my son. Now, I shop for everything for our family, and fun products for me from the beauty aisles. I'm in absolute love with the new look and feel of some Duane Reade locations, so much to offer, every time I visit I can stay there for hours at a time. Just look at our last visit to get snacks.

OK you've read why I love Duane Reade and when I've visited (always), but you find yourself asking why should I be picked as a VIP blogger? I say because I have been a customer for years, and have history with you guys from the perspective of a normal (most of the time) girl growing up in New York City. And also because my son who is three considers a visit to Duane Reade locations an adventure, and I'm passing along the tradition of depending on you guys for so much that we need. Now more than ever I'm a happy shopper, because I'm ecstatic to see a large variety of brands that you carry, which means my son can actually pick a food product he can have. My son has food allergies and it means so much to be able to pick up products we can all enjoy, and I'd love to offer my insight as a food allergy mom as well.

I would be proud to be one of the #DReade VIP bloggers.  Please pick me!  :)

*Official entry for 2012 Duane Reade VIP Blogger Program #DReade #Cbias

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Enjoy Life Foods - Oven Baked Chewy Bars

 
 
You already know by now that we love Enjoy Life Foods products in our home, and I'm excited to tell you about their Oven Baked Chewy Bars.  There are four different flavors; Sunbutter Crunch, Very Berry, Cocoa Loco, and Caramel Apple.  I have been so pleasantly surprised and in love with these bars.  I have tried gluten free bars before, and these are nothing like them, they are much better and allergy friendly.
My son tried the Cocoa Loco flavor and loves them, he asks for it all day long as if a child asking for candy. They are perfect in size, only 1oz bars to help with portion control. As I've mentioned before in my previous post, my son is always hesitant to try new foods, so he has yet to give the other flavors a try. He has been carrying them around in his pockets, everywhere so "no one else eats them." LOL, his words not mine. :) At one point he fell asleep with them in his pocket, so I snapped a picture.

I had family over and we all took the liberty to trying all of the flavors and love them all, if I had to pick a favorite it would be Very Berry, but really they are all great!!  I don't know of any bars this good that are allergy friendly, it means the world to me to have found something like this to give my son and everyone on the go.

An example of the ingredients here, the Very Berry Oven Baked Chewy Bar:

Ingredients:

Brown Rice Flakes, Brown Rice Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Flour, Rice Starch, Sorghum Flour, Date Paste, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Cranberries* (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Expeller-Pressed Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil), Inulin (Chicory Root Fiber), Sunflower Seed Butter (Roasted Sunflower Kernel, Evaporated Cane Juice, Salt), Ground Flaxseed, Salt, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Natural Raspberry Flavor *Sulfite Free

Allergen Info

NO TRANS FAT, NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS, VEGAN, KOSHER PAREVE, VITAMIN FORTIFIED, GLUTEN-FREE, CASEIN-FREE

Vitamins and Minerals

Niacin (Vitamin B3), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B6, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Folate
You can find the ingredients to all their products by visiting their site.  
They are packed with flavor, but none overwhelming, perfectly portioned and everyone can enjoy them! :) Absolutely my personal favorite product from Enjoy Life Foods so far, and I love them all.
Learn where to buy them here
A few important facts about Enjoy Life products:
Gluten free and allergy friendly.
Free of all top eight allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish.
And most products are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites, and casein.
No artificial ingredients, trans fats, or genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
To learn more about them and other great Enjoy Life products go to their site by clicking here: Enjoy Life Foods

Here comes the best part, one of YOU could win a box of each of the four flavors for yourself!!
Enter below by following the easy step by step instructions, wait for Rafflecopter to load up. :) Good Luck!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentines Day Party Supplies

I usually turn to Party City for all my party supply needs, and went searching for some Valentines day products.  There are so many fun items to choose from, check them out here

