Sweet Critique: #ClearAmerican Water #CBias #ad

Clear American Water

Clear American WaterWe all know how important water is to our well-being.  But it’s not really fun to talk about hydration.  Sure, it’s important, and sure, it’s way better for many of us when that water is flavored.

But, have you ever thought about cooking with flavored water?

Some of my Social Fabric peeps have made some super awesome stuff with the water:  peach soda, a patronus spell cocktail, summer treats, and pina colada cake.

I love coming up with and trying new recipes, but I really wanted to make this water work for us…  What could I do?

Getting the Water


Well, first I had to get the water.  Can’t experiment if I don’t have the tools.  There’s a pretty decent selection at our Walmart, although apparently there are a ton more flavors than what we had.

I let Babydoll help me pick a few flavors.

We decided on:  lemon, strawberry, wild cherry, and raspberry apple.  Know what else is cool?  These big old bottles are only 64 cents!  This was infinitely cheaper than the other waters.

Breakfast with Clear American


One of the first things that came to mind was using the water in breakfast foods.  I sometimes make a bunch of quick pancakes and freeze them for Babydoll.  You know, the really easy ones where you just add water?

Well what the heck, I’ll use the flavored water!  We can even make it fancy and call them “scented” pancakes.

Clear American Water

Then I thought, “We also like cream of wheat, but it gets pretty old sometimes…” So, I decided we could use the flavored water to give the cream of wheat some kick!

I’m on a roll now… You could add this to biscuit recipes for a sweet biscuit, coffee cake recipes, muffin recipes, you could do tons!

Bonus Clear American Treat


Babydoll recently got a snow cone maker.  She’s wanted one forever.  But, me being the stellar mom I am, I forgot to buy the syrup.  New solution:  syrup made with Clear American flavored water.  That gives you a ton of possibilities for flavors!

Can you guys come up with any fun ways to use the water?

You can find Clear American on Facebook, Twitter, and on this great page {which also has some killer recipes – like deep fried Oreos}!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias, which is a vendor for Cott Beverages Inc., the manufacturer of Clear American® brand beverages.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: Reader’s Digest Geography Book

It’s one of my life’s missions as a homeschooling mom to ensure that Babydoll is not a typical “stupid” American, completely oblivious to the world around her.  I’ve definitely brushed up on my skills since I’ve been teaching her.

I Used to Know That:  Geography is a lifesaver in this department!  This books gives you pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about the world around you, geographically speaking.

The book is divided by continent, water, and Earth.  I like that it not only explains information about different countries but also specifics about Earth itself such as climate zones, Earth from the inside out, and tectonic plates.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is what is know as a Geo Gem.  These are little facts sprinkled throughout the book.  For instance, I learned:

The Tonle Sap River in Cambodia reverses direction every year.

How Homeschoolers Could Use It


I think you could use this book in a couple of ways, either as a curriculum on its own or as a reference.  Let me say, though, I’m not into reinventing the wheel.  I have so much respect for those of you who put together your own lesson plans and curriculum, but it’s just not my flavor of icing.

There is so much information in this book that I would think you could take it, a map, and some ingenuity and put together a pretty complete geography curriculum.  It’s also got so much information in it that you could easily reference it for extra material when doing a geography study.

Reader’s Digest is giving away a copy of the book to one of you!!  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

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Sweet Critique: Groovy Planet

I am SO excited to bring you guys this review and giveaway!!  I’m not a super-crunchy tree hugger, but I do enjoy purchasing and using products {when possible} that are recycled, recyclable, or fair trade.  Teaching kids the importance of this and having fun at the same time is a super bonus!

What is Groovy Planet?


Groovy Planet is a monthly membership program for kids that teaches them all about the world around them, recycling, and fair trade.

Your child starts out with a welcome kit containing a passport, a sticker, an activity sheet, a map, and a fun round box to keep everything in.

Each month after that, your child receives a new kit with a sticker, an activity sheet, and a recyclable or fair trade item.  I so want to tell you what we got in our second kit, but I don’t want to spoil it.  Suffice it to say that it was something totally unexpected and totally cool, with information I even learned from.

The welcome kit is now available for free!!  Each month’s kit is $14.94, and that includes shipping.  Discounts are available for purchasing six or 12 months at a time.

How Can Homeschoolers Use This?


Oh man, the possibilities are endless!!!  You can use this as a study of world geography, world cultures, the environment, science, recycling, and fair trade.

This could lead to cooking, nature studies, history, and many other things.  I just love how many ways you can use this product.

It’s unique, fun, and fresh; it’s not the same old thing we’ve seen time and again, just repackaged and rebranded.

Guess what?  Groovy Planet is giving one of you two months free!!

Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win!

True Confessions:  I was provided with two free months of Groovy Planet in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

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Sweet Sponsor: My Job Chart

About a year ago, we started using My Job Chart to help Babydoll keep track of her chores.  I read about it on some blog and thought, “Hm, I guess I’ll give it a whirl.”  I had already used traditional chore charts, old fashioned memory, and a variety of other methods and they just weren’t working.

The problem:  I couldn’t remember to remind Babydoll to do her chores and I couldn’t remember to pay out the promised reward.  I felt like a pathetic parent…

How My Job Chart Helped


I think My Job Chart can really be used in a variety of ways:

  • Straight allowance system
  • Organizational tool
  • Teaching tool

We use a combination of the latter two.  I haven’t really used this to implement an allowance system {we don’t really do a traditional allowance system in our house}, although it definitely could be used for that.  I have used it to help keep me organized with regard to Babydoll’s chores.

