{Honest Review} e-auto Glass and Chrome Cloth (from e-cloth)

Disclosure: I received this product for free from e-cloth. I was not compensated in any other way for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

I don’t know about you, but cleaning is one of my LEAST favorite tasks. I’d seriously do just about anything else first. And cleaning the car is definitely low on my priority list. Fortunately, I have a husband who prides himself on clean cars and enjoys taking care of that type of thing. Even still, it’s hard to find the time to clean the cars as often as he’d like (or as often as we should), so when I had the opportunity to try the e-auto Glass and Chrome Cloth by e-cloth, I jumped at the chance. If there’s a product out there that will make this task just a bit easier (and go more quickly), I’m all for it!

The cloth arrived very quickly, and in great shape. I immediately tore open the packaging so I could check it out!  I love getting mail.

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The cloth was slightly different than what I expected.  For some reason, I was thinking it would be more like a towel, but it wasn’t.  It was thin (more like a t-shirt thickness) and had a slightly ribbed or grippy texture on one side. The other side was smooth. I was fairly skeptical that it would work with just a wet surface, so I was anxious to put it to the test.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t take any before/after pictures, but believe me- this cloth WORKS!! After I was done wiping down the car chrome, I brought it inside and used it to clean my bathroom faucets and mirror. I always have the hardest time getting those faucets shiny, but the cloth did the trick! It even cleaned the chrome temperature control nozzle in my shower (which was pretty sad and covered with water spots and scum). I didn’t even have to use that much elbow grease- certainly no more than I normally used when cleaning. Add to that the added benefit of not having to spray any cleaners (hello, money saving! And no breathing in that stuff!), and I’m sold. I have safely stashed my e-cloth into the cleaning drawer, and I will be pulling it out next time we have to clean cars or anything else shiny (or glass) in the house. I love that this cloth is so multi-purpose… you definitely get your money’s worth!

Here’s the description from the e-cloth website:

Used after cleaning the car, the Glass & Chrome Cloth leaves glass, chrome and bright body parts sparkling and smear free.
• Glass and Chrome Cloth – 20” x 16”
• Use the Glass and Chrome cloth to produce a perfect smear-free, lint-free and polished finish on windshields, glass, chrome and mirrors using just water
• How to Use: Use the cloth dry on a dampened surface to remove light grease and finger marks and to dry to a perfect, smear-free, polished finish.
• Guaranteed for 300 Machine Washings

The Glass and Chrome Cloth’s advanced microfibers can potentially remove wax/polish from the car body, especially residue that would harbor dirt and bacteria. It will not remove or impact the protective paint finish.

I’m also doing a giveaway where you can win your very own Glass & Chrome Cloth- for free!!  Just click the link below to enter!
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{Honest Review} Regalo Baby Travel Tray

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Regalo Baby as part of a contest. I was not compensated in any other way for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

It’s been nearly a year since I won this tray from Regalo Baby as part of a Facebook giveaway contest.

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I never win anything, so I was extremely excited to get this tray… even if I wasn’t 100% certain how I would be using it.  I certainly NEVER would have guessed that this would become the most utilized toddler item in our house.  I’m not lying or even exaggerating.  Ian uses this tray EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It is a near permanent fixture on our coffee table, and almost always has a drink of some kind in one of the cup holders.  I really like that the green part snaps off so if you don’t need (or want) a divided tray, you can have just a large flat surface.  When we first got the tray, and Ian was younger, we used the divider a lot.  We’d put some snacks in each section and it made it easier to contain the mess.  Now that he’s older and using plates and utensils, I like having just the flat portion of the tray available.  We can put his lunch plate (or a snack plate) on the tray and he can sit down at the coffee table and chow down.  It does a really good job of containing his mess.

Another thing I like about this tray is that it’s all plastic (minus the squishy padded bottom), so it is extremely easy to clean.  For a quick clean, I can spray it down with a gentle cleaner and wipe the mess away (my favorite thing to use right now is my Thieves Cleaner).  If I’ve neglected the tray for a few days (…or longer), I can just throw it in the sink and lightly scrub it with dish soap and a sponge.  After a quick towel (or air) dry, it’s ready to be used again.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about this tray- I love it!  So if you’re looking for a travel tray (or even a tray to use around the house, like we use it), you really should check it out.

