Turning a Scowl into an Instant Smile

How to turn a scowl into an instant smile? Have a conversation with a kid--like mine:

Me: (feeling particularly cranky, irritable and kid-annoyed today) "Brandon, You cannot have any more cookies (voice rising) You Cannot Live on Sugar!!"

"No more junk today....I Mean it!" (picture Me with stern face.... You know the kind....comes with hands placed firmly on hips)

Brandon: (After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence--actually, kind of comfortable silence truth be told) "But Mom, I like living on sugar."

Me: Just smiling. About 5 lbs. of stress and frustration melted away. Kids.

Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain

Being a BzzAgent I sometimes get to try out some pretty cool stuff. And recently I was sent a BzzKit with CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain. I am not normally a lipstick kind of gal--very rarely will I put any on (stop gasping!!) because I have just never liked any I have tried. Eventually I just got tired of trying new lipsticks, and pretty much stick with lipgloss these days.

But it was fun getting make-up of any kind in the mail....and of course I had to immediately go play with my new lipstain from CoverGirl. It is actually like a marker which makes the application so easy.

So what did I really think of my new lipstain??

Very easy to apply.

The color was a bit too dark for me, but that was my fault for selecting the wrong shade (good news is there are 10 shades to choose from, so I can pick a lighter color in the future!)

It lasts and lasts. Exactly like it is supposed to do, my CoverGirl Lipstain stayed on the entire day. No lipstick stains on coffee cups or munchkin boys chubby cheeks!

When I did want to remove the lipstain, I used a washcloth, soap and water and my lips were back to their pre-lipstain look!

Since I normally do not wear lipstick, I do tend to bite my lips a bit, and they do get chapped -but the day I tested out the lipstain, I noticed I was not biting my lips nor were they getting that dry, chapped feeling. The fact that it is water-based and not alcohol-based and contain lip conditioners is a huge plus in my book!

Overall: I really like this stuff. It feels good, looks good, stays put, and definitely will keep my lips from getting chapped and dry. And at $7.29 suggested retail, it beats department store lipstain prices by quite a bit.

Two thumbs up, CoverGirl!

Kellogg’s Cinnabon Snack Bars

Our family received a yummy little treat in our mailbox last week--Kellogg’s Cinnabon Snack Bars! My boys did such a happy dance when they saw the box...that I had to go ahead and open it right on the spot!

In case you are new to my humble little blog, I have two munchkin boys that are 100% energetic pretty much 100% of the day. I do try to be extra careful when it comes to passing out treats, snacks and cookies to them. My sanity depends on this.

So I admit it was with trepidation that I opened this box. But hey, I am only human...hehe...and my boys thought the mailman was as close to Santa as anyone could be that day. And I needed some extra taste testers...you know I couldn't eat them all myself!!

I did microwave my mine...warm cinnamon with icing??? So decadent yet so good! For the munchkin boys, I did not microwave the snack bars for two reasons: I am nervous of them biting in and getting a "hot spot," plus there was no way they were going to wait an extra second for their treat! Needless to say, it was unanimous---we all loved the cinnabon snack bars. When hubby came home, he had a few bites but thought they were a bit too sweet for his tastes. My daughter enjoyed one, not heated as well, and loved hers.

So while the Kellogg's Cinnabon Snack Bars definitely made a big hit, I will be certain to use them as a limited treat from time to time. I have a feeling that they will make excellent "bargaining chips" however ( not that I resort to bribing my kids or anything... just saying.)

And I have excellent news for us moms--the Kellogg's Cinnabon Snack Bars are only 150 calories. So we do not have to feel guilty indulging ourselves too once in a while. After all, moms need to have treats once in a while too.

A caution for those with any food allergies though....the snack bars do contain wheat, milk, egg, and soy ingredients.

Thank-you Kelloggs for this yummy review, and to Mom Central for asking me and my kiddos to review the Cinnabon Snack Bars. My munchkin boys especially send their thanks!!


The winner of the IBW Interactive Books:

Random Integer Generator Here are your random numbers: 9

Timestamp: 2009-07-27 17:56:12 UTC

Congrats Erin!! A Confirmation email will arrive shortly!

Zuma Picnic Backpack: Review and Giveaway

The Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack is in a word: awesome!

It is lightweight and stylish but yet the polyester canvas makes this one very durable backpack. It is so much better than lugging an ice chest around!

Picnic Time uses an exclusive ThermoGuard Insulation that actually works very well. It keeps food and drinks at just the right temperature, just as described. It has a water-resistant layer that acts as a thermo-regulator, so hot food stays hot and cold drinks stay cold.

