> Mom Knows Best ~ Healthy Recipes, Fitness & Parenting.: September 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Enjoy A Delicious Healthy Meal In Three Minutes

Three minutes is all it takes for a healthy & delicious lunch!


I received samples of Blount Rice & Noodle Bowls to facilitate this post but the opinions are my own.

  My husband's job keeps him quite busy and he often has little time for lunch. So if he does not pack a lunch, he tends to grab lunch at a fast food place. He knows that is not the best option for lunch but when hunger strikes and he has little time that is what he eats. So I make sure he has food options at home so he can quickly pack a lunch the night before. I know I could make his lunch for him but the one time that I did, I made it all wrong. It had something to do with not placing the sandwich fixings in the right order. So I don't make his lunch anymore. My husband lately is tired of sandwiches so I have been trying to buy healthy food that is easy for him to combine into a delicious lunch. My husband likes quick and easy lunches. So when I discover these rice and noodle bowls that only take three minutes to cook, I decided to have my husband try them. My husband liked that he could keep some in his office fridge for quick healthy lunches. The flavors of these meals sounded so delicious that even I had to try one. 

Chicken made without antibiotics is always a good thing


  My husband like that these quick meals had meat in them. I like that Blount thought of us non-meat eaters and made a delicious vegan Vegetable & Rice Bowl that is even gluten-free. My boys were excited about the noodles in the meals. Everyone agreed that the best part of these meals, after the delicious taste, was easy they were to make.

Meals that even kids can make


 My boys know how to use the microwave so they made their own Blount Bowls on a night that this mom did not feel like cooking. It was quite simple for them as all they had to do was add the noodles to the sauce bowl and cook for three minutes. The meals had plenty of flavor and veggies. My picky eater actually ate vegetables that night! He said that the roasted sauce from the Hibachi Chicken & Rice Bowl was so good that it made the vegetables taste good! My son had no clue that he ate red peppers and onions as all he tasted was a delicious tomato sauce.


These Asian-Inspired and Thai Inspired Bowls Were Delicious

My husbands favorite Blount meal was the Coconut Chicken & Noodle Bowl as he loved the thick and creamy sauce. My Vegetable & Rice Bowl had the same sauce as the Coconut Chicken bowl and lots of delicious veggies. I do love veggies. My youngest son enjoyed the Chicken Ramen Bowl
and said it was a delicious soup with noodles.


  Blount also has a Beef Pho Vietnamese Style Beef Noodle Bowl for those who love beef.  My husband has requested that I buy these Rice & Noodle Bowls more often so he can grab them out the door for his work lunch or enjoy one on fend for yourself dinner nights. Discover all the Rice & Noodle Bowls that Blount makes HERE.

Which Noodle or Rice Bowl would you try first?



Aleve Muscle & Back Pain Never Back Down Sweepstakes

I received compensation from Aleve to write this post. All opinions are entirely my own. #NeverBackDown #Aleve #CollectiveBias

 Are you an ALL-IN type A person who never backs down from life? You are the go-to source for everyone around you. Kids! Spouse! Aging Parent! Work Responsibilities! Personal Goals! You can't take a seat on the sidelines of life because everyone depends on you and nothing can get in the way of working toward your goals - not even back or muscle pain!

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Green Beauty Products That I Discover For Cooler Days

Take your summer glow into the fall months with these green beauty products.


    I received a box of organic skin care products from Sanre to facilitate this post.

 The cooler weather will be here before I know it. Here in Albuquerque our cooler temperatures usually start at the beginning of October around the time our Balloon Fiesta begins and that is just the morning/evening temperatures. The daytime temps stay warm enough for shorts up until November. There have been many Halloweens here that my kids are too warm in their costumes. It is always the early morning of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta that I am complaining about having to wear jeans. It is hard to transition from wearing shorts and a tank top the day before to jeans and a jacket. I am always glad that I dressed warm as it quite chilly at 5:30 am while waiting for the hot air balloons to go up. By 10 am I am stripping off the layers as it back to 70 degrees. The hot/cold temperatures can do a number on my skin so it is around this time that I start using thicker creams on my dry skin. This fall I am excited to use some new organic SkinFood products that I received the other day.

Natural organic ingredients are best for my skin

I received samples of beauty products to facilitate this post.