 
You don't have to be having a party to shop there, I love the variety of fun balloons.  Just like every child out there, my son loves balloons, and how fun would it be to get him one for Valentines Day, after all he is my little love.  I know for sure he would love the little Foil Love Monkey.  And I love all the heart ones, some of us never grow up..hehehe...  I know that my little sister would love any of them as well, specially has a love for Hello Kitty, so the Foil Hello Kitty Lovin' Shape Valentines Day balloon would be perfect for her.  Be sure to check out their plush toys section too while you are there, really adorable little stuffed toys there.
My favorite one is the  28 in Foil Cuddly Valentines day balloon, he looks so cuddly ;).  They also have a Valentines Day Card Exchange section that is full of cards and stickers, perfect for buying for your little one to give to all their classmates, and if you have a child not in school yet like mine, might be nice to let them draw something in every card to send out to family and friends.  And hey it's even nice if you send them out some yourself, you are as old as you want to be, don't get grown up cards, choose from all the different themed cards there and surprise your friends! ;) Choose from more adult like invitations and thank you notes that are still really cute if you still want the grown up feel.  Get to shopping now, and get wall & window decorations if you haven't already.  If you are going to bake for Valentines day, which is one of our favorites, they also carry a selection of items for baking too!  I usually pick up something from them, even if it's just some treat boxes to place our home made cookies in.I'm working on perfecting my baking skills as my son and I experiment, but hoping to have a great Valentines Day filled with treats for my son.    Sorry for the load of links, I just wanted to share all that I saw and loved.  If you are in need of inspiration for an upcoming birthday party, they have plenty of choices, check out my sons third birthday party where we used party supplies from Party City.  :) 
*I was not compensated for this post.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"I Don't Know Who Made This Mess, I'm Just Cleaning It Up"

A regular Saturday morning in this house earlier today, except my son ran off to wash his hands in the bathroom sink after we had breakfast, but for longer than it would usually take him.  After sometime passed  I wondered what he was up to, asked him from far "hey are you OK?" he responded "yes mommy I'm just washing my mouth too."  Hhmm..something isn't right, I thought of the many other times he would suddenly run off and hide, like eating candy in the corner hiding behind dad, or cutting up pieces of paper sitting behind a door.  Of course the many times he was caught playing with toilet paper, we can all relate to that one right??
So I silently sneak in after him to find him with a panicked look, with loads of toilet paper in his hand balled up, cleaning up a pile of toothpaste.  I just looked at him, and he explained to me right away "I don't know who made this mess, I'm just cleaning it up."  I thought it was so cute, and went with it.  I spoke to him about how I hope this "other" person that made the mess knows not to do it again.  ;)
I'm sure he thought he had me fooled. LOL!

Happy Saturday! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simple on the Road Tips for Winter Months

As a New Yorker, it's easier to get around no matter if there is hail, icy roads, snow because of public transportation, unless of course it is so bad that those are shut down too (it happens).  Nonetheless it is still easier to get around then other states that shut down completely.  But not that convenient when you have a family, as it was a whole different story when it was just me hopping on and off trains.  We drive allot, back and forth to visit family, when we have doctors appointments, and of course to go shop.  The weather has been crazy lately, one day it's snowing, temperatures in the mid 20's and the next in the 50's, not only does this cause so many to get sick not having the proper layers, but makes it dangerous for drivers as it causes roads to get slippery when the rain/snow turns into ice.

Important to check your tires, I have often seen too many of my friends cars in need of new tires, making it dangerous for the sudden early morning, and evening icy roads known as black ice.  We haven't had a big enough snow storm here yet this year, but it is also very important to have a Winter car kit in the trunk just in case you go to work with a few flurries in the morning, and come out to a full snow storm...  Of course you could also watch the news for weather updates, but this is in case of an emergency, you just never know.  Before you catch yourself in a snow or even a rain storm, make sure your wiper blades are in good condition, and not in need of replacing.  Also, have your car battery checked, as I hear it is a common cause for getting stranded in the Winter months.    

As a parent if you are driving alone with your child/ren, I would also advise that you make sure your child is safely buckled in the back, the last thing you want is to realize they are wiggling out of their seat while on the road.  If you have a toddler like me or older, bring along activities so they can be entertained, some examples would be a coloring book, a story book or even a DVD.  If you have a young child, I'd recommend having one of those easy view backseat mirrors so that you can see baby without interfering you while on the road.  When the weather makes it tough for driving as it is, it helps to get the basics checked off, so you aren't caught in a bad situation because you reached to help your child in the back.