There is a large upper compartment with mesh panels that let air circulate through, which I found perfect to stash wet bathing suits in. The lower half of the backpack is the insulated compartment...ready to be filled with all your best picnic goodies! There are also two zippered pouches that are perfect for sunglasses, wallets, keys, wipes, kleenex, etc.

I love our beige backpack that we were sent to review , but if beige is not your color, it is also available in yellow and red.

We tried it out when we went to a water park near our house, and I was happily impressed. I had packed snacks for the kids and drinks too. It did what it said it would, and kept the drinks cold and perfect for thirty kids on a very hot day.

The airmesh backpack straps are very comfortable and did not make me get sweaty or feel too heavy when I had it on. I would probably normally just carry the backpack with my hand, but I wanted to try it on my back as well to check out the comfort and fit. Plus, what mom does not appreciate having her hands free with small kids around?


I get to give one reader a Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack of their own!

To enter, visit Accent Furniture Direct and look around at their kitchen furniture. Come back and leave me a comment letting me know which item was your favorite. That's it!


1. For Three Extra Entries: Blog about this giveaway, linking to the sponsor and to this post. Leave me a separate comment with your post url.

2. Twitter this contest and leave me a separate comment with your url. You can Tweet it everyday for extra entries...just leave me a comment for each tweet you do!

3. Follow Happy Healthy Families Blog.

4, Follow me on Twitter.

5. Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families (or let me know if you are already a subsciber for an entry).

6. Favorite Happy Healthy Families on Technorati and leave me your Technorati name.

Contest Ends August 11th at 11:59 PM/EST. Winner will be drawn randomly and notified by email. Winner will have 36 hours to confirm or a new winner will be drawn.

Open to US addresses only.

Tuesday Blog Hop: Favorite Recipes

This week's Blog Hop Theme is "Favorite Recipes"

One of my all time favorite sandwiches used to be the simple Grilled Cheese. But when I had a panini sandwich one day, I had a new favorite! My best panini is a Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Panini--and it is so easy to make and even better to eat.


2 ripe plum tomatoes
60z. (appx.) fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaes
salt and pepper to taste (about a 1/4 teaspoon each)
8 slices country style bread (to make 4 sandwiches)

We make these on our grill, so the first step is to get your grill hot.

While the grill is heating up, slice two ripe and cored plum tomatoes.

Next, slice up about 6oz. of fresh Mozzarella cheese (told ya this was easy, lol)

Mix about 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves with about a 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place the tomato slices, cheese slices and basil on one slice of bread.

Then top with another slice of bread.

Place panini on your hot grill. Place a heavy skillet (cast iron works best) on top of the sandwich and grill appx. 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.

Bread should be toasted and brown on both sides.

Cut sandwiches in half and enjoy!!

Giveaway Listing Sites

the ultimate spot





Got Your Milk Today?

I know that I try to make nutritious meals for my kids, and keep healthy drinks in our refrigerator, but I also know that too often I slack off and let my kids drink too many of those tempting sugary drinks. But apparently I am not alone; According to a new survey conducted by the national Milk Council, more than 1,000 moms across the U.S. reported fruit drinks and slushies among their children's top summertime drinks.

I was very interested to check out whymilk.com when asked by Mom Central and the Milk Council. I really needed ideas for getting more milk and less sugar into all our diets. While my kids do drink milk, I do not hardly ever pour myself a glass. Even though I know I should...I always zoom in for coffee or juice or water. Even soda will take precedence over milk for me. Ack.

So off I went to learn more about the importance of milk in my diet, as well as my kids and hubby, and to get some yummy recipes to help me incorporate milk into our daily diets.

The whymilk website really opened up my eyes to what my body is missing out on by skipping the milk. For example, did you know that milk is naturally nutrient-rich like no other beverage? In each 8 oz. glass of milk there are nine essential nutrients, plus an eight-ounce serving of milk costs less than 25 cents on a gallon basis. Milk actually provides more nutrients per penny than almost any other beverage option in the supermarket.

I think what I liked the most on the website was the Beverage Analyzer. I selected the drinks I had all day, including coffee, wine, water, soda, etc., and my weight, height and age. I was then given a report on what my BMI is (it's in the normal range for me..yes!), and how many calories I should have daily. It also showed me the percentage of daily calories that were coming from my beverages every day. I also learned that I am not getting the nutrients I need everyday because of my beverage choices.