  I try to eat natural organic food so it makes perfect sense to me to put organic ingredients on my skin. My son's sensitive skin has made me more conscious of what I put on my skin. So I want to keep my skin healthy the same way I do for my body. When this box of skinfood products arrived, I was like a kid in a candy store and I just had to try them all. I really liked the names of Sanre creams and they all had wonderful natural scents that did not affect my allergies. If a product has a chemical scent, I will start coughing due to my sensitive lungs. My husband brought home a hand lotion from his last trip that did not have a natural fragrance and it set me into an allergy fit when he applied it to his hands. So he now uses it in the morning before I wake up.

  My favorite organic cream was the C-Love as it had a nice cherry scent. The Supple Sunshine -Solar- was my favorite cream to use at bedtime as it had soothing lavender in it. These skinfood creams were thick and made my skin feel so smooth.

 Natural fragrances are always good for my allergies


  The next two products that I pulled out of the box was a purifying cleanser and a hemp serum. I was amazed at how well this cleanser cleaned my skin. I took a shower the night before after wearing makeup, so I thought my face was clean. I guess my soap in the shower missed some spots as my white washcloth turned brown and I did not leave the house that day. After I washed my face I used the serum which was a nicely scented oil. I like applying oils to my face for intense hydration. I find that while oils make my skin so soft, they also make my skin look greasy so I use beauty oils before bed.


Lips that taste like chocolate is awesome!

  I got excited when I saw a Chocolate Lips moisturizer as I love anything with the taste of chocolate. This lip product had a sweet taste to it but it did not taste like chocolate to me. That is probably a good thing as I would be licking my lips all day. The Sweet Lips also had a nice taste to it but it was not sugary. I guess the nice taste is good as I tend to lick my lips. So you will never see me wearing lipstick as they taste bad and they get messy on me.


    The last products were sample sizes but these teasers of a product were fun to try. The radiant glow was too dark for my skin but it blended quite well into my skin so I might just have to buy a shade lighter for some natural color on my face. I loved the Vanilla Sensation Solar as it smelled so good and I would be better about applying my sunscreen when it smells like vanilla and has organic ingredients in it.

Sunscreen that smells like vanilla gets me excited



WHAT MAKES SANRE UNIQUE

  Sanre makes there products in small batches by hand and they use safe organic ingredients that one can recognize, ones that are non-toxic. These ingredients are nourishing and healing to the skin like food is to the body. I love that use cold-pressed USDA Organic Oils and natural scents from spices and fruit extracts. The spices that they choose also have skin benefits that help with inflammation, bacteria, and wrinkles. In fact, many of the ingredients are found in foods that we eat. Your skin is like a sponge so what you rub on your face does get into your bloodstream. So if an ingredient is not safe to eat, is it safe to put on your skin? This is my new thinking about my skincare products that I am trying to use. Go take a look at Sanre's website and see all the wonderful natural ingredients that they put into their products. I wish the internet had a way to transport scent as these products smell so amazing!

Which of these products would you like to try?


About SanRe Organic Skinfood: 
A revolutionary way to handle your skincare needs. The brand brings together the best ingredients with the latest in green beauty innovation. The SanRe beauty line includes everything from intense hydrating moisturizers, lip treatments, and more. Created with quality in mind, the line focuses on using natural ingredients to help your skin bounce back after exposure to the summer sun.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Track Glow In The Dark Race Set Giveaway

My boys said this is the best toy ever!


   I received a Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Track System to facilitate this post

  My boys love this time of year as they get to play with the hottest toys for the holiday season. They love that their mom gets her hands on toys that they see on their favorite Youtube shows. My email can get flooded with requests for toy features and reviews, so I only choose toys that I know my boys an now new granddaughter would enjoy. Sometimes I let my boys know about the toys that are arriving and other times I keep it a surprise. This Max Flex 300 RC Glow In The Dark Race Set was a total surprise for my boys. They came home from school and saw the bow on the table and started jumping for joy. Thankfully we were heading out the door and the next day was Saturday as the boys kept asking when they could build the race track set. I thought I was able to buy some time taking pictures on Saturday as the boys had to first help a neighbor pull weeds. I was on the phone when the boys came home and they could not wait anymore. So while I was on the phone, they started building the RC Race Track set.

Ready to build right out of the  box



   I was amazed that they had the tracks all put together by the I finished with my phone call. This was a great phone call as my daughter called to say that they were moving back to Albuquerque. I was so overjoyed as now I could spend more time with my new granddaughter. When I walked into the room that the boys were in they were playing with the race cars. They both said "thank you, mom, for this awesome toy! It is the best toy ever!" 