When the weather isn't accommodating, if you don't absolutely have to drive, just don't.  If you find you have to, be prepared, take precautions.  If there's lots of snow, have a salt bag, and a shovel in case you get stuck.  Get one of those window ice scrapers just in case you need it if they develop icy frost, you would rather have it and not need it then vise versa.

Simple tips, you probably already know, but good to keep in mind.  Safe driving!  :)



I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Esurance blogging program for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Do You See What I See??

I made some salami, burnt it a little, and flipped it only to see this!?!  To me "he" look kinda of scary LOL :)
How would you describe the expression?  Caption it! :)  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo Story - Getting Snacks at Duane Reade


I went shopping at Duane Reade last week, and created my first photo story on G+.   Well, technically I was already downtown near 34th St in the city, doing some shopping along with the occasional window gazing.  If willing, or able, one could spend forever shopping at a shopping location like that..I know I could!  That's quite evident when you see that our whole photo story took place at Duane Reade when we walked in looking for something to snack on.

My son and I take little trips together all the time, that we both refer to as our "adventures" together.  Probably got it's name because it's always such an adventure, a fun one, but it always is taking the train, transferring trains, maybe even a bus ride, up & down stairs.  The things we see, the people we meet, the noises we hear..you get the idea! ;)

I'm new to Google+, and didn't want our photo story unseen, so here Just Wanted Snacks... (44 photos) click, and enjoy.  Please feel free to add me to your circle while you are there, or G+ my posts etc. no need to ask me. :P  Let's be friends in the google circle :)  Also no permission needed to add your opinions below in comments... 


Photo story was created for Social Fabric application process


Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's Always The Simplest Things...

Right after looking out the window my baby boy came running ecstatic and says "Mommy mommy mommy it's snowing!!  I'm so excited, it's winter, let's go outside and make a snowman!"


While I made breakfast this morning he made snowballs from the snow gathered right outside our window.

Proof that it doesn't take much to find something to smile about :)


It stopped snowing, but glad there was enough for him to get excited over.  It's the simplest things that we remember most, and sometimes it doesn't take much to create meaningful memories. <3

What are you smiling about today? :)

He Knew What He Wanted

Ever get tired of cooking every meal, every day?  I do, and tonight was one of those evenings when dinner time came around, and I ran out of ideas or just didn't want to.  It was six and I still didn't have dinner started.  Not to be confused with I don't like to cook, I love to, sometimes we all want a day off.  Because of food allergies, we don't have the convenience of ordering in for the whole family, so it's very rare when we do.

Time passed, and it was seven, it was evident I wasn't going to cook or wasn't going to have dinner at a descent time, so I decided to give myself a break.  I ordered some Italian food for my husband and I.  It's always much easier to cook for him then everyone.  I went to the kitchen with my son as I stood there offering to make him a version of what we ordered out.  Spaghetti with chicken, and he said no.  So how about this, or that..or thaatt?  His response was no to everything I offered him, so I asked him "what do YOU want baby?"

I didn't expect a real answer but he responded by suggesting what he wanted to eat.  He wanted rice, corn, mushrooms, capers, and salami.  Seriously, this is what he insisted, and it didn't sound bad, so that's what we made.  It was definitely not what I'd generally make for him, but something easy and fast, and surprisingly really good if you ask us. ;)

He loves to play restaurant, loves to help me cook I should have known that his creation would have been good.  It took less than a half an hour to make with him, as he brought out all the ingredients and helped me cut the mushrooms.  It ended up being really fun.  I decided to let him make all the decisions for the night; where he eats, which bowls he uses, everything.  He chose a big "boat bowl" as he called it.  He was really excited about it all, and he ate so much, insisting he will eat it all by himself, and so he did.  I got to take a break and enjoy a great evening with family. 




Friday, January 20, 2012

Giveaway: Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

*GIVEAWAY ENDED* SEE WHO WON*
We all love Amazon.com right?  If you are one of the few that don't shop there, you should, I admit I started a few months ago myself.  It's hard to get some of the special diet foods nearby and sometimes the only option is to order from the web, and Amazon is one of my options I frequent.  I also love that they have a good selection of food allergy related children's books, those are on my wish list for now. :) 

I'm giving away a $20 Amazon gift card, and the only catch is I ask that you 

(mandatory entry)
*become a subscriber and *learn one more thing about food allergies that you didn't already know and comment below telling me what that was.