But what impressed me most was learning some important facts about milk, bone health and kids:

Children (ages 3-13) who avoided milk were found to suffer from fractures more frequently than their milk-drinking peers. The majority of the milk avoiders had family members who did not drink milk.1
• In a two-year study of young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance, the milk avoiders were more likely to suffer from osteopenia (low bone mass), were shorter, and had higher body mass indices (an indicator of body weight) compared to children who regularly drank milk.
• Regular calcium intake, especially calcium from milk, had a favorable effect on girls’ bone mass and attainment of peak bone density, which are critical factors in determining risk of osteoporosis later in life.

I am now 100% committed to getting more milk in all our diets. And to help me with my goal, I checked out some delicious smoothie recipes like the Strawberry Banana Smoothie and the equally yummy Blueberry Blast Smoothie. Both recipes taste as good as they sound!
So what's it like in your family? Do your kids drink milk? What about you...got Your milk today??

Aloha Friday!

Friday is here...and time for a Aloha Friday question...so without further ado, here is my question this week:

If You Were Blowing Out Candles On Your Birthday Cake Today, What Three Wishes Would You Be Making?

Me....and yea, today is my birthday, LOL...thus the question. And I am so not telling you my age!! But back to the question at hand:

1. To celebrate my birthday next year with my kids again

2. Financial relief (for us all...but mainly me, since it's my B-Day, you know! )

3. Health and Safety for my kids. Always.

Now if I had extra wishes...hmmm.....maybe a birthday visit from Johnny Depp, a shopping spree paid for by some rich anonymous donor, a new car (any model...I'm not picky!), getting to go to BlogHer, and oh yea, a younger face and body without surgery. Hehe. Did I ever mention that I can be materialistic??

Visit An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun!

Older women and IVF

So today we hear that 69-year-old Maria del Carmen Bousada, the oldest woman in the world to give birth, has died.

Back in 2006, Maria made headlines when she delivered twin baby boys at age 66. Apparently Bousada went to a fertility clinic and lied about her age...saying she was 55...in order to qualify for the fertility treatments. The news of the twins' births started up the controversy about older women and fertility treatments.

Well today we hear that Maria has sadly passed away after battling cancer. Her twin boys are now 2 years old, and will apparently be raised by family members, specifically a nephew of Bousada's.

So are fertility clinics too irresponsible? I mean, even though Bousada lied about her age, still should clinics be providing fertility treatments to women that are in their 50's? Or is it not up to doctors tpo determine whena woman is too old to conceive?

What about Nadya Sukeman and the IVF treatments she received even though she had six childeren already?

It is a fine line, that is certain. I am not sure that I would want someone else deciding if I could or could not get pregnant. But at the same time, responsible choices need to be made by doctors as well as patients.

So how do we, or should we, draw the line?

Winner Of $50 Tiny Prints Gift Certificate!!

Congratulations to : Mission of Mamahood!! Watch for an email coming soon!

Three Things You Didn't Know About Me!

***Thought I'd join in the Blog Hop Tuesday fun! Today's theme is Three Things You Didn't Know About Me. Hmm.

Well , for one, I used to be an elementary school teacher. Gave it up for the wonderful world of blogging. Not. My kids were my motivation for becoming a full time stay at home mom, of course!

Second thing....I love love Agatha Christie books. I started reading them when I was a little kid, home sick from school, and my mom gave me one to read in bed. Fell in love then and there with Poroit!!

Third.....I had a cat named Whiskey, a siamese, that practically grew up with me. He moved with me when I moved out of my parent's house. I still miss him and think about him everyday.

Not Me! Monday

I just love Not Me! Mondays. I get to confess (which is supposedly good for the soul, right?) all the things I so DID NOT do this past week. You can help your soul feel better too by joining in at MckMama's Not Me Monday--come on, you must have something you want to confess (or not!)

So here is what how my week went.....

I DID NOT eat my son's candy bar and later look mystified when we could not find it in the refrigerator. I so would not eat chocolate, especially if was not mine to begin with. Would You??

I do not know who would do laundry using shampoo instead of laundry detergent just because they didn't feel like going to the store. But I did not do that. Seriously.

I cringe at the thought of a mother bribing her children to actually watch TV (if even for a half hour) just so she could do some work on her computer. Thank Goodness there are no candy bars in our house (anymore) to bribe my children with. I have heard of such a thing, but really.... I would NEVER consider it!

I did not try to make my daughter feel guilty about going out on a lake with her friend and her family just because I am a silly nervous wreck of a mother and thought of 50 million things that could happen to my daughter out on that dastardly lake. ( And, I'm just saying, that even if I were to try that I'm quite sure it would not have worked. Quite sure. Silly Lake.)