Product Information from Regalo Baby:

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The Regalo Portable Play Travel Tray is a wonderful device that allows children their own place to snack and play on the go. It can be taken anywhere and includes side clips that securely attach to a car seat, a table or a plane seat belt. The baby travel tray has a flat design and a foam bottom that allows it to lie comfortably in your child’s lap or on a table surface. It includes a detachable dishwasher-safe food tray that can come off to help them get in and out, or for cleaning. The flat activity surface can hold toys and other items that baby might need. Also includes two compartments to hold drinks, snacks and toys. The car seat travel tray has a convertible shoulder strap to allow for convenient transport wherever you go. It is also easy to slip in a vehicle or behind a table. This convenient tray is sturdy, safe and easy to install.

Regalo Portable Travel Tray:
• On the go feeding
• Attaches to car seat, tables and plane seat belt
• Detachable food tray
• Flat activity surface
• Baby travel tray with 2 compartments for drinks, snacks and toys
• Food tray insert is dishwasher safe
• Convertible shoulder strap included for easy portability
• Plastic construction

{Honest Review} Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear Thermometer

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Influenster. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Taking Ian’s temperature has ALWAYS been a pain. When he was an infant, he was extremely wiggly and active and never liked to stay still for more than a few seconds. Now, as a toddler, getting him to be still is even more of a chore.

We bought a forehead thermometer when he was born thinking it would be an easy, quick thing. We were wrong. It had to sit on his temple for a while, and anytime he turned his head or fidgeted, the reading would be off. It was nearly impossible to get an accurate temperature, so we were never 100% sure if he was running a fever.

Next we bought a multi-use thermometer (mouth, armpit, rectum) thinking it might be easier/better.  But I was never overly keen about sticking it up his butt (I’m not sure anyone is, really), and he was too little to really get a good reading in his mouth, so we were again stuck trying to get a fidgety kid to stay still long enough to get an armpit reading.

Ian was never a pacifier baby, so those thermometers that look like pacifiers were never a possibility for us, either. We eventually gave up and instead of relying on the thermometer, we gauged fevers based on how warm he felt and how cranky he was acting. Probably not the best method.

When I had the opportunity to get the Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear thermometer, I was ecstatic.  Here is some information about the thermometer from Braun, the manufacturer:

Designed to give you some piece of mind when your child comes down with a fever, the Braun ThermoScan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology has all the features you could ever want in a thermometer. Used by more doctors’ offices than any other infrared thermometer brand, the ThermoScan features a pre-warmed tip that improves accuracy, a unique guidance system that ensures precise results, and infrared technology that takes your child’s temperature in seconds.

When the unassuming brown shipping box arrived on my doorstep, I instantly knew it was my thermometer and couldn’t wait to tear it open and play with it. Included in the box were the thermometer, a protective case, lense filters, and batteries (hooray for batteries being included!!).

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The thermometer also came with a quick start card and a thicker manual, but really, the thing is pretty self explanatory.  The only thing I needed to look up was how to switch from Celsius to Farenheit. Once I got that figured out, I was able to try this bad boy out.

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Oh. My. Gosh. This thermometer is amazing. I’d never used an ear thermometer before and was a little worried about how well Ian would take to it (since he HATES when the doctor looks in his ears), but my fears were unfounded.  He was actually really interested in it and he even stuck it in his ear and pretended to take his own temperature (and mine!).

Part of the reason this thermometer is so great is that it is just so quick! You press the button and before you can count to 3, the temperature is read. I didn’t know it was possible to get a reading that quickly, especially with an at-home product, but it is! And it’s accurate, too! I feel extremely confident knowing that the next time we’re wondering whether Ian is running a fever, I can whip out the Braun ThermoScan 5 and KNOW within a few seconds.

If you’re looking for a new thermometer, you shoud definitely check this one out.  You won’t be disappointed!

#BraunTherms #influenstervox

{Honest Review} SWEET DREAMS with BEDTIME BLISS Sleep Mask, Ear Plugs & Carry Case

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. I received a free sample of the product in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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I have never slept with a sleep mask but have always wanted to just to see if it would really make a difference. I’m not overly sensitive to light at night, but we do have a fair amount of items that glow (alarm clock, baby monitor, TV box) and they sometimes get annoying. We also have windows right next to our bed, and at night the moon has a tendency to shine brightly through the sheer curtains. Worse is when the sun comes up early in the summer…on the rare occasions when Ian lets us sleep in, the sun gets me. So when I got the opportunity to try out this sleep mask, I jumped at the chance. Here was (hopefully) the solution to my problems!