Two side-by-side race tracks can grow up to 25 feet in length



  The boys said the race tracks were super easy to put together. The boys did not even need instructions. Thank goodness we had the 8 AA batteries that the set needed. The batteries are for the remotes and the cars charge from a hidden cord inside the handheld remotes. My son told me that the cars charged super fast and the cars lasted a long time before they needed charging again. I had fun watching my boys play with the Race Car set. These cars were going super fast around the track. All that my boys had to do was press the lever on their remote and the cars started moving. I love that the cars and remotes are color coordinated.

Long range and different speeds are awesome


   I wanted to see the range on the remotes so I had my son stand in the other room. My son did not even have to point the remote at his car and he was at least five feet away from the track. Racers can also make the cars go at different speeds with how they touch the remotes.

Unlimited possibilities for track building


  My boys quickly figured out that they could snap the tracks together in many different ways so they could build the track in many different ways. Some of the track pieces were also flexible so that made for so much creativity. The flexible tracks could be made all one color or into dual color tracks as the orange and blue pieces easily separated. My boys had the flexible track in circles and had the straight pieces going over books. I was amazed at all the ways the build the race tracks for the cars. There were 300 flexible pieces that included tracks and pieces to raise the track up.


Hours of fun


  My boys played with the Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Glow In The Dark Race Set all day and night. They quickly did their chore of emptying the dishwasher so they could get back to playing with the fash RC cars. I gave them the day off from folding laundry as they were having so much fun together with no fighting. The boys moved the RC tracks into their older brother's room so they could see it Glow in the dark. The boys were amazed at how the tracks changed colors while the cars quickly sped around the tracks. We did try the glow in the dark feature on a table in the laundry room but quickly realized that the track set works best on the carpet. That is a big plus in this house as remember past RC car sets that needed tile floors and my bathroom was the place for the races. With the car tracks working best on the carpet that means that the boys can keep the RC race track set up in their bedroom. Of course, there are no worries if they need to put the car tracks away as the tracks are so easy to put together and it is fun to build in many ways.

Everything fits in the box for storage


  My boys said, "mom we need to save the box to store the RC set in." When I put all the pieces back into the box, I was amazed at how it all fit into the box and I could close the box up. I am glad that I do not have to buy another plastic tote for storage like I had to for other toy sets. Another cool thing about the Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Track System is how it is compatible with other car track sets. So now my boys are getting some use out of their old race car tracks, you know the ones that were so hard to build and had such big pieces that were a pain to store.

This new Max Flex RC product combines flex track and straight track racing to provide a challenging experience for beginning and advanced racing fans - a combination of off-road and on-road racing. Each set includes 2 Tracer Racers RC cars which beam down purple light rays from their undercarriage onto track specially engineered to emit glow remnants long after the racer has passed.


See the RC cars in action!



The race track set glows in the dark!



Giveaway
I am so excited that I am able to giveaway one of these awesome Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Track Glow In The Dark Race Set to one lucky reader. This RC car set would be the perfect Christmas gift. Only one person will win so if don't want to risk this set being sold out at Christmas time, then head on over to HERE to purchase the Max Flex 300 RC Flexible Track Glow In The Dark Race Set.

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 years of age or older.  Chances of winning this giveaway depend on the number of entries. All entries will be verified. The winner will be notified within 48 hours of the end of the contest and will then have 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited


Friday, September 21, 2018

FREE HORMEL® COMPLEATS®


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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Discovering A Milk Allergy With A Blood Test

Do I have a milk allergy?


   I received blood testing in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own.

  I recently cut all dairy from my diet to see if it could help with my asthmatic cough. I do think that I have a dairy allergy and I want to confirm it with a test. I decided to do a blood test instead of a skin test so I would not have to stop my allergy medicines. So I made an appointment at Health Testing Centers to get the needed blood work done. It was quite simple to make this appointment and the best part was I did not need a doctor to order the test. I went online and selected the allergy test that I needed. There were many different allergy tests to select from as well as other tests for other health problems. I was amazed at all the different types of blood tests (lab testing) that Health Testing Centers offers without a visit to the doctor. This lab even has walk-in same day appointments.