Did our dogs get out and roam neighbors' backyards and inspect said neighbors' garbage cans last week? I should say not! I always remember to latch our gates. Always.

And how did a tank top of my daughter's, that I have a problem with for several reasons, end up missing from the laundry pile? I do not know. Maybe the lake swallowed it. I don't know.

Finally, I must say that I did not ever think of mixing some regular milk with the remaining soy milk left in the container, and giving said container to my daughter to pour on her cereal, while professing that yes, it was all soy milk.

But it was me who finally got herself to the store last week and promptly bought a candy bar, laundry detergent, dog food and soy milk.

Still do not know anything about that missing tank top though. Really.

Look What I'm Getting....And I'm Giving One Away Too!

I am sooo excited, and I wanted to give everyone a sneak peek at a very cool giveaway I have coming up! This awesome Zuma Insulated Backpack comes from the Kitchen Furniture Collection at Accent Furniture Direct. It will be perfect when I take my munchkin boys to the park, and our family getaways to the beach. As soon as I get mine, I am taking the kids and hitting the great outdoors! Can you tell I'm excited?

Ans I get to give one away to a lucky reader...watch for the Giveaway coming soon!

Mr. Linky's Weekend Giveaways Linky Love

Cruise around the blogosphere this weekend checking out some great giveaways-- and give and get some linky love!

Add your giveaway/review listing, and please include ending dates.

Saturday Small Talk Six : Rock On!

This week's Small Talk Six at MomDot is so cool because it's an easy one...yea!

Today’s topic is “6 things you think would be great about being a rockstar (or just famous in general).” You can answer this with a list of 6 words, 6 phrases, 6 sentences, 6 paragraphs, 6 photos, 6 videos, etc . . .

Limit this to six? Uh..I could go on and on why this would be so awesome!!

1. I could financially help everyone in my family, DH's family, and our friends!

2. I could travel the world with my family, kids included of course.

3. We could take limos everywhere!!

4. I could have a dietitian, personal trainer, and the best make-up artists/hair stylists ever!

5. This would of course mean I had talent (which I have none of in real life,sigh.) I could sing and touch people's souls (ok...getting corny, I know!)

6. No stressing over bills, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, car payments, etc...)

Can I add one more, PLEASE??? I could get used to seeing awesomely cute men screaming at me. Really. I could handle it. Sigh.

OK. So now I'm going to go stand in front of a mirror and practice my new job. Happy Saturday! Keep sharing the linky love...leave your direct link and visit more participants at Momdot! And if you have a giveaway, visit the Mr. Linky Saturday Giveaway List!

Aloha Friday

Friday is here...and time for a Aloha Friday question...so without further ado, here is my question this week:

If you could buy one thing today, just for you, and money was no problem, what would you buy yourself?

I actually had a hard time answering my own question. I almost always buy for the kiddos and even the hubby before I buy for me...so I really had to stop and think what I would get. My answer.... still thinking.....figures I would stump myself! When I figure it out...I will post it asap, promise!!

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Visit An Island Life for more Aloha Friday fun!


I have a couple of winners to announce...thanks to my goofy computer problems which seem to be non-ending lately (shh..it is working today, so I am trying to be extra nice to it..), I am off more than I am online these days.


The winner of Music Box is

and the winner for the Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner is:

I'll be sending you guys emails asap!!

Don't forget about the current giveaways--

$50 Gift Certificate to Tiny Prints

$60 Value of Preschool/Kindergarten reading and activity books!!

Barefoot and Pregnant

Nope, not me....those days are but memories for me now- well maybe not the barefoot part. But thanks to the family review network, I was introduced to a site that is absolutely what I would have loved to have been a part of during my baby belly days.

Barefoot and Pregnant.com offers information and support for mommies and daddies to be. It is like an online manual for pregnancy. They cover everything---from getting pregnant, to adoption to surrogacy to healthy recipes and exercise. There are support groups and forums as well.

For anyone expecting a baby, or even thinking about having a baby, new parents and grandparents...Barefoot and Pregnant is a community to check out. And if you have some wisdom, advice, tips, you can contribute to the site as well....after all, who has better advice to give than moms and dads that have been there and done that?

Wordless Wednesday..... My Graduate

My beautiful graduate. Junior High...here we come. Sniff.

Interactive Childrens' Books: GiveAway and Review

PhotobucketMy boys and I had the awesome opportunity recently to check out Interactive Book-Webscene (IBW) Books. These books use a story telling process that not only reinforces and builds reading skills, but completely engages children and makes reading FUN!

