Strawberry Picking

About two weeks ago, I took the boys strawberry picking, along with my mom, two of my sisters, and two of my nieces. The boys love to be outside, so they really enjoyed it, even though we went on the hottest day we’d had so far this year. We spent about half an hour in the strawberry patch and although they didn’t contribute to the buckets of berries we took home, both Callan and Charlie enjoyed eating their freshly picked produce. Callan ate on the move, while Charlie just sat in one spot and munched away.

single strawberry hiding in the grass - www.mcmamasays.com

toddler running through the strawberry patch - www.mcmamasays.com

toddler eating strawberries in a pick your own strawberry field - www.mcmamasays.com

white strawberry flowers - www.mcmamasays.com

my little guy eating strawberries in the patch - www.mcmamasays.com

a bucket of strawberries and cowgirl boots - www.mcmamasays.com

a bucket full of freshly picked ripe strawberries - www.mcmamamsays.com

Look! I was really there! (Thanks for the photo, Mom.)

me and my boys at the strawberry patch - www.mcmamasays.com

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with Posh on a Budget; Leisure and Me; Tales from a Mother; Mama to 5 Blessings; and Better on a Budget. Visit them to hop around and find more lovely, photo-filled posts.

Ozeri Green Earth ceramic frying pan (review)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

So, you probably know by now that, although we’re far from perfect, our family does make an effort to cut down on chemicals and use healthy (or healthier versions of) everyday products. This includes our cookware.

Traditional nonstick surfaces are coated with PolyTetraFluoroEthylene, or PTFE, made using PerFluoroOctanoic Acid, or PFOA – after repeated exposure to high temperatures, this coating begins to break down, releasing harmful toxins into the air. The Ozeri Green Earth pan has a nonstick ceramic coating that’s completely free of PTFE and PFOA.

But does it work? In the video below, you can see how easily I was able to flip an egg (while taking the video with my phone), and that there was nothing stuck to the pan when I was finished. I had put in about a 1/4 tsp.  of olive oil and used a paper towel to rub it across the bottom, then wipe out all the excess, leaving barely a film on the bottom of the pan. I don’ t think I’ve ever flipped an egg that easily before! The waffle weave or honeycomb pattern does show up on whatever you’re cooking though, so if you’re concerned with presentation, that’s important to note.

The Ozeri Green Earth pan is made of aluminum (but coated in ceramic,  so you don’t have to worry about aluminum leaching into your food), with a magnetized bottom. Having a magnetized bottom allows the pan to work with an induction burner.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you love a company though. Those small details that show they really care about their customers. For Ozeri, that little detail was the pan protector that they included with the frying pan, so that when another pan is set on top of it for storage, it doesn’t get scratched. It’s just a piece of felt that unfolds to sit inside the pan, but it makes a big statement.

I haven’t been using this pan very long, so I can’t yet testify to how long the nonstick properties of the ceramic last. But I’ll keep you updated on Facebook!

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Have your healthy habits extended to your cookware? What type of pans do you use in your kitchen? Have you tried ceramic yet?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Seventh Generation diapers {review}

Disclosure: I received this product as part of an advertorial.

I was sent a box of Seventh Generation Free and Clear diapers and wipes to review here, but it’s a brand we’re already very familiar with. We don’t use them exclusively because of budget constrains, but we do like to put the boys in Seventh Generation diapers whenever possible. The number one reason we like them is because they’re much, much more natural than most of the other brands of disposable diapers. Their Free and Clear diapers are completely unbleached and free of fragrances, inks, and petroleum-based lotions, making them gentle for my babies’ bottoms.