Here are sources that might help you 

Optional entries (For entries to count comment separately for each entry, and make sure you completed the *mandatory entry above for the rest to count)
  1. Like on facebook (leave name, can be first name and last initial)
  2. Share (daily) the giveaway on fb. leave link to your post below in comment.
  3. Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter handle in comment)
  4. Tweet (daily) "Learn about #foodallergies & #win a $20 Amazon gift card via @daytodayMOMents Easy entry daytodaymoments.blogspot.com/2012/01/learn-… #giveaway ends 2/3 RT?" Leave link in comment entry.
  5. G+ this or any other post, let me know you did in comment.
  6. Leave a thoughtful comment on any other post and tell me which post in comments below.

US only. Random draw from comments and winner will be contacted via email or twitter, and will have 48 hours to respond.  Good luck! :) 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

REVIEW: Enjoy Life Foods - No Nuts Seed & Fruit Mix

Sometimes it takes my son a while to get used to a new food, and I never force him to try or eat anything because I figure he might know something I don't. What if his mouth itches or his stomach feels strange, and he isn't sure how to tell me. So when the introduction to any new food item I wait until he is ready and willing to try.  You can see the long list of his food allergies here.
He finally gave Enjoy Life Foods No Nuts Seed and Fruit Mix a try. He was very hesitant at first and it scared me off, until he wanted to very recently. I was glad they had a long shelf life, and we were able to still enjoy them, and took a liking  as we bought a few more to have in our cabinet, since there isn't too many food products that are ready to eat that we can stock up on.

They come in two varieties; Beach Bash and Mountain Mambo. With Enjoy Life products you can expect the truth of the labeling on the front of the package, unlike too many products out there where labels are just advertisement to hide the truth and trick consumers. The Beach Bash has raw sunflower kernels, pineapples, roasted hulled pumpkin seeds (sunflower oil, citric acid), cranberries, apricots, as the Mountain Mambo has raw sunflower kernels, roasted hulled pumpkin seeds (sunflower oil, citric acid), salt, raisins, dried apples, chocolate chips (evaporated cane juice natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic), non-dairy cocoa butter), cranberries. Both Sulfite-Free.
Nothing in there you can't understand or pronounce.
What you see is what you get. :) 

They taste so good, my son likes to pick out little pieces of apple and chocolate from the mix, while most of everyone else including me, like to grab a chunk and eat it together. It has been a great new addition to our snacks on the go and at home list. I can only imagine how great it would be to bake with, or create an allergy friendly parfait with.

They are great to take with us wherever we go, and great for when guests come over.  I placed some in a bowl when friends came over, everyone like it, and my favorite part my son could enjoy it with us with no fear of harm.
I thank Enjoy Life Foods for continuing to create great products that are not only great tasting, but are safe for many with food allergies. Consider shopping with them to surprise someone you know that has a restricted diet, and give them a try yourself, their products are full of real ingredients and healthy.

A few important facts about Enjoy Life products:
Gluten free and allergy friendly.
Free of all top eight allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish.
And most products are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites, and casein.
No artificial ingredients, trans fats, or genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
To learn more about them and other great Enjoy Life products go to their site by clicking here: Enjoy Life Foods

Become a fan of ELF on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

*I received these items to review, but all opinions are a 100% my own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Healthy Late Night Snacking

Ever feel like having a snack when it's so close to bedtime?
Well I always do :) , and my son certainly does, so I give him things like dairy-free yogurt, fruits, or vegetables.

I think if he didn't have so many food allergies, I'd give him something baked and along the lines of not so healthy. Because of his restricted diet, I get to give him things like cucumbers lightly salted, and I think because of his food allergies he doesn't crave for the unhealthy things I crave and am used to indulging in. I often make shapes with them, or core out the inside of a peeled cucumber and put some slices of turkey inside, afterwards cutting into circles, where it ends up looking like a sushi roll. Just one of the ways I strive to make healthy eating with food allergies fun.

