Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SodaStream At the Fence R and G

Hey Neighbors!

What is fall without the opportunity to have fun with friends and family!  At the Fence we have been having quite a bit of fun together as a family and compliments of SodaStream, we now can make our own refreshments when we get together.  SodaStream has home soda makers you can use in your home.  There are so many benefits to owning a SodaStream Home Soda Maker.

No more purchasing soda at the store, no more empty bottles to deal with and it is easy and convenient to use.  I know it is handy for us.  Any evening we plan to have family time or a game night we can make our own soda.  And they have so many flavors to choose from.  
Regular Soda Flavors-20
Diet Soda Flavors-20
Energy Drink-5
Sparkling Naturals-11
Sparkling Tea-4
MyWater Essential Flavors-4
Country Time-4
Crystal Light-5
Kool Aid-3
Ocean Spray-3

As I said earlier the Home Soda Maker is very easy to set up and use.  First, you open the back so you can insert the carbonation cylinder.  After removing the seal and cap you put it up into the maker and screw it into place.  Then you need to place the back on again.  Fill your carbonating bottle with water and refrigerate to chill the water.  After water is chilled, remove the cap and place in the soda maker by pressing the tilt lever and then screwing the bottle into place.  Let the tilt lever return to place and you are ready to carbonate your water.  Press the button on the top of your Soda Maker until you hear the buzz.  Release the button in between presses.  3 presses will give a standard carbonation.  If you like less fizz, only press once or twice.  If you want more carbonation press until you have the desired fizz.  Press your tilt lever to remove the bottle. Next measure the amount of flavor you are adding and tilt bottle slightly while pouring in the flavor.  Gently shake the bottle to mix the water and flavor.  Then enjoy!

Here is a bonus: All sodamix flavors are made without high fructose corn syrup and aspartame.  And if you want information on sodium, caffeine, calories or carbs, visit the Taste and Nutrition page.

I can set my SodaStream Soda Maker up in the kitchen and anytime we need soda, or flavored water, we can just mix it up ourselves.  Even my 13 year old knows how to use the home soda maker.  This will be great for when friends visit too.  We can make several different flavors and have them available.  I will probably have to purchase more bottles, but they have those available on their website.  I have also seen Soda Stream supplies in some of our local stores.  By purchasing local, I can save on shipping!

On their site right now they have a code for free shipping on all Home Soda Makers.  Be sure to check for the code when you visit the site.  What a super gift idea this is: for the upcoming holidays or even as a wedding present or housewarming gift.

Are they green?  See this:
SodaStream is an "Active Green" product, meaning that consumers  are actively reducing their CO2 footprint every time they make soda  or sparkling water at home instead of buying it from the store. The more the system is used on a daily basis, the more CO2 footprint the user actively saves. (This differs from "Passive Green" products, which use green-friendly production processes, but their products are not inherently helping the consumers save on their daily footprint.)

One neighbor is going to receive a SodaStream Starter Kit.  Here is what is included:
Fountain Jet Soda Lover's Start-Up Kit

-          Fountain Jet ­ winner¹s choice of color (black/silver,
red/silver or white)
-          1 carbonating bottle, reusable for up to 3 years
-          Reusable carbonator to fizz up to 60L of soda
-          Variety 6-pack of popular sample-size flavors
-          3 full-sized flavors of the winner¹s choice

Now, I know this is going to be a favorite, so we are going to run this one from our Fall Festival right into our Holiday Gift Guide.  This will run 3 weeks, and is only open to the US.  Hurry up and enter, and then share, share, share!

Disclosure:I received no monetary compensation for this post.  I did receive product for review purposes.  All quotes in red are taken from the sponsor's website or email.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Last Fall Festival Update!

Hey neighbors!

This is you last entry and this giveaway ends so, so hurry over to the original post to enter.  Our very last trivia question: What phrase did Snoopy use to start his novels or stories he wrote?  I will give all the answers when this one ends.

Enter to win the Snoopy and Woodstock!  Looking forward to choosing a winner for this one.  See you soon, At the Fence!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns

Hi Neighbors!