Here are the details:
– Contoured design allows for complete eye movement
– Ideal for men, women and children
– Won’t smudge makeup
– Adjustable straps to fit all head sizes & won’t put pressure on your eyes
– Won’t interfere with REM sleep
– Perfect for shift workers or a nap during the day
– Easily fits into your bag
– Lightweight and easily washable
– Oeko-Tex certified
– Includes Free Earplugs & Carry Case
– Backed by a RISK FREE, 90 day ‘Blissful Sleep’ 100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee.

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Now on to my opinions.
1. I really like that the mask (and ear plugs) come with a little carry case/pouch. Super convenient and keeps things from getting lost or damaged.
2. The mask is extremely lightweight…to the point that it really doesn’t feel like you are wearing anything.
3. I didn’t try the ear plugs because I just don’t like ear plugs…but they seem fine. They don’t appear to be anything any more special than your normal foam ear plugs that go in your ear and expand a bit to help block sound. But, again, I didn’t try them so I can’t make many judgments here.
4. The mask blocks out ALL light. It’s fantastic! There is absolutely no light the creeps through.
5. The mask stays put, even when side-sleeping. I have a tendency to move a lot at night, and the mask stayed on and in place without any issues.
6. The mask goes around your head with elastic, but it also has velcro in the back so you can really adjust it. It’s a nice little feature that helps ensure a snug and comfortable fit.

If you are looking for a new sleep mask, I recommend you give this one a try. It might just be the solution you’ve been wanting! You can buy it from Amazon here.

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.

{Honest Review} Charlie the Cavalier Begs for Attention (children’s book)

Charlie the Cavalier Book Cover
Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. I received a free sample of this book and puppet in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Having family members or other loved ones who live far away from you and your family can be difficult.  We know this first hand and all too well- all of our family and a lot of our good friends are a 10 hour drive away.  To compensate for this distance, we tend to do a lot of Skyping so the grandparents have an opportunity to see Ian on a more regular basis.  We started this when Ian was pretty small (a few months old, at the most), so he’s gotten pretty used to staring at the camera/TV and waving to grandma and grandpa (or Gi-Gi and Dad-Dad, depending on who’s on the other side of the camera).

I have noticed, however, that as he has gotten more active and “fidgety”, he has a little less patience for the Skype calls since there’s only so much connecting that can be done through this medium.  Don’t get me wrong, Skyping is great, but it’s no replacement for actual human contact.

Apparently there are other families who feel this way and are struggling to keep their kids present and involved in these over-the-computer conversations.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something to help children become more engaged during these video chats?  Enter “Charlie the Cavalier Begs for Attention”, by Lisa Rusczyk.

When I came across this e-book and puppet, it sounded like a pretty genius idea and something that I could really see our family using.  Essentially, it’s a story about a King Charles Cavalier, Charlie, who likes to play games and sing songs and has been trained to protect the child’s loved ones while they are apart.  The puppet that accompanies the book is supposed to represent Charlie and is used as a tool to facilitate interaction between the child and the loved one on the other end of the video chat.  There are lots of scenes in the book that lend themselves to use of the puppet (at one point, Charlie starts singing the ABCs), so the interaction can be as much or little as you make it.  You can read more about Charlie the Cavalier here, on the book’s official website.

Now, on to my thoughts and impressions.

I printed out the free puppet and started assembling it first.  If you know how to operate scissors and fold paper, you can put together this puppet.  I’m not kidding.

Charlie the Cavalier printed puppet

After I built the puppet, I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t be very toddler-proof.  I KNEW it wouldn’t be Ian-proof.  So I dug out a small brown paper bag (lunch sack size) and attached the puppet to the bag.  This made it maybe a little harder to operate, but it was much sturdier!

Charlie the Cavalier bag puppet

The puppet was actually pretty cute, and Ian liked it a lot.  He kept opening the mouth and looking inside at the tongue.  And, of course, he had to make it “eat” his hand and giggle at that idea.  Aren’t kids great?

Charlie the Cavalier interactive puppet

Once he was done inspecting the puppet, we curled up on the couch to read the e-book.  I was a little nervous since we have never read an e-book together before…we always do regular books (and mainly board books because he likes to turn the pages himself).  But he actually did really well and seemed to like it just as much as a regular book, even if he couldn’t physically turn the pages.  He seemed to really get a kick out of Charlie the puppet “speaking” and moving.  I had Charlie dancing and barking and singing, and Ian was laughing the whole time.  In addition to the puppet, Ian also really enjoyed the colorful pictures on each page.  He kept pointing out different things on the tablet that he wanted me to see.