A bit of history about why I think I have a dairy allergy

    I was able to control my allergy induced asthma symptoms with two allergy medicines and other simple things, that is until the beginning of this year. What I thought was cold in January turned out to be worse than I thought. When this cough that left lasted more than three weeks and left me gasping for air, I suspected that my allergy medicine was not working anymore. I tried natural things to see if it would help with my allergies. My family was pushing me to see a doctor but I was reluctant to go as from the past experience with my son's asthma diagnosis, I knew that it could take several months to see a doctor and I would also have to stop taking my allergy medicines for two weeks. I did not want to stop taking my medicines because I was afraid that my asthmatic cough would get worse and I would end up in the emergency room. I had already had several coughing episodes that I had trouble breathing but since I was able to rebound in less than 2 minutes, I thought I was fine but I was not. During this time I was not getting much sleep as I would wake up way too many times to cough. I also tried my son's asthma inhaler but it did not help. I also did not want to take medicine if I could treat this naturally. I was getting used to this nagging asthma cough and lack of sleep. I did discover that a natural menthol rub helped open my airways so I could get all the mucus out. So I carried that everywhere. There were a couple times that I almost called the doctor after some pretty bad coughing attacks, that left me gasping for air, while I was driving but I told myself it would get better. My teen was in the car with me at those times when I joked with him about grabbing the wheel if I passed out (I was not joking though as I was afraid) and said: "mom you are wheezing and you need to see the doctor!" During this time I was also having bad coughing attacks after I worked out at the gym, again telling myself that the coughing was a good way to get the mucus out. Why is it that I get my children to the doctor but not myself?

My asthma was not in control

  Finally one day in church, I prayed to be healed of this cough. All my other prayers were for just the coughing to stop. God did not heal me that day but He revealed to me that maybe it might be dairy that is causing this asthmatic cough. I already had lactose issues and my daughter had a milk allergy when she was little so it made me think. It made perfect sense as looking back to January, this was also the time when I started eating a bedtime snack of cheese and crackers. I also was consuming a protein drink made from whey(dairy) protein. So I made the decision to cut out all dairy from my diet and I was not happy about it. After a week of craving pizza and I still had a cough, I was hoping that it was not a dairy allergy. So I gave in and ate several slices of pizza. Several hours later I could not stop coughing when my husband called me. He asked me if I ate cheese. So I again stopped eating all dairy and enlisted my boys to make sure I did not. I had read that it could take 4-6 weeks to get the dairy out of my system. Later that week when I was craving pizza again, I went to the store in search of a dairy-free cheese. I found 4 packages of dairy-free cheese that were on clearance and they tasted like real cheese. The cheese sub also melted! I also found several packages of dairy-free ice cream on clearance too that was quite delicious!

Could my asthmatic coughing be related to dairy?

  I got through the next four weeks telling myself that I would enjoy pizza when we visited my son in New York to confirm if it truly was a dairy issue. Those four weeks past and I began to notice, my family did too, that I was coughing less and I was not gasping for air after the coughing attacks. I was also not coughing up buckets of mucus. When this cough first started, I had a cloth always by my side to spit all that excess mucus in. I also was finally sleeping through the night as I did not wake up with an uncontrollable cough.

I went without dairy for six weeks

  Five weeks of no dairy past and we headed to New York. The first night we were there my family had pizza but I instead had a pho bowl from a restaurant that was near the pizza place. I was convinced that dairy was causing this asthmatic cough and I no longer was craving pizza or cheese. I also realized it was never my allergy medicine not working as we had way too much rain here in the past month and the weeds are growing like crazy. I am not coughing anymore. So when the opportunity came up for me to have a blood test to see if I was allergic to dairy, I decided to test my blood to confirm my dairy allergy so I will not be tempted to eat cheese or yogurt. When I told my friends my dairy-free diet, that asked me what do I eat?  I also don't eat meat and have problems with soy so I am thankful for my vegan & allergy friendly protein bars.

The day of the blood test to confirm if I was allergic to dairy


   I arrived at the lab, which was a 20-minute drive from my house. The check-in process was super simple as I had paid for the test online. All I had to do was get the confirmation code that was texted to me scanned in. Since I had made an appointment, it did not take long to get my blood drawn. I love how easy it was to sign in at the self-check-in, just scanned my code. The front desk person was very friendly. The lab tech took a couple vials of blood from me. Why does that needle have to hurt? I am the one that closes my eyes when I have blood drawn. I was amazed at how quickly I was in and out. I think I was there a total of 15 minutes.

About 1-2 weeks for blood results

  I also decided to get a basic food allergy profile test done since they were already poking me. This test included things like soy, wheat, peanuts, and egg whites. I think I might have issues with soy also as I tend to get a drippy nose and belch a lot after I eat tofu. So I decided to get the info on soy also as I do not want this asthmatic cough to return. If I can control food triggers, my allergy induced asthma will be so much more controlled. Now if I can only avoid grass, weeds, dust, smoke, chemicals, and mold, I would never have that take my breath away cough. I am learning to stay away from many of the above triggers but it is not always possible. Like the chemicals at the hospital when my daughter had her baby. I have learned to close windows and workout at the when the air quality is bad from the smoke. I also stay away from the gym when the cleaning crew is there.