I was able to sit down one day and list out all the chores I have her do, how often, and assign a point value to them.  Done!  That’s it!  You guys know how I love anything technological anyway, so something that was browser based that I could update from my laptop was awesome.

If I need to make changes, I can just log in to my parent account and do so.  Babydoll then has a child account that she logs into that is used to check off the chores as she does them.  She can visibly see how many points she’s earning for the day, how many she’s already earned, and the split between spending, saving, and giving.

At the end of each day, I get an email letting me know which chores she has done and which ones she hasn’t.  We can even send little notes to each other!

While we’ve gotten a bit out of our routine, when we’re working at normal speed, Babydoll knows to wake up and head to the chart.  When she is ready to redeem a reward, I’m notified electronically and can fulfill it electronically, depending on the reward.

Babydoll mainly chose items on Amazon, although we added things like Daddy/Daughter Date Night to the list too.  She actually saved her points for quite a while and got a Hello Kitty Razor Scooter a few month back.  She loves the thing, especially since she had to wait so long to buy it.

Want to Learn More?


Check out this video to learn more about the idea behind My Job Chart and how it works. Also, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve even got a blog with lots of interesting ideas.

True Confessions:  I was compensated for writing this post, however, we do use My Job Chart, and have used them for quite a while.  I really do love the system and would recommend it to any family struggling to keep track of chores.  All opinions stated are my own.

Sweet Critique: Invisalign


InvisalignInvisalign TeenHow many of you had metal braces growing up {or right now}?

*raises hand*

I did!  And I had a particularly pleasurable experience.

My Experience


Not only did I get to wear metal braces, I was allowed to get a jaw expander {super fun!} AND to wear the braces for about three and a half years.

My teeth weren’t terribly crooked, but I have a freakishly tiny mouth.  The orthodontist needed to spread things out a bit more and that took time and pain.  Lots of pain.

Let me tell you, feeling your entire sinus region “moving” as your mother has a “key” in your mouth expanding a metal appliance in the top of your mouth is uber disgusting.  I shudder to this day thinking about that…

Then there was the fun of having food stuck on top {there was a small space between the roof of my mouth and the appliance} and the inability to talk properly.

That one probably takes the cake.  And I couldn’t say the word “cake.”  It came out more like “kek.”  Yeah.  Cheesecake came out like “teeskek.”  That was a ton of fun to deal with as a sophomore in high school.

The braces hurt, the metal irritated me, but it was all in the name of straight teeth so dang it, I was doing it.

Don’t get me wrong; I am so grateful to my mother and stepfather for getting them for me.  My teeth were crooked and I had a weird tiny mouth, so I loved my teeth/mouth when it was all said and done.  But had there been an option like Invisalign at that time, it would have been ten times better.

Side note:  If my research is correct, Invisalign was introduced to the public in May, 2000, which was right around the time mine were coming off.  The story behind the invention, though, is pretty neat.  Never really knew how they were invented.

The Real Deal on Invisalign


There is actually a ton I could tell you about Invisalign.  I had the pleasure of attending a breakfast they held at Bloggy Boot Camp and learned quite a bit and had a lot of questions answered.

I think the biggest shocker to me was the fact that I don’t have to wait till Babydoll has all her permanent teeth in to start her treatment.  I haven’t had her evaluated yet, but if/when she needs orthodontics, I can get started sooner rather than later, and I like that.  Invisalign treatment accounts for the growth of new teeth and you’re good to go.

I also enjoy the fact that Invisalign has tailored their product to the needs of teens.  This shows me that a} they’re in tune with what their customers need and b} they’re an innovative company that is always working to make awesome breakthroughs.  Both are serious wins.

Blue compliance indicators {you’re able to see if they’re actually wearing their aligners}, guaranteed replacements, and less time at the orthodontist are all awesome benefits of the Invisalign Teen system.  Looking back on my experience with braces, I’m sure my mother would have really enjoyed not having to worry about broken wires and {seemingly} constant orthodontist appointments.

And, Invisalign is just freaking cool!  Their newest edition, G3, is their third generation product with advances such as smart cuts {the orthodontist doesn’t have to manually cut the aligners to allow for rubber bands} and smart force {allows a computer to accurately predict what needs to be done for each tooth to achieve the look you want and need}.

The Nitty Gritty


Invisalign treatment generally lasts for about the same amount of time as traditional metal braces, and also usually costs about the same.

Check out this little presentation I put together for even more detailed information about the products.

I Want It


While I had traditional braces, I didn’t wear my retainer like I should have.  For the record, I swear I don’t remember the orthodontist telling me I needed to wear it for the rest of my life…

At any rate, my teeth have shifted, and I’ve got quite a bit of an overbite now.  I hate it because I regularly bite my lip when I’m eating; not cool!

Even my bottom teeth, which have a permanent retainer {I learned at the breakfast that it wasn’t permanent – awesome!} have shifted.

I’d love to be able to use the Invisalign product to get my teeth back to the way they should be; it would totally rock!

Who knows, maybe Babydoll and I could sport our mouth bling together

True Confessions:  I was compensated for writing this sponsored post.  I did actually have metal braces, I did actually have a jaw expander, and I did actually have to wear them that long.  I learned a ton putting this together, and I hope I’ve provided you with information you might not have known otherwise!