It’s Halloween! Carve ALL the pumpkins!

One of my must-do Halloween activities is carving pumpkins. This year Vita For Home sent me their stainless steel Pumpkin Carving Tool Set to try out. I’m happy to say, I was impressed with the durable tools!

I started my pumpkin project by making a Pinterest board for ideas and tips. So thanks to Pinterest, I decided to paint my pumpkin black to make it look cooler during the day. I really like the contrast of the orange showing through where it’s cut.

The kit came with a nice metal scooper, small carving saw and wedged shaped etching tool. I needed to use a larger knife to cut around the stem and remove the top piece, then went to town with the scooper/scraper. The metal scoop worked way better than the spoon I usually use. I was able to scrape the sides really clean and smooth. It even had serrated corners for digging out chunks.

After the pumpkin was all cleaned up, I drew my design on with chalk. My son had a smaller pumpkin and I let him draw his face on with a sharpie so I could cut it out for him. He wasn’t into scooping out goo and too little for a knife, so it was a good way to get him involved a little. He enjoyed sitting in my lap while I was carving my design.

The carving saw worked really well. I will definitely be adding these tools to my carving collection. So many pumpkin kits come with those flimsy knives that bend unless you poke them in just right. This small saw was very sturdy. My only complaint is that I wanted more! More tools like a larger knife for big parts and a poker for making small holes. This is a great starter kit for basic carving, and you can always raid the kitchen and get creative with basic utensils.

I was really happy with our pumpkin family results:

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If you’d like to try out the set, you can get here: www.VitaPumpkin.com and save with this 20% OFF COUPON CODE: RR6J3XMB

And then when you finish your masterpiece, be sure to post on Instagram and tag @VitaForHome to enter the pumpkin carving contest with a chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card

Pumpkin Carving contest rules:

1. Must be a pumpkin (of course!)

2. All entries must either be published to Instagram with @VitaForHome tagged and hashtags:
– #VitaForHome
– #CelebrateWithVita
– #CarvingContest
OR the contestant can email their submissions to hello@vitaforhome.com
3. The winner will be announced on November 20th
4. The prize is a $200 Amazon Gift Card

The Collection Obsession

charm-necklaceWhen I was little (back in the 80s), the first thing I remember being obsessed with was my charm necklace. Or more specifically, the little charms that hook into the plastic chain link necklaces. The charms were everything from tiny unicorns to roller skates. I recall being quite the 3rd grade gangsta loaded down with charms.

Next it was jelly bracelets. I had them all the way to my elbows. Then Garbage Pail kids. I was out of the game before Pokémon came along, but it’s no surprise to learn that kids are still into the “gotta collect ’em all” mentality.

The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company is playing into that with their Surprizamals collection, which combines the surprise egg theme with the collecting aspect. There’s a surprise cuddly little animal inside each red ball. They sent me five free ones to check out and review. They retail for $4.99 and are recommened for age 3+. The age group for these is a little older than my son, but I knew he’d totally be into the surprise egg part thanks to his obsession with Ryan’s Toy Review on YouTube.

So this is how the tryout went:

Day 1, Egg 1

Saw red egg and immediatly lost it yelling “Surprise egg! Surprise egg!” Found a Fenley Fox inside. Liked it so much he slept with.

Day 2, Egg 2

Next I decided to take one to the playground to see what the other kids thought. We got a cute little Lola Lady Bug (ultra rare!), which one of the other kids promptly ran off with to bury in the sand. Before I knew it all the pieces were everywhere. Tags, egg halves, Lola… I did manage to get our lady bug back before we went home but her egg was nowhere to be found.

Day 3, Eggs 3 – 5

Got a unicorn. He’s decided he doesn’t like the tags, which really are long and cumbersome so I had to remove them.

Day 4, All the eggs

Egg halves are scattered around the house along with 3 foxes, a lady bug and unicorn. The little animals are so soft that every time I step on one I think I’ve stepped on a cat paw or tail. Keelan mostly likes to put them back in the egg and then open it again. I actually think his favorite thing is the egg.

The final verdict:

The materials say “hours of fun” but that’s kind of stretching it. But really, is anything hours of fun to a toddler? It’s more like, repeated fun with the bonus of an egg to play with and refill! I don’t think he quite gets the collecting aspect, but I can guarantee you if we see these at the checkout line he’s going to be begging for one.