The results of the blood test



  I was surprised that my food allergy blood results came back in 6 days. The results indicated that I had a likelihood of a milk allergy and a soy allergy. My IgE results also showed a likelihood of a wheat and a peanut allergy which was surprising to me as I had no symptoms. Now after doing some research, I learned that food allergy testing may have false negatives and false positives. So these results are only useful if you have had reactions to the food. Also that the IgE levels do not indicate the severity only that you may have an allergy. Any level over 0.10 indicates a likelihood of a food allergy.  You could also have a negative result and still be allergic to the food especially if you have symptoms. An oral food test gives one best results but can take several hours in a doctors office. I could also reintroduce the dairy into my diet but I don't want to experience severe asthma symptoms and then have to wait 3-4 weeks for it clear out.

 Since my asthma got better after eliminating milk and I have bad indigestion after eating soy, then the high IgE tells me that I am allergic to milk and soy. Since I have not had any known reactions to wheat or peanuts, then the results may be a false positive. My son had allergy testing last year and it showed he a was allergic to eggs and the doctor said to not eliminate them from his diet unless he showed symptoms. My son hates eggs and does not eat them so he may be allergic to them. For now, I will not eat milk or soy products as I do not want to experience those severe asthma symptoms again. I will still eat peanuts and wheat but I will pay attention to how I feel after I eat those. I dislike peanut butter so that is not a problem for me. My son told me to eat two peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread to see if I do have any reactions. I have been paying attention to my body though when I accidentally eat a little bit of dairy. I had pesto (has parmesan cheese) the other day on my cheeseless pizza and I noticed that later that day I had a drippy nose and coughed up some phlegm. This again happened after I had a piece of chocolate.

So why did this develop later in life?

 I guess that some milk was causing reactions and my allergy medicines were relieving the symptoms or I was blaming other allergies like weeds and mold. I had always eaten cheese on occasion, up until last year, and when I ate it every day is when it developed into uncontrollable asthma. Drinking milk and eating ice cream has always made me feel sick. I did not drink milk as a kid as I hated the taste but I look bad and remember that I was sick a lot as a kid with ear infections and upset stomach problems.

What I thought to be a lactose problem was a milk allergy.

Common allergy symptoms:
Skin rash, itching, hives
Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing
Stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea


  Since I always experience nausea after eating milk products, I thought that I had lactose issues and I just tolerated it. I guess my nightly snack of cheese and crackers was just too much and that caused my asthma to be out of control. The crackers were wheat crackers, makes me wonder about the wheat allergy thing. For now, I will avoid all dairy and soy. I may in the winter when my seasonal allergies subside, another cause of my asthma, eat dairy on occasion to see how my body reacts as I do love pizza. I am glad that I discovered dairy-free cheese and dairy-free ice cream.

What blood test would you like to have completed?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Biking To Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta is a must-see event!


   The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2018 is happening very soon! I just can't wait to see all those hot air balloons in the sky. The 47th annual event will feature more than 500 hot air balloons and lots of people. The Balloon Fiesta can have crowds of 80,000 people so that means lots of cars and traffic.  There are ways to avoid the traffic and the long lines to park and I am going to share my favorite way to get to the Balloon Fiesta. My favorite way to get to Balloon Fiesta is by bike and it is a 15-30 minute trip. If you choose to bike you not only get some great exercise but you also save $10 on parking and the stress of waiting forever in the long lines of traffic. There is even free valet parking for your bike which is staffed by local bicycle group volunteers. The free valet parking is available to all people attending the Balloon Fiesta event even if you are not a local. I live in Albuquerque but I have many friends who live in Rio Rancho and they even bike to the event. 


Biking to the Balloon Fiesta is a great way to avoid congested traffic and parking conditions near Balloon Fiesta Park. My son and I biked to the event a couple of years ago and discovered a bike trail that runs along the AMAFCA North Diversion Channel and crosses underneath Paseo del Norte and Alameda Blvd. This trail continues north where it crosses from the west side to the east side ending just north of the Balloon Museum. There you will find the Bike Valet staffed by local bicycle group volunteers. There are many bike trails in Albuquerque that lead to this bike trail but I found an easier way to get to this trail and it involves way less bicycling time too. You simply put your bike in or on your car and park at the Los Ranchos/Journal Rail Runner station. The bike trail begins at that station. I recommend using this method on the weekends and as it might be hard to find a parking spot during the week with people taking the train to work. 