Charlie the cavalier ebook

All in all, it’s a sweet book that lends itself to some great parent/child interaction. I also think it could be a great tool for aiding in video chatting.  I’d like to send a copy of the puppet to my parents for them to print and assemble to use the next time we Skype with them.  I’m curious to see if Ian gets excited to interact with Charlie when he’s on the other side of a video screen.  Even if he doesn’t, it’s still a cute read that is a nice little addition to our growing library of books.

Charlie the Cavalier is recommended for ages 2-6.  You can buy the e-book on Amazon (don’t forget to go to the Charlie the Cavalier website to download your free printable puppet) for $2.99; however, Charlie the Cavalier is having a promotion on Monday, June 23, where you can snag the book for free- what a deal!

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.

{Honest Review} Citrus Lane

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Note: This is not a paid advertorial.  I was not compensated in any way for this review. All thoughts are 100% my own.

I ordered my first Citrus Lane box in April 2013, when Ian was just 6 months old.  I didn’t know anyone who subscribed to Citrus Lane, but I had seen an ad on Facebook, and I have to admit I was intrigued.  Subscription boxes were a fairly new concept to me at the time (I guess I was living under a rock), so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I checked out the Citrus Lane website, read up on their various brand partners, read reviews…anything to try to make my decision about whether it would really be worth it to sign up.  In the end, I just decided to take the plunge.  I knew I’d always be wondering otherwise.  And I was reassured with the fact that I could always cancel if I wasn’t impressed.

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I was hooked after my first box.  Yes.  It really is THAT good.

“But WHY?” you may ask.  Well, let me tell you why we love Citrus Lane, and why I recommend it to friends and family with kids under 5.

1. The brands are top notch
Citrus Lane partners with some really terrific brands to bring new and unique products into my home.  A lot of the brands I’d never heard of until they came to me in my box… and now I actively seek them out when I’m shopping.  They are all either sourced sustainably, or are chemical free/natural, or have some other compelling corporate story.  Some of the brands I’ve come to know and expect from Citrus Lane include:
Green Toys
The Honest Company
Melissa & Doug
i play
Episencial
California Baby
Barefoot Books
Skip Hop
Plum Organics

2. The products are fantastic
There hasn’t been a box yet that I’ve disliked.  And having received over 12 boxes, that’s quite a feat.  I love that the items are age appropriate, and I’ve definitely noticed them growing with Ian.  But probably what I like the most is the mix of items that come in the box. I can almost always assume Ian will get at least 1-3 toys of some description.  The next pretty sure item is a book (which I love!). Followed by a “beauty” product (lotion, shampoo, body wash, sunscreen, etc). Most of the time, we also get some type of food (a package of teething biscuits, a pouch of yogurt drops, a bag of organic cookies, etc).  And last, but not least, Citrus Lane always seems to throw in an item for mom (Julep nail polish, juice Beauty hand cream).  I don’t know how they always come up with such a great combination of products, but they do, and it’s pretty genius.  The fact that most of Ian’s “stuff” came from a Citrus Lane box speaks volumes, and that’s one of the main reasons I continue to subscribe.  I tried to round up a good cross section of the stuff we’ve received over the past year to help illustrate this point.  In one word, Citrus Lane is awesome.

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3. The excitement of getting something new in the mail each month
This is pretty self explanatory- who doesn’t love getting mail?  And if you like surprises, that makes this whole deal even better.  I will admit that at first, this excitement factor was really more for me than for Ian (I mean, does a 6 month old understand or recognize that he is receiving mail?).  Now that Ian has gotten older, however, he’s started to grasp the concept that this big brown box is his to open.  Once we start opening it, he gets pretty excited and loves to explore what’s inside.  It’s so fun to watch!

4. The price point is spot on
At $21 a month, this is a pretty good deal. I have no idea if it’s the cheapest kid subscription box out there (I love it so much I haven’t bothered to look elsewhere), but I’m not sure how you’d get so much quality for any less.  In fact, I’m not sure how they manage to squeeze in the items you DO get for such a good price.  To top it off, the shipping has been fantastic- my box has always come when I expected it to (one or two boxes were maybe a day later than I thought, but considering it had to traverse the country and gets placed in my mailbox, I’m not complaining!).

5. The customer relationship
I have been really impressed with the customer service and general friendliness I’ve experienced with Citrus Lane.  I get a survey for each box where I can provide feedback and rate the products I received.  Most of my survey responses include a comment along the lines of “keep up the good work” because I really have been so pleased with my subscription.

If you’re on the fence, and have ever even considered subscribing to Citrus Lane… do it!  I haven’t regretted it for one minute!

[Note: if you sign up via my referral link (https://www.citruslane.com/invitedby/citrus.lane.714472), you can get 50% off your first month!]