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My Blond Ambition

img_5468My first VoxBox arrived from Influenster and I was pretty excited to get to try out the Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME tone enhancing shampoo and conditioner mask for free. This is a combo product review and regular blog post, because I actually already had this “Blond Ambition” post in my drafts just waiting to be finished so I figured, why not combine them?

I’m usually excited to try anything for free, but currently my blond needs some help so this was just what I needed. Since I went SAHM, I have not gotten within 20 feet of a salon and only then because I was driving past it.

I’m just going to confess right now and tell you all I was not born blond. In fact, I was so un-blond that I had a full head of nearly black hair. I’ve always felt this was a terrible mistake. Like, maybe somebody switched my hair follicles at birth. My hair continues to disappoint me by growing out of my head several shades darker than I desire, so of course I turned to the bottle at an early age. The bottle of Sun-In, of course.

As soon as I discovered this “natural” way of going blond I soaked my hair daily and fried myself in the sun all summer. I was rewarded with a brittle mess of very brassy blond strands and got to tell everyone honestly, “the sun did this.”

I later moved on to the salon, and spent my son’s last day of daycare at the salon getting highlights, lowlights and all the lights in between because I knew it would be the last time I saw the salon for a looooooong time. Stay-at-home-moms do not get the luxury of 4 hour salon visits.

So now I am tackling these dark roots with some fancy Miss Clairol from Sally’s Beauty Supply. And I’ve been wanting to go a little darker blond so of course that translates into “orange.” So back to my free sample stuff. I liked it! But, I am a fan of the purple shampoo products in general. I felt like the products toned down the brassiness and darkened the blond a little, while making the lighter blonds stand out a little more. I probably would have been super impressed if I’d never tried a purple toning product before. But I was very happy with the results. And the hair mask was conditioning enough that I didn’t have to follow-up with my favorite conditioner. I have curly wavy weird hair that just turns into dreads if I don’t use a good conditioner. I think every blond needs some kind of toning shampoo/conditioner to brighten things up every now and then and these products did a nice job. They are a bit on the pricey side for me right now as this SAHM gig doesn’t pay well, so I wouldn’t use them as my every day product but more like a weekly blond refresher.

And one day, after pre-school starts, I’ll get to visit a salon again. I’m hoping they can give me the most perfect blond I’ve ever seen…the color growing out of my son’s head (I produced a true blond so I think that grandfathers me in, right? Lol)

 

The Secret’s Out – Moms are Tired

Mom tired is a different kind of tired. We exist in a state of high functioning exhaustion. I am just now getting used to being able to have a good night’s sleep again and wake up at a decent time. Sleep is a wonderful thing and I have never appreciated it so much in my life.

But sometimes you don’t get good sleep and you still have to chase a toddler all over the place while putting on your happy face and be Excited about Everything! And that’s when we need some help.

img_4271Marketing people are catching on and targeting tired moms. I recently got these free samples of the new V8 Energy drink through BzzAgent.com. I really liked them! They are light and refreshing and it’s not a jolt of energy but it does seem to have a little kick to it. So I went and did my promo duty by posting a photo on my Instagram. Then I figured I’d click the hashtags and see what other people were posting. It was all mom’s posting about refueling to keep up with the kids!

So they are on to us…and at least looking to help. I can’t stop thinking of mixing it with vodka though, lol.

So what do you guys do or what have you tried to get through that afternoon (sometimes all day) slump?

Star Wars Mac & Cheese Makes Forks Easy

As a first time mom, I am learning as I go. I had no smaller siblings, so I know nothing about babies and kids. I wanted to start doing little reviews of products and things I found useful. So here’s my first thing:

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Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, Star Wars style!

ok, so yes I bought it because it was Star Wars mac & cheese, but I came to find out it was actually really useful! The little shapes make it so much easier for my two-year-old son to pick the pieces up using a fork (or spork) and that means he eats more of his meal and less lands in his lap/on floor/in hair.

It cooks fast, but gets pretty hot. If your toddler is anything like mine, than anything over room temperature is deemed “too hot.” So I cook it up, dump it in a bowl and then stick it in the freezer. Stir a couple times and it is good to go. Or if  you are in a hurry, make it a little thick and toss in an ice cube for a quick cool down.

PS – if they don’t eat it all, it is also a tasty adult snack as well. I find that a plus in any toddler meal.