      I biked this trail last weekend and it only took me 15 minutes to get to the Balloon Fiesta Park. The best part about this trail is you don't even have to ride with traffic as it is bike trails all the way. I am going to share some tips on how to bike safely to the park. Since the balloons go up way early in the morning you will be biking in the dark so other than making sure your tires have air, make sure you have lights on your bike. Please remember when you ride to the morning sessions you will be arriving in the dark and when you leave the evening sessions you will be leaving in the dark. I recommend both a back tail light and front headlight as the trail will be dark. I also recommend a LED Light Reflective Safety Vest for great eye-catching visibility in the dark. I discovered a vest that works great for biking and running. This vest is lightweight and comfortable. I really like the way the LED lights light up my body so I can be seen by other bikers. My younger boys want to borrow my safety vest for their Halloween costume this year. It is adjustable so it will fit them and it will make trick or treating safer too. 



                      Check out these

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Insider Tips



Dress Warm in Layers  
It can be quite chilly in the early morning so make sure you are dressed warm and don't forget the gloves. As Albuquerque warms up once the sun comes out you can then shed some of the layers of clothes for your bike ride back to your car. 

Wear a bike helmet
 Always be safe when bike riding and protect your head with a bike helmet.

Bring Water  
Even though it is cold out you will need water as you are exercising.

Bring a Backpack 
 A backpack is great to carry your water and snacks in. Make sure there is room to put any clothes that you take off like a sweatshirt as it warms up.

Take Along Snacks  
You will need some snacks to give you the energy to bike back to your car, of course, you can always buy some food at the Fiesta.

Money  
You will need money to get into the Fiesta and to buy great food like breakfast burritos and New Mexico Pinon coffee.

Bike Baskets  
These are nice to have but not necessary. I do a lot of bike riding and use my baskets for trips to the grocery store. If you have a basket or pouch, bring it to carry back any souvenirs. The backpack is also good for this.

CellPhone  
I know most people don't leave the house without this. The phone is not only great for calls but also for all the pictures you will be taking. So bring a portable charger too. A camera also works great too. Who remembers the day when the Balloon Fiesta sold disposable cameras and film?


     So if you are local to the area considered biking this year to Balloon Fiesta and avoid all the traffic. You will get some great exercise and save money too. After attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta you might just want to move here as not only do we have hot air balloons year round, we also have great food and pretty good weather most of the time. So if after attending the event you decide that you want to move to New Mexico, check out some homes for sale in Rio Rancho, NM or in Albuquerque, NM. 


Will you be attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta?


Photo from the Balloon Fiesta nighttime glow. 

Extend The Learning Outside The Classroom With VTech and LeapFrog

Summer is over & it’s time to start thinking about school!

       I received some toys from VTech and LeapFrog to check out for my new granddaughter.

  My boys are all back in school. The youngest two are now in 5th and 6th grade and the older two are in college. So now it is time to shift the focus from all day fun to learning along with fun. I believe that kids learn best when there is some fun involved. My children have always been good students as I developed the love for learning at an early age. When my kids were young they enjoyed using interactive learning toys when they were not in school. These toys along with mom interaction helped my children learn things like ABCs, Math, reading, and so much more. Then when they started school the interactive toys helped them increase the things that their teacher taught them. The fun toys that played music and had bright lights along with buttons to press were also great for long car trips. My boys had fun and learned at the same time.

Check out these tips for helping your child succeed in school 

  Now that my boys are older, they prefer learning games on the computer instead of the handheld interactive learning toys. My daughter just had a baby so as a first-time grandma, I am now looking at some fun learning toys that VTech and LeapFrog have that introduce important skills. My grandbaby is still too young for these type of toys as all those flashing lights and sounds are too stimulating for her growing brain. I believe that these types of toys are great ages 2 and up. I also believe that electronic toys should not replace interaction between a parent and a child. Parents should still read and sing to their children. I am one that uses the trip to the store with my child as quality time and I will use this opportunity for learning by having my kids help me look for items in the store. It cringes me when I see young kids in a shopping cart watching a movie on a device and a parent talking on the phone. I once even saw a young child watching a movie on a phone while walking behind their parents in a store. We parents need to slow down and spend time with our kids even if it means talking to them while at the grocery store.