This time around the TOS Crew was able to review Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns.  My daughter thought this was GREAT!  She has been wanting to sew for so long.  Both her older sisters sew and all she has done so far are pillows.  Through Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns, Learn to Make Doll Clothes Online Video Course With 8 Free Doll Clothes Patterns, she received the opportunity to learn more.  For $47.49 you receive:

  • Over 130 step-by-step instructional videos which means even if you have been sewing for years, you are sure to learn lots of new tips and techniques
  • The confidence to do it yourself because my videos are so clear and comprehensive – I’ve been told they are ‘Goof Proof!’
  • 12 months’ access so that you can watch the videos as many times as you like, whenever you like which makes it super convenient and there’s no need to travel to classes

You will also receive 8 free 18" American Girl Doll Clothes Patterns, which includes step by step videos.

I will tell you here, my 26 year old helped M with her sewing.  She far surpassed my sewing, as she is the one I go to when I need help.  She can take sleeves from one pattern and add them to another, you know adjust the patterns to her needs.  Anyway, I knew she was the one to walk M through this course.

The course actually starts at the very beginning with an introduction to making doll clothes, that includes setting up your sewing room, a lesson on types of fabrics, elastic, sewing tools and more.  Now, some of this was extra as we already have a machine, and a sewing area, but M watched these anyway.  Week two has you learning about fabric, trouble shooting, thread and such.  Week three is where she began sewing.  This is where she learned to sew a straight line, zig zag stitch and to make hems.

We went ahead and started the sarong, sort of a wrap skirt.  The patterns are quite easy to print off on your printer, just make sure you print actual size, don't allow your printer to downsize it to fit the paper.  Your clothes will never fit the doll if it does this!  They worked diligently and produced a pretty good looking sarong.

M is 13 now, she actually just recently turned 13, but this was perfect for her.  She was able to watch the videos and then proceed to the sewing.  I am not sure how she would have done without her sister's guidance, but I think it would have gone fine.  This program is recommended for ages 8 and up.

By the time you or your child finishes the course they will have a good knowledge of sewing for their dolls, which would then of course work into their sewing other items.  This is a good basic course for learning different sewing techniques.  Honestly, I personally think it is easier to sew full size clothing than it is to sew doll clothes.

If you have someone in your family who would like to learn to sew, I believe the Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns would make a great elective course for homeschooling.  I also recommend it for anyone who would like to make doll clothes.  Check out our pictures and short video, then go see what other TOS Crew members had to say about their experience by clicking on the banner below.


How Do You Choose An Estate and Trust Attorney?

Hi Neighbors,

Just out of curiosity, how many of you have a will in place? Have you ever sat down and discussed what will happen to your property and belongings after you die?  It is not that hard to get everything set in order so you can make it easier for your family members to follow through on your wishes.  Remember, everyone should have something legal in place, not just someone who is wealthy.

Most people do not like to talk about wills and estate planning, but this is a very important subject, especially if you have children.

When you have decided to go ahead and choose an attorney take time to check them out a little first.  Ask friends if they can recommend someone they have used. Your bank may be able to refer someone. If you do not have anyone to ask, take time to check into what they specialize in, how long they have been in estate and trust planning.

Once you think you have found someone you may want to see if he/she ever had to represent someone in Estate and Trust Planning Litigation?  Will they allow you to speak to other satisfied clients?  Is he licensed in your state, or the state where you own property?

If all of this checks out, the last thing I would consider is if he/she is someone you can work with.  I know it sounds funny, but there are some people that no matter how good they are in their field, personality wise, I could not work with them.

How many of you have ever seen a family fighting over property and other belongings when someone has died?  I have and this is one reason to get these things in order now.  You will also know that your wishes will be followed through on.

Have an opinion?  Feel free to share it in the comments.

See you soon, At the Fence!

Disclosure:This is a sponsored post for the benefit of my readers At the Fence.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books

Hi neighbors!