Seventh Generation diapers are also the first FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certified diaper made in the United States. In and of itself, that’s not either a deal maker or breaker for me, but I do appreciate when a company makes the effort to be gentler on our environment.

review of Seventh Generation diapers - www.mcmamasays.com

Another big reason we like Seventh Generation diapers is the fit. Our boys are a year apart, but they’ve been in the same size diapers for a few months now. Even though they’re built differently, both boys can wear the Seventh Generation diapers, and they fit Charlie’s sweet, chunky thighs better than any other brand we’ve tried. And we use these at night, too! Both boys sleep in them all night long and we’ve not had any leaks.

Aesthetically, I also have to say that I like that these diapers don’t have pictures all over them. Although my kids refused to sit still long enough for me to get a decent photo to show you, the unbleached, plain diapers really are cute in pictures.

If you’re afraid you won’t be able to tell what size your kids’ diapers are without having it printed on the front (or back), you need not worry – it’s printed on the tab.

Seventh Generation diapers size printed on tab - www.mcmamasays.com

We got an opportunity to review Seventh Generation wipes along with the diapers, and I’m so glad! I had tried them before and wasn’t pleased, but this last package has convinced me to try them again. Maybe I had a bad package before, or maybe they’ve changed their wipes, I don’t know – but these were thick and cushy and didn’t tear! Plus, they’re free of dyes, synthetic fragrances, parabens, and phthlates.

seventh generation instagram contestWhether you already love Seventh Generation diapers or you want to try them out for the first time, you can enter to win a 6-month supply! Post a photo on Instagram by the end of the month, showing how you keep your baby toxin-free, and make sure you use the #FreeYourBaby hashtag to be entered into the contest. Seventh Generation will choose their favorite photo on July 1 and the winner will receive a 6-month supply of Free and Clear diapers.

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How do you reduce toxins in your household? Have you ever used any Seventh Generation products? If you enter the Instagram contest, leave a link to your photo so we can all see it!

I received the products mentioned in this post to facilitate this review, but all opinions are, of course, my own.

Allons Danser! French Children’s Music {Review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Allons Danser! French music cd for children - www.mcmamasays.com

As a dance teacher and a mama, I have listened to a lot of children’s music. Some of it’s tolerable, a good portion of it is awful (annoying music, poorly written lyrics, “tinny” vocals, etc.), but there are some gems that make me smile. This is one of those gems. I could listen to Allons Danser! over and over again and not feel like I was going crazy. In fact, I enjoy the music myself!

“Let’s dance!”  (or “Allons danser!”) is a phrase our family already says often, but this CD gets us dancing even more. Every time I start it, someone starts dancing – the boys, my husband, myself, or my mom or dad! It’s upbeat and fun and you really can’t help not dancing while it’s playing. Since we’ve listened to it frequently over the last couple of weeks, I’ve even heard Callan running through the house singing some sort of French gibberish, and I could tell what song he was trying to mimic.

Some of the songs are ones you will probably be familiar with, such as Old MacDonald and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Other songs, such as It’s Not a Party Without Cake (Y’a Pas de Fête Sans Gâteau) will likely be new to you. I think our favorites are Les DoigtsLes Petits Poissons, and En Haut, En Bas, which is perfect for using in dance classes. You can hear samples of the different tracks on the Whistlefritz website. The CD insert includes the lyrics in French, as well as the translation in English.

When I received my CD from Whistlefritz (that company name makes me smile), they also sent along a printed copy of the Six Tips for Ensuring Second Language Learning Success for Kids from their website. I was already aware of tips such as exposing children early, and immersing your kids in the language if possible. But the one suggestion I really loved was to “skip the translation.” It makes complete sense, but I had never thought about it before.

As parents, when we teach our kids a second language, we tend to point at an object and say it in both our native language and the language we want our children to learn, in an effort to help them connect the new word to the familiar object. However, we’re also told that we need to think in that new language – rather than running words through an English-French translator in our heads, we should just know the French words. As babies, we learn our native tongue without having anything else to compare it to, so it makes sense that we should learn a second language the same way.

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Have you introduced your children to a second language? What methods are you using?

 whistlefritz foreign language program review - www.mcmamasays.com

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.