Here's what he had tonight because funnel cake after dinner wasn't enough.
Just cucumbers peeled and lightly salted. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

REVIEW: Tommee Tippee - Explora Drinking Cups


If you have a little one at home, you might relate to what happens to us every time we step out of our home.  My son gets really thirsty or hungry..the second we are far enough out of our home that we can't just run back in.  I carry so much even to the simplest trips out.  Like anyone, I look for the best containers to carry drinks and snacks for him.
We recently tried the spill proof drinking cup from the Tommee Tippee Explora line.  I've tried many cups over the years from different brands for my son, and these will fit in with my favorites.  They are fun for kids because of the colors and graphics.  Easy to drink from, specially made to be offer a natural transition for little ones with Advance-flo™ technology.
My favorite part, they are really spill proof, and I stress that because I have bought and used many that are supposed to be, but weren't.  The base of the cups are insulated, so keeps drinks cooler for longer, great in the summer of course, but also if you are indoors for long and want to keep a cool drink.  BPA free which is a must, of course.  They are stage 5 cups, good for 24+ months, although my son is three and has used it everyday all week, and seems to approve. ;)
These are great to fill with water and toss into my bag when I head out the door, because I know I'll need it.
Look at everything you can get from Tommie Tippee, and the Explora line here.  Keep updated by following @tommeetippee_na on Twitter and become a fan of Tommee Tippee on Facebook.
They also have an app, you can learn more about it here on a previous post.

*I received these to review, but all opinions are 100% mine, and my toddler. ~♥~

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Painted Cookies Mommy?


We decorated cookies for the first time together, with color!
I have made him cupcakes, cakes, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, funnel cake, many things, but not sugar cookies we can decorate.  Oh the excitement!  To have seen other kids eat it, and to have seen pretty colorful cookies at stores and bakeries, and not be able to touch it, to eat it..well now he finally could!
I have been looking for food coloring to make cakes, cupcakes and cookies fun for him forever.  Up until two weeks before Christmas, I only made white, a slight pink one (made from beets), and brown frosting made from real cacao powder.  Due to his many food allergies it was hard to find one I could trust to be safe, most of the ones I found had "modified food starch," which according to my research could be a range of food items.  And another I had found had sweet potatoes as coloring, it was all so hard to take a chance.  Finally found a food coloring that worked for us.
It turned out really crunchy, sweet and tasty, as for appearance, I can say, my son was pleased. :)  It was my first time decorating cookies so I give myself the pass, even if it wasn't the best looking...
Cutest thing to hear my son as me, "Mommy is it paint?"  "Is it yucky?  Can I taste it?"  "What is it mommy?"  Just because of the vibrant colors, he has seen them, but to actually know he can have them, I was so excited to finally be able to give him fun cookies to eat.
Since by now you already see, these are cookies from around Christmas, so to go along with my "going back in time" post, here's a pic of our tree. ;) 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cold Delicious Heaven - Rita's Italian Ice

This past summer we went to Rita's for the first time, and found out that our son can have ices from there.  It only took us three years to find out, and wish we had known sooner.  Good thing our son is still three years old and can enjoy Rita's from now on.  The joy I feel to be able to have my little boy choose which flavor or color he wants, is just amazing.  It's the only place he can have a cold treat from that we know of, and can not be any more thankful.  We have frequented there so many times since our first time this past summer.

They have an allergen chart where you can see all the flavors that have major allergens.  My son has come to love the pear, apple, and cotton candy flavors.  They offer different flavors that are freshly made daily.  You can sign up for special coupons or deals by joining their online birthday club as well.

I grew up eating ice cream, and am a huge fan so to be able to enjoy a frozen treat with my son on the go is incredible to us.  We do have other options like buying a pint of ice cream and bringing it home, but to be able to eat from a little shop is awesome.

So if you have food allergies, or know someone who does, check out Rita's!  It changed our evening drives, and gave us a treat after the movies.  We usually go to the one in Yonkers, New York, find your nearest location here.



**I wrote this post a while back and our nearest location has closed for the season.  Hopefully yours hasn't. :)