Interactive toys can enhance learning

  Notice that I said these toys can enhance one on one learning that kids get from parents or teachers and should not be a substitute for learning. These type of toys can help the parent teach their child as the sounds and bright lights stimulate senses and encourage fine learning. They can also help build important skills. My boys would play with these toys and I would have fun with them. I just loved singing the ABCs with my boys. I love the learning toys that have a digital writing pen as it saves paper as they are learning to write.

Check out my favorites for my new grandbaby!



VTECH® Touch & Discover Sensory Turtle™ 
           Ages 3+ months

   I like this cute turtle as it can be enjoyed without the electronic part, making it a perfect toy for younger kids. My grandbaby can get some great fine motor skills and sensory play as she touches the different textures on the turtle. I love that this cute colorful turtle is also soft so little ones will not be hurt when they drop it. The turtle also has a mirror as babies love looking at themselves. When my granddaughter gets older, her mom can turn the turtle on so the baby can press the buttons to learn her colors. This cute plush will be great for long car ride entertainment.


 When the Touch & Discover Sensory Turtle™ comes out of his shell, he's sure to entertain your little one! This cuddly plush turtle features a variety of textures, colors, and patterns to stimulate your baby's senses and encourage fine motor skills. Play peek-a-boo with the cute and cuddly turtle by tucking in his head and legs to change him into a soft, wobbly ball for 2-in-1 play. The chunky button on the top of the shell is easy for little ones to press and lights up in a variety of colors as it responds with sounds, music, and cute phrases. The shell includes a baby-safe mirror, rattle, and ring. There's plenty to see, touch and explore with this textured tortoise!


LEAPFROG® Go-with-Me ABC Backpack™     Age 3+ years

 When my daughter starts teaching the baby her ABCs, this Backpack will help my granddaughter recognize the letters and help her to write the letters. I like that everything stores inside the case so nothing gets lost. I can see little ones having fun carrying the interactive toy on their back and pretending to go to school. The toy will help my daughter to help the baby associate the letters with sounds and words as they place the letters into the spaces. I remember the fun that my boys use to have pressing buttons on their ABC toy and the repeating the letter and the word that the toy would say. This would be a perfect toy to take along for doctor appointments to help pass the time while waiting for the doctor in the boring examination room. I never understood why all the fun toys were in the waiting room and there was never anything to play with once we got back to the exam room, except for a couple books that we read through quickly. This mom could only do so much singing or I Spy while waiting forever for the doctor.

Embark on a learning adventure with Mr. Pencil and the Go-with-Me ABC Backpack™. This one of a kind toy lets toddlers interact with the alphabet in awesome ways. Using the write and erase board, kids can practice letter writing and draw with Mr. Pencil. The screen shows how to write each letter step-by-step and then shows how to turn each letter into animals. Inserting the 26 letter pieces into the letter spaces teaches the letter name, letter sound, an animal that begins with that letter and more. Little learners can play seven different activities and when they’re done, the plastic backpack holds all the pieces inside. Clip the backpack closed and wear like a real backpack for learning on the go. Draw, learn and get going!



LEAPFROG® Storytime Buddy™
      Age 2+ years

 This cute puppy will be great for long car trips and helping my grandbaby fall asleep. I always read a story to my boys at bedtime but there were some nights that they had trouble falling asleep after the story and they wanted to stay up all night. So I would turn on some music or play a book on a tape to help them fall asleep. This cute puppy is soft so it can stay in bed with them and maybe when the baby wakes up she will play with the toy for a bit so mom can get that much-needed sleep. This toy can encourage a love for reading in young kids while helping them learn numbers, shapes, and other items. It is never to early to start reading to babies, my daughter who is also a teacher even brought a children's book to the hospital when the baby was born. I am not sure if she got a chance to read to the baby as the baby was having trouble learning to eat. My grandbaby is going to be smart as I know that my daughter will read to her plenty as my daughter read to her younger brothers. I remember the first time I brought one of the youngest boys, who was 18 months at the time, to the library and how he got so excited about seeing all the books.

Encourage a love of reading with the plush Storytime Buddy™! Choose from five books about Buddy and his friends Bella, Cooper, Mona, and Pepper and Buddy will read each one. Beginner readers can read along while learning about emotions, shapes, numbers, colors, and opposites. Kids can also interact with Buddy by answering reading comprehension questions and singing along to happy learning songs. When it's time for bed, they can snuggle up and drift off to sleep as Buddy quietly reads bedtime stories or plays Brahms' Lullaby while his tag becomes a color-changing nightlight.

Which LeapFrog or VTech toy is your favorite?