Some of you may remember my review of Brilliant Sky Toys and Books from last year.  I LOVE stores like this.  This is a store where you walk in and receive personalized service.  Not like the big stores, where actually finding help, let alone getting customer service is a rarity.  Brilliant Sky Toys and Books is the store you walk into, where you are greeted and asked if you need any help finding anything.  The employees can actually show you products and answer questions.

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books carry quality toys and books for your child.

Customers can be sure to pick the perfect toy as the 4th annual Brilliance Awards, chosen by the toy store franchise chain, are announced, featuring a dozen perfect playthings.

Priced from $12.99 to $84.99, the top 12 Brilliance Award winners are an eclectic bunch, just like today's kids. The list includes Lego City Brickmaster ($29.99) for the future engineer, How Big Is The Lion? ($14.95) book for an educational storytime plus Melissa & Doug's Deluxe Magic Set ($34.99) for the family entertainer. An easel, darts, toy treehouse, chubby vehicles, circuit board and world map puzzle round out the wide range of childhood toys that spark imagination. These Top 12 run on brain power, wonder and imagination.

Unfortunately I do not live close enough to actually visit one of their stores, but I did receive one of their Brilliance Award Toys.  I was able to receive the Lego City Brickmaster set.  My daughter and I put some of it together and took pictures, just to give you an idea of what it looks like.  This is going to be a gift for someone, so we didn't do all of the designs.  Please remember this is not a review of the Lego City Brickmaster set, I am including some pictures, but this is about the Brilliant Sky Toys and Books stores.

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books presently has 15 stores which you can find on their store locator page.  If there is a store nearby, take the time to visit.  I have a feeling you will really enjoy looking around the store.  You might even want to follow their blog to stay up on news and events.

About Brilliant Sky Toys and Books:

Based on the belief that the right playthings give children a gateway to physical, emotional and cognitive development Brilliant Sky Toys & Books provides the highest quality products in an atmosphere that is both active and interactive. Its unique aesthetic approach is vibrant yet warm, exciting yet comforting and exploratory yet safe. From rich colors and woods to low sightlines and custom fixtures the Brilliant Sky sensory experience is unlike any other.
Brent & Sonia Taylor: Founders of Brilliant Sky Toys & Books, a franchise toy store opportunity.
Now based in Brentwood, Tennessee and featuring more than 10,000 high-quality specialty products, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books is truly the place where everyone can find their way to play.

Thanks for stopping by today. If you get the opportunity to visit one of their stores, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

See you soon, At the Fence!

Disclosure:I received no monetary compensation for this post.  I did receive product for review purposes.  All quotes in red are taken from the sponsor's email or website.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

What Can You Do in the Highlands of North Carolina?

Hi Neighbors!

Have any of you ever visited the Highlands of North Carolina?  I haven't, but I have lived in North Carolina before, and I have got to say the fall leaves in the mountains were simply gorgeous.  We lived there 20 years ago.  Wow!  I would LOVE to visit the mountains again.  The weather is really nice too.  You get to experience all four seasons.  My favorites of course are fall and spring, but I don't mind a mild winter.

I was checking out the area of the Highlands of North Carolina and they seem to have things to do year round.  Have you ever checked out Highlands NC homes for sale on the internet?  If you lived in this area there would be so much to do!  I would enjoy living in this area.  There are many attractions and others that are only a day trip away.

I know the children would want to visit the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.  You get to go on an excursion through the mountains.  Just seeing the views would be great, but they also have special themed trains too, like the Polar Express.  This is one of those day trips we would take.

There is also golf (not one on my interests), tennis (my daughter likes playing), and of course there is fishing, hiking, canoeing and horseback riding.  I have at least 4 children who would LOVE to go horseback riding.  The whole family enjoys canoeing and hiking.  I have a feeling this would be a place where my family would find too much to do!  Choices and decisions!

Watching the leaves in the fall would be another favorite activity of mine.  I so enjoy the cooler weather and the beautiful colors.  We actually went out yesterday and took some pictures and included some fall leaves!