"IBW titles use a new storytelling process that combines an actual print book with the interactivity of online animations. Here’s how it works: you read a chapter. At the end of the chapter, you find a weblink. When you go online to the weblink, you find an animation or other multimedia called a webscene that’s part of the story. After you view the webscene, you go back to the book to read another chapter, find another weblink and so on. There are seven or more webscenes included in every IBW book."

Both my munchkin boys received books from the KA Reader Series, which is the series for begining readers. When I read the book, "A Day at The Zoo" with my two year old, he was thrilled when we reached the end of the chapter so that we could go online and watch the corresponding webscene. My little guy is stubborn when it comes to speaking, and has only recently started making real progress with his vocabulary. So when we would watch the animated scenes, it made me so happy to see him point at objects and repeat what they were, and "dictate" to me what was happening in the scenes.

My 5 year old read the book, "Coming Home" with me. This was a bit more action packed and had a slightly higher vocabulary level than "A Day at The Zoo." He loved the story, was delighted with himself when he could sound out words, and like his little brother, thoroughly enjoyed going online to watch the webscenes after each chapter.

Each KA Reader includes English and Spanish text, webscenes, story theme, word count, reading grade level and word pattern families. Every book uses 85-100% of the words in a given word family (all listed on the ack of each book), so it makes it that much easier for a child to master reading.

Parents can also visit IBW Booksellers to learn about IBW's Book Sellers program where Sellers receive an immediate 20% commission on all sales!

IBW Books has generously offered one Happy Healthy Families Reader an IBW Book Package worth $60.00!

The winner will have a choice of one of two IBW prizes:

The Busy Preschooler's Guide to Learning -- fun activities built around the alphabet, with step-by-step help to guide parents in how to use everyday situations to teach 105 skills their kids need before they walk in the kindergarten door (Retail value$60)


Three KA Readers-- (Retail Value $60)

To Enter:

Visit www.IBW-Books.com and tell me which books you would like, and visit www.IBW-Booksellers.com and let me know when IBW Booksellers get paid. Note: You must visit both sites, and answer both questions for entry.

Extra Entries:

Blog about this contest, linking to this post and to IBW-Books.com -- Three Extra Entries

Tweet This Contest, and leave me a separate comment for each day you tweet it (one entry per tweet--tweet as often as you want for more entries).

Follow me on Twitter.

Follow my blog.

Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families (Let me know if you already do for extra entry!)

Favorite me in Technorati.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.

Contest will end July 14th at 11:59 EST. Winner will be drawn randomly, be notified by email and will have 3 days to confirm, or a new winner will be drawn.

Open to US addresses only.

Waverly Helps Teach Kids About The Environment

Isn't he a cutie? This is Waverly,the water drop, and he is proud to say that he is eco-friendly and 100% Organic!

"Waverly is a little dreamy, very sweeet
and loves a good laugh.
He even makes fun of himself--
often saying he may be all wet, but he is certainly no drip."

Waverly is particularly - and deeply - concerned about protecting
the Earth's water resources and keeping them clean. His areas of expertise are Oceans, seas, rivers and lakes.

My munchkin boys received Waverly in the mail a bit ago, and instantly fell in love with the guy. I have to say this plush toy is so soft--it just feels good to hold him.

So who really is Waverly, and what is his story?

Waverly is one of three "idbids" a 100% organic plush toy collection sold at NMC Toys. Idbids and NMC Toys, along with The Nature Conservancy, want to help teach children about earth, nature and keeping our environment healthy. Each toy is lovingly handmade in Egypt, so no two are going to be alike. They toys are dyed with environmentally friendly natural, metal free vegetable colors. There are no small parts either making them safe for your child.

Waverly is joined in his journey to help kids learn about the environment and helping to take care of it with two other Idbids: Lola the Flower idbid and Scout the Cloud idbid. Lola is adorable of course in all her pinkness, and her areas of expertise are flowers, trees and plants.Photobucket Scout is all about the air we breathe, and is an avid bird watcher. Idbids - Plush - Scout Organic Cotton Plush

The cool thing about these plush toys is that they come with personal codes that kids can enter on the idbid website, and learn how to help protect their new friend's habitat. There is a certificate they can print out with their name on it as well.

Parents can feel good purchasing one of these plush toys because a portion of the purchase will go directly to The Nature Conservancy through February 2010.

My boys had a great time on the idbid website, and I really do appreciate products like Waverly that teach as well provide fun and comfort.

idbids: iddy biddy steps, for a greener world!

Thanks to Parent Reviewers for this fantastic review opportunity.