Monday, September 17, 2018

Earn Amazon Gift Codes With C Space

This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.



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My Discovery Of A Drug Free Airborne Particle Blocker Called NasalGuard

Can a simple Drug-Free gel help with my allergies?


  This year has been a tough one for my seasonal allergies. We had a mild winter last year and that meant that I never got a much-needed break from all the things that trigger my allergies. While I hate the cold winters, I know they are needed to freeze all the plants out there that cause my seasonal allergies. When we have a cold winter I can take a break from my allergy medicines but this year I was not able to do that as my asthmatic cough kicked in in January in full force so much that I had several episodes of breathing problems and was coughing up way too much mucus. I have always been able to keep my allergy induced asthma under control with a couple of allergy medicines but not this year. Through research, I learned about things that could help when that phlegm blocked my airways. I found out that my daily habit of coffee was actually good for opening my airways so I could get all that mucus from my asthma triggers out of my lungs. I also learned that a dairy allergy was causing my asthma too. I already had lactose issues from dairy so I was not happy that I could not have cheese.


I have way too many asthma triggers

   Then spring brought rain and more weeds. While I know that we needed the rain, I just wish those darn weeds would not come with it. With rain also comes mold, another trigger of my asthma so I was glad when things got dry again. The dryness then meant our state was at risk for forest fires. It is quite common to have forest fires in New Mexico in the summer so that can bring in smoke which is another asthma trigger of mine along with dust. Ironically the fires here did not settle the smoke near me but the recent fires of California and Washington did. So my summers are a vicious cycle for me dry means fewer weeds but the risk of smoke from fires. The rain which is needed to keep the fires away brings weeds that makes me cough. Yes, I have to close my windows when my neighbors burn weeds or barbecue. I also have breathing problems and eczema when I pull the weeds.

Some days I wish that I could live in a bubble.

  So when I discovered an Indivisible Air-Filter Gel that could block all those airborne particles that were causing my asthmatic cough, I knew that I had to give it a try as I really did not want to start having to take more drugs to treat my asthma. I was also tired of having to keep my windows closed and working out at the gym. This clear gel was simple to use too. All I had to do was rub some of the clear gel under my nose and it would block things like mold, pollen, dust, and pet dander from getting into my airways. I liked that the gel was drug-free and safe.

NasalGuard also prevents virus-sized particles from entering



  My sample of NasalGuard Airborne Particle Blocker arrived right before my trip to New York so I tucked the small tube into my pocket on the way to the airport. Once I read the package and saw that it might prevent virus-sized particles from entering my nose, I rubbed the clear gel under my nose as the air in airplanes can be full of germs. I was so happy that it did not irritate my skin and it had a pleasant natural scent that I enjoyed inhaling. I was glad for a natural scent and lately, even my husbands citrus lotion makes me cough and don't get me started on chemical cleaners. I stay away from the gym when the cleaning crew is there as they use chemical cleaners that make me cough up a lung.

How does NasalGuard work?

  Once I was on the plane, I noticed that I did not have any coughing episodes. I am sure you are wondering how a clear gel can block contaminated air from entering the nasal passages. NasalGuard Airborne Particle Blocker uses an electrostatic technology to reduce the inhalation of airborne particles before they enter your nose.

NasalGuard gel uses a cationic (positively-charged) polymer that creates a safe electrostatic field around the nasal passages which trap oppositely-charged particles and repels similarly-charged particles to reduce inhalation of most harmful airborne particles BEFORE they enter your body. NasalGuard has no active drug ingredients which would interact with other medications that a user might be taking.

I applied NasalGuard before running



  When I got home from my trip I then put this safe gel to the test outdoors while running. I was surprised that the smell of the weeds did not bother me. I have a sensitive nose and will start coughing after the grass is cut at the park near my home. I was even able to run with fewer breaks as I was coughing less. I know that the local weeds are a big asthma trigger because when I was visiting my daughter in Las Vegas I was able to run faster and longer. The higher altitude of New Mexico may also be a reason for my exercise-induced asthma as the only time that I cough in Las Vegas was while I was visiting the new baby in the hospital from the cleaning chemicals. How I wish that my NasalGuard arrived in time for that trip.


  I will continue to apply NasalGuard every day as less coughing is a good thing to me. This gel is my extra layer of protection from all the nasty things in the air that makes me cough. Maybe when winter arrives and things stop growing here I might use this gel without my allergy medicines. It would be so awesome to not have to use regular allergy medicines and just use this drug-free gel.

Do you have allergies to things that are in the air?





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