If you could move anywhere, where would you choose?  I actually have a few places, but the mountains of North Carolina would be one of them.  Or maybe there is an area you would like to go for a long vacation.  Share with us here At the Fence!

See you later neighbors!

Disclosure:This is a sponsored post for the benefit of the readers At the Fence.

Vocabulary Spelling City

Hey neighbors!

Through TOS we recently received the opportunity to review VocabularySpellingCity.  Now, I want to say right at the beginning that Vocabulary Spelling City is good for any situation, not just for homeschoolers.  We reviewed the VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership ($29.99 for families, up to 5 students).  Vocabulary Spelling City can be used in grades K-12.

The program is quite simple to use after you have created your account.  Once your account as teacher is set up, you can add up to 5 students.  They can each have their own user name and it is up to you if you want them to have a password.

For their spelling words, you can create your own lists, or use one or more of theirs.  I really like this option, because I can personally create spelling lists for different classes.  I did look through their lists and I imported at least one.  This is also perfect when you are searching for certain lists and do not have time to create your own.

After you have chosen a list you can then choose activities.  You may choose from spelling activities or vocabulary activities.  Some of the possible activities are:Word Searches, Hang Mouse (a favorite), Letter Fall, Speedy Speller, Match It Definitions, and Crosswords.  There are more available, this is just some of the options.  At this time you can choose the Practice Spelling Test, Spelling Test, Practice Vocabulary Test, or Vocabulary Test.  Then you choose which students to assign this to.  You can choose all 5 students, or just one or two.  If you have different levels or different lists, you just walk through the process again for your next student.  Oh, there is a place where you can add details, such as extra instructions to the students, the order you want them to do the activities in, and if there is a specific due date.  I will mention I did not use passwords for the girls, just because it is just one more password to remember.

I have found when I can add a game or make the learning time fun, the lesson seems to be memorized without really trying to.  They enjoy it much more than writing out spelling words 5x each, or writing a sentence for each word and they seem to learn faster.

The premium membership also includes accountability and record keeping.  Activities are tracked as they are done and test scores and activities are recorded automatically.  It takes some of the pressure off of you.

Before I finish this post I do want to mention that they have an App available.  This makes it so much easier when traveling as I do not have to bring the laptop, I can just grab my iPad.

The chart below shows the differences between Basic and Premium.

Even if you do not homeschool, this would be a good program to add your child's spelling lists to as an extra learning activity.

I would recommend VocabularySpellingCity to my neighbors here At the Fence.  Be sure to read what the other members of the TOS Crew have to say about this program.  Just click the banner below.


Dutch Oven From Plow and Hearth

Hi Neighbors!

Oh, fall weather really makes my family long for warm soups, chili and stews.  So, when I was given the chance to review a product from Plow and Hearth, I chose their Hand Forged Cast Iron Dutch Oven.  It is 4 quart.  I was going to link to the item, but it is not available right now.

We are also going to try cornbread soon!  And we are trying meatloaf today.  I can't wait to try some other baking.

I had to season the Dutch Oven before we could use it.  First we had to scrub it with steel wool to remove the lacquer that has been applied to prevent rust during shipping.  then you apply a thin coat of cooking oil  and place it in your oven at 350 for 30 minutes.  You then need to repeat the process.  You are then only supposed to hand wash and dry thoroughly after use to keep your pan from rusting.  DO NOT put in a dishwasher.  I will warn you had to open the windows while seasoning the pan.

Plow and Hearth is one of my favorite sites to visit and browse for gift ideas.  They have items for inside and outside of your home.  As many of you know, I presently have several items from Plow and Hearth decorating our deck out back!  So  when you start searching for gifts be sure to stop by Plow and Hearth and check out their sister stores also.

About the Company:
Plow & Hearth is a trusted national catalog, retail, and internet company specializing in unique, enduring home and lifestyle products that are quality-built and guaranteed to meet our customer's expectations. 

What began as a small retail store in Madison, Virginia, in 1980 has grown to include our flagship brand, Plow & Hearth®, plus two others that have joined our family during the past quarter century. Plow & Hearth offers unique, high-quality products for home, hearth, yard and garden. Problem Solvers® provides practical solutions for everyday living. Wind & Weather® offers a complete selection of indoor and outdoor weather-related instruments and gifts, plus elegant home and garden ornaments. The Plow & Hearth family of brands also has a growing list of retail stores.

Have you visited their site before?  Maybe created a wish list?  Well, here is your opportunity to get an item you have been longing for.  Plow and Hearth is giving one neighbor a $50 GC.  don't be selfish though, be sure and share this giveaway with others.

Thanks for visiting and please stop by again soon for another visit.  See you soon, At the Fence!

Disclosure:I received no monetary compensation for this post.  I did receive product for review purposes.  All quotes in red are taken from the sponsor's email or website.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bestowed Box Preview!

Hey Neighbors!

I just received my Bestowed box!  I was so excited to have this come in.  This month is their non-GMO month.  Everything in the box is 100% GMO free.  All products in the Bestowed box are hand-picked by renowned nutritionist and author Heather Bauer.

How it works:
Get an assortment of FULL-sized healthy snacks, beverages, and more  -- delivered to your door every month. All products are selected by nutritionist and author Heather Bauer and every box is loaded with expert tips, recipes, and advice! FREE Shipping.

Do you know what a GMO is?  I didn't, but I sure was glad to find out.  A GMO is a genetically modified organism.  These are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals.  How do you know if a product is GMO free?  Look for products that have the Non-GMO Project Verified label.  You can also check the website of your favorite products.

Now, here is what I received in my Bestowed box during October during their non-GMO month.

First is Way Better Snacks Black Bean Tortilla Chips.  These were a big hit!  Unfortunately sharing a snack size bag in a family of 8 they went fast!

The Good Bean Smoky Chili and Lime are crunchy roasted chickpeas.  These did not go over as well.  Personally I think it was because they are Chili and Lime flavored.  A little too spicy.

Then there is Love Crunch, Dark Chocolate Macaroon, a premium organic granola.  Now, this there was almost a fight over.  My family LOVES granola, and this is a dark chocolate and also has shredded coconut.

Next up is Enjoy Life, Mountain Mambo, a Seed and Fruit ix, not nuts.  My husband claimed this one.  He really enjoys trail mix, so this was perfect.

Unreal Candy is up next.  We received their peanut butter cups.  No argument here, my husband also got this one.  He is our peanut butter and chocolate nut.  He purchases dark chocolate candy bars and dips them in peanut butter for a snack.

Gnu Foods Fiber Love, Cinnamon Raisin Fiber Bar is a soft baked snack.  The whole family likes fiber bars, breakfast bars and granola bars, so this one was very well received. Amazingly what they liked best was that it was soft and chewy.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 is a plant based protein powder.  This is one product we have not had time to actually try yet.  With so many good products in the box we are working our way through.

Ultima Replenisher is a dietary supplement you mix with water.  An all day everyday health drink.  Ours was grape flavored.  I like that this is zero sugar.  Since becoming diabetic, I have removed almost all sugar from my diet, so I appreciate products like this.  With only 4 grams of carbs, I can drink this.

The last items in the box were some coupons for:
$1 off my next purchase of a Nature's Path or EnviroKidz product
A coupon code to join the FiberLove Club and get your 4th order for free
Also included was a card for a free one year subscription to Women's Health

Neighbors, you can have a new Bestowed box delivered to your front door for $19.  The October box is available through October 31st.  Bestowed is offering my neighbors here the opportunity to receive their first box at almost half off.  Is this something that interest you?  The directions for the discount are below.

*REMINDER: Neighbors can get their first Bestowed box for almost 50% off ($10, instead of $19). To get this, use the code HELLOTEN103 at checkout. This code is active through 11/20 but anyone that signs up after 10/31 will receive their November box.

As a reminder most products found in Bestowed boxes are now available at the Bestowed Online Store.

Disclosure:I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive product for review purposes.  All quotes in red are taken directly from the sponsor's